Newton Fund

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Newton Prize?

Each year, from 2017/18 until 2021, a minimum of five Newton funded research partnerships or teams, each from Newton partner countries, will be awarded the Newton Prize. Each Prize will be worth up to £200,000.

The Prize will be awarded for the projects that demonstrate the best science or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries, aligning with and strengthening the Newton Fund’s overall objectives.

2. Who was eligible to apply for the Newton Prize?

The 2018 Newton Prize eligible countries were: Brazil, Chile*, Colombia and Mexico. The prize was only open to existing or past recipients of Newton funding, with projects in the above in the countries. The Prize will be awarded to projects which demonstrate proven impact and can advance their work through the Newton Prize. The Prize funding must contribute to the future science and innovation activity of the winning partnership. A minimum of 50% of the funding must be spent on eligible activity within Newton partner

*Special conditions apply to Chile

Chile graduated from the DAC list as of January 1st 2018. The prize to be awarded to Chile will therefore have the additional restriction that the research or innovation activities proposed must have application to the wider developing world, rather than solely to Chile, as it is no longer a DAC list eligible country.

3. Why include Chile in the 2018 Newton Prize?

The Newton Prize is about identifying and celebrating excellent science and innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of partner countries. Chile has been a Newton Fund country since the fund was established in 2014 and from the outset the Newton-Picarte Fund has supported excellent research collaborations that have delivered impact on the ground in Chile and more broadly. It would be wrong not to use the Newton Prize to celebrate these.

4. Will all partner countries receive a Prize?

The Prize will be awarded in most of our Newton partner countries in rotation over the next five years, the exception being where a partner country has recently joined the Newton Fund and so sufficient time would not have passed for the Newton Fund projects in that country to demonstrate proven impact, which is one of the main criteria for awarding the Newton Prize Countries receiving the Prize will not receive the Newton Prize again until after three years.

5. How are decisions  made on the winners?

All the applications will be assessed by a diverse group of external peer reviewers over the summer of 2018. The reviewers will complete assessment forms for each application that has been marked according to specific criteria relating to the Newton Fund and international development objectives. Approximately five applications per country will be shortlisted by the Newton Prize Team at the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

The shortlisted applications will be reviewed and discussed by an independent Newton Prize Committee who make the final decision on the winners. The Committee is chaired by Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society and Nobel Prize winner, whose many scientific contributions include his work on the atomic structure of the ribosome, yielding many fundamental biological insights.

For the 2018 Prize, we have a high profile and diverse Committee, including scientists with expertise in the Newton Fund’s main thematic areas and development and regional specialists. 

6. What type of partnerships or activities could receive a Prize?

The Newton Fund has provided funding for a number of science and innovation partnerships, teams and pieces of work with the Newton partner countries. Some examples of Newton funded work that could be awarded a Prize include those that improve our understanding of:
anti-microbial resistance
climate change and weather observation data to prevent natural hazards
women’s and children’s health in developing countries
improving water management and security
genetic material from viruses to develop vaccines.

All types of funded work under the Newton Fund are eligible from individual Fellowship to multi million pound collaborative research projects. The diversity of projects short listed under the 2017 round can be seen from the case studies and blogs published on the short listed applications.

7. What activities can the Prize funding be used for?

The Prize funding can be used in the Newton partner country for a number of activities that will advance the work of the research partnership. This can include funding additional user research; new equipment and facilities; and employing extra staff. The prize to be awarded to Chile will have the additional restriction that the research or innovation activities proposed must have application to the wider developing world, rather than solely Chile, as it is no longer a DAC list eligible country.

8. Do partner countries need to match funding for the Prize?

No, we do not require match funding from the partner country. How many applications were received for the
2017 Prize?

9. How many applications were received last year?
Over 150 applications were received across the four 2017 Newton Prize countries: India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The applications represented the breadth and depth of Newton Fund work; from multiinstitutional
research operations to awards for individual fellowships, workshops and
networks. And addressed challenges from sustainable food production to renewable
energy; from disease prevention to transformational technology; from city planning to
disaster management.

10. Who administers the Newton Prize?
The UK National Commission (UKNC) for UNESCO in London has been appointed by BEIS as the contractor to administer the Newton Prize application process.