Newton Fund

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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Newton Prize

About Part A of the application: Your Newton funded ongoing or completed project

About Part B of the application: Your Newton Prize proposed project

Programme specific – Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowships

Country-specific FAQs

About the Newton Prize

What is the Newton Prize?

The Newton Prize recognises excellent science, research and innovation in support of economic development and social welfare in Newton Fund partner countries.

This annual £1 million prize fund celebrates the best partnerships between the UK and Newton countries, encouraging international collaboration to address global challenges.

For the 2020 Newton Prize, the countries are Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Turkey and South Africa. The Newton Prize will be awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries, DAC List Countries or addresses global challenges; aligning with the Newton Fund’s overall objectives.

For more information please refer to the Newton Prize pages in this section of the Newton Fund website. If you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact us.


Who is eligible to apply for the Newton Prize?

The Newton Prize is only open to existing or past recipients of Newton funding, with projects in the eligible countries for the year in which you are applying. 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 countries and 50% or less spent in the UK. You can find all the partner countries here.


Will all partner countries receive a prize?

The prize will be awarded in most of our Newton Partner countries in rotation between 2017 and 2021, 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. You can find more information about last year’s winners here.


How are decisions made on the winners?

All the applications will be assessed by a diverse group of external peer reviewers with relevant expertise. The reviewers will complete assessment forms for each application and mark them according to specific criteria relating to the Newton Fund and international development objectives to arrive at a shortlist. Please find more information on the selection criteria here.

The shortlisted applications will be reviewed and discussed by an independent Newton Prize Committee who make the final decision on the winners.


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:

All types of funded work under the Newton Fund are eligible - from individual fellowships to multi-million-pound collaborative research projects. Read about the diversity of projects shortlisted in 20172018 and 2019.


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.


Do partner countries need to match funding for the Prize?

No, we do not require match funding from the partner country.


How many applications are typically received?

Over 150 applications were received each year to date. The applications represented the breadth and depth of Newton Fund work; from multi institutional research operations to awards for individual fellowships, workshops and networks. They addressed challenges from sustainable food production to renewable energy; from disease prevention to transformational technology; from city planning to disaster management.


What is the prize worth?

In 2020, one Newton Prize will be awarded to each of the 2020 Newton Prize eligible partner countries. There is no competition between the eligible countries for these prizes. There will be one additional prize, the Chair’s Prize, which is open to all to apply, this will be for the project that best demonstrates knowledge and partnership working.

Award amounts:

Please note that if successful at Part A of the application process, you will be invited at Part B to choose which prize you are submitting a proposal for.

What is the Chair’s Prize?

The Chair's Prize for 2020 will be announced soon. 


What is ODA?

ODA stands for Official Development Assistance. Prize applications will need to demonstrate that their plans for spending the prize money are ODA-compliant. More information and resources on ODA can be found here.


Who administers the Newton Prize?

The United Kingdom National Commission (UKNC) for UNESCO in London has been appointed by BEIS as the contractor to administer the Newton Prize application process. Contact:


About Part A of the application: Your Newton Funded ongoing or completed project

Where can I find my Newton Fund award grant reference?

We request your ‘Newton Fund grant reference number’ as part of our eligibility checking processes, to verify the programme you received Newton Funding under. These numbers/codes should be included in your grant/award letter received from the relevant delivery partners notifying you that you have been awarded Newton Funding. If you are unable to find your award number in this letter, please contact the relevant delivery partner who may be able to share this with you.

Who is the lead applicant/Who should complete the application form?

Newton Fund programmes are built on partnerships between researchers, institutions and/or industry partners. The lead applicant can be the person leading the project from one of the eligible partner countries or the person leading the project from the UK. You must include both a lead applicant from the UK and one from the Newton partner country unless you hold a Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF); find out more below.

When completing the application form the lead prize applicant must be the named lead recipient of the funding on the original award, i.e. the Principal Investigator (PI) or Fellow or similar and can be the UK or in-country PI or both (if applicable).

If the lead PI on an award has changed, or moved on to a different institution, applicants will need to state who the new PI is and include these details in the letter of collaborating partners. This letter will also need to confirm that the original PI is aware of the prize application and that it will be led by a different PI.


Who is my UK delivery partner?

All projects should have a UK delivery partner. These can be found on the Newton Fund website.


Who is my partner country delivery partner or funder?

Each of the 17 Newton Fund partner countries has organisations based in-country who fund and manage Newton Fund programmes. You can find out who these partners are on the website.


What are the additional supporting documents that need to be uploaded as part of my application?

All applicants need to submit a letter of support from your organisation in-country and in the UK (more information on this can be found in the Guidance notes).


What happens if a project partner is a company which has closed its UK branch due to circumstances such as Brexit? 

This will not affect the Part A of the form. If the applicant is invited to write a proposal at Part B then they will need to partner with a company that is currently operating


What happens if a project partner has moved out of the UK? Would a partnership with that researcher still be eligible? 

This will not affect the Part A of the form. If the applicant is invited to write a proposal at Part B then they will need a current UK partner


What if my project hasn't been match funded by an in-country delivery partner? How should I complete questions 3 and 3.1 in the application form? 

Applicants should answer with the 'country name - other', for example: 'Turkey other' for question 3 and then explain why in 3.1 by writing something like: 'I have no local partner and was not given match funding'.


Due to COVID-19 pandemic, some countries have shut down schools & universities. If this continues, it might be difficult for PIs to submit the required letter of support from institutions. What’s the alternative?

We will accept a copy of any historical communication from the institution related to the Newton Funded project - this might be an initial letter of engagement or acceptance, a statement of account or something else which clearly shows there is a relationship between the PI and the institution that relates to the work.


Due to organisational closures I am unable to access specific data/project related documents, how can I complete the application without the supporting data?

If you are unable to access supporting data, state on your application that key data is unavailable due to COVID-19 and organisational closures, and, provide a detailed written a narrative of the project that will enable reviewers to assess your application. If reviewers request clarification on a specific area we will contact the lead PIs directly.


I am having problems completing the application form due to internet connectivity and/or access to technology, what can I do?

If you are experiencing this kind of difficulty due to COVID-19 please liaise with your project partners for assistance and collaborate on the application form and online submission. If everyone involved on the project is experiencing the same problems with internet connectivity and/or access to technology then please contact your in-country or UK delivery partners for assistance.


If the PIs have moved on to another institution or retired from the institution which funded the original project, but still want to be involved in Newton prize application process, can the PIs apply but with different institutions?

Either of the original lead PIs can make an application, naming the other on the application form with their permission. It does not matter if they have moved on or retired. In Part A of the form they would need a letter from the original university/delivery partner/institution that administered the Newton Fund grant for the previous or current work. If the project is current and not completed they will also need to confirm that the current lead PIs (assuming there are two new people) are aware of the application. In Part B if they wish to submit a proposal for a development project which is supported by a different university/delivery partner/institution that is also fine but they will need the relevant letters of support from the new organisation. Full requirements are detailed in the guidance notes.


Is it possible for the original UK PI who is now in a new institution to have a new in-country PI with a new institution?

The original lead PI can apply but will need a letter of support from the original institution to complete the Part A form, as per the answer above. If their proposal for new work at Part B of the process is to be supported by their new institution they will need a letter of support stating so from them. The original PI may have a new PI in country however the original in country PI will need to confirm they agree to this.



About Part B of the application: Your Newton Prize proposed project

Can I apply for the Chairs prize and the country prize in my part B application?

No, you must choose whether to apply for the Chair's prize or a country prize.

Where can I find the prize selection criteria?

All applicants will need to address the prize selection criteria concerning impact. Please take note of question weightings which will indicate particularly important questions you/your team will need to answer.


Do I have to spend at least 50% of the prize in the Partner Country?



Is it mandatory to have a UK partner/continue working with the existing UK partner for the prize proposal?

The prize aims to incentivise researchers and businesses to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK, and to work on the most important challenges facing Newton countries. The concept for the Newton Prize has been developed to raise the profile of the Newton Fund, to demonstrate how UK partnerships with Newton countries are solving global challenges, and to celebrate the impacts made as a result of these international collaborations.

It is not mandatory to have a formal UK partner in order to demonstrate this, but it must be clear in your application how your proposal contributes to these main aims of the prize and that you have consent from any original project partners (in the UK or elsewhere) to proceed with the application without their involvement. Please note these partners may be contacted during the eligibility checking process.


What % FEC does the Newton Prize operate at?

The Newton Prize operates at FEC 100%.    


If successful, which organisation receives the prize money?

The normal process is the lead institution in the UK receive the grant (paid quarterly in arrears) and is responsible for disbursing this to the project partners. The BEIS grant letter asks for a copy of the consortium agreement – so that it is clear who the partners are and where the funding is being dispersed. 


How should I calculate the overheads costs to my partner institution?

The costings is for the academics to scope as part of their proposal. It is hard for us to provide specific guidance because the projects vary so much. You should be working in tandem with your partners to determine costs as accurately as possible.


Programme specific – Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowships

I am a Leaders in Innovation Fellowship award holder, am I eligible?

Yes. As a recipient of Newton Funding, you are eligible to apply for the Newton Prize.


Do I have to have a UK lead applicant?



What is the duration of my programme?

1.5 years


What is my award number?

Your award number should be your application number from when you applied. All numbers start with LIF\XXX with a number for the application. This application would have been on the RAEng portal

Please email if you cannot locate your application.


What is the duration of my award?

This will be dependent on the LIF programme you attended, please select the correct one from below:


LIF1= 01.04.14 to 31.03.15

LIF2= 01.04.15 to 31.03.16

LIF3=01.04.16 to 31.03.17

LIF4= 01.04.17 to 31.03.18

LIF5= 01.04.18 to 31.03.19

LIF 6= 01.04.19 to 31.03.20


What is the total amount of funding awarded to LIF grantees?

Approx. £13,000


What is my project title?

This is the name of your product or service/ the idea you are being assisted to develop as part of the LIF programme.


Specific question responses: 

Question 2: Select your UK lead Delivery Partner

Applicants should select: Royal Academy of Engineering


Question 5: Type of Newton Fund project

Applicants should select: Fellowship/Studentship


Question 8: Total amount of Newton Fund award in pound sterling (UK £)

Applicants should answer: Approx. £13,000


Question 11: Is the current lead UK PI the person named on the original Newton Fund grant for this project?

Applications should answer: I don't have a lead UK PI because I hold a Leaders in Innovation Fellowship


Country-specific FAQs

Egypt applications

Will I need any approvals from the government in Egypt?

To be eligible for any international funding, Egyptian projects require the relevant approvals from the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptian PI should apply for this when they submit their application for Part B.

Newton Prize 2020 (NP) and the Newton Fund Impact Scheme (NFIS) will be running in parallel in Egypt, can I apply to both funding schemes?

Egyptian Newton Funded projects can apply to both funding schemes, subject to the specific eligibility criteria for each funding scheme, but the same project will not be allowed to win both prizes.

Following the Newton Prize 2020 Committee decision in September 2020, if the top ranked Egyptian project is applying to both schemes they will be asked to decide which fund they wish to continue with. If the winning project chooses to continue with their NFIS application, the Newton Prize award will be offered to the next project on the ranked list.