Apply for the UK-Saudi Challenge Fund! 

Application deadline: Friday 26 January 2024 

About this funding call

Part of British Council’s Going Global Partnerships programme, the UK-Saudi Challenge Fund offers grants for UK and Saudi institutions to support research collaboration, internationalisation and transnational education. The purpose of the call is to foster further collaboration between UK and Saudi higher education institutions.

What funding is available?

Grants of between £20,000 and £40,000 will be awarded to successful UK universities, who can apply individually or as part of a consortium, to partner with universities or consortia from Saudi Arabia. 

Thematic areas

Institutions are encouraged to consider the following thematic areas when submitting.

  • Clean energy & environment
  • Engineering biology
  • Artificial Intelligence, cyber security & big data
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Arts & culture


All UK universities and Saudi universities in both the private and public sectors are eligible to submit proposals for funding. 

Total Funding and Project Duration 

Funding: Between £20,000 and £40,000 will be awarded for each successful proposal covering the whole project duration. 

Duration of the grant: projects in receipt of funding will be expected to start in April 2024 and can run for a maximum of one year (until March 2025).

About Going Global Partnerships

This call part of the British Council’s Going Global Partnership programme, which supports universities, colleges and wider education stakeholders around the world to work together towards stronger, equitable, inclusive, more internationally connected higher education, science and TVET. 

Through international partnerships, system collaborations and opportunities to connect and share, we enable stronger transnational education, more collaborative research, higher quality delivery, enhanced learner outcomes and stronger, internationalised, equitable and inclusive systems and institutions. 

This leads to stronger higher education, research and TVET systems around the world that can support fairer social and economic growth and address national and global challenges – all backed up by mutually beneficial international relationships. 

Selection criteria

In accordance with the wider aims of our Going Global Partnerships programme (outlined above), priority consideration will be given to project proposals that can demonstrate: 

  • potential growth for research and innovation and transnational education (TNE) in both Saudi Arabia and the UK (e.g. creation of a new research project or TNE programme)
  • creation of added value for the UK (e.g. development of favourable policies and strategies)
  • access to other funding sources, including contributions that support the delivery of project activities and ensure sustainability 
  • creation of innovative services or products
  • benefits for the wider higher education sector (e.g. publication sharing, international best practice).

Award Criteria

A panel will review each proposal to assess: 

  • potential to deliver Going Global Parentship impact and outcomes (30 points) 
  • alignment with grant strategic objectives (30 points) 
  • principal applicant and their partner's capacity to deliver on time and within budget (40 points).

Action Required

Download and review all the documents from the downloads section below. 

Complete the application form, proposed budget and grant agreement, along with all supporting documentation. 

Email your completed documentation to Suzan Mozher, Head of Education, British Council Saudi Arabia on

The application deadline is Friday 26 January 2024, 23.59 UK time.