Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: International investment initiative (I3) fund

The International Investment Initiative fund supports the scaling up of existing and strategically significant international research collaborations between English higher education providers and overseas universities and research organisations.

£3.6 million
2019 to 2024
Partners involved:
Research England, Universities UK International

The scope and what we're doing

The International Investment Initiative (I3) fund aims to support the scaling up of existing strategically significant, internationally collaborative research relationships between English higher education providers and universities and research organisations outside the UK.

To scale up existing collaborations, the scheme focuses on higher education providers that can demonstrate existing research excellence, strategic alignment with partners, and evidence of an existing productive collaboration.


The objectives are to:

  • increase the scale and impact of existing international research collaborations that are based on excellent research
  • strengthen the contribution to our society of international collaborations involving English higher education providers, pushing the frontiers of human knowledge, delivering economic impact and creating societal impact by supporting communities to become enriched, healthier, resilient and sustainable
  • contribute towards the delivery of government strategy, including the Industrial Strategy, by supporting sustained improvements in institutional capacity and capability in England.

Opportunities, support and resources available

There are currently no open funding opportunities.

Who to contact

International Policy Team


Governance, management and panels

Research England works with Universities UK International in the delivery of I3.

Universities UK International advised on the development of the fund and provided advice and support to the assessment and panel process.

The members of the International Investment Initiative funding panel are:

  • Dr Richard Armour (Chair) is a member of the Research England Council, and formerly Secretary-General of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee (UGC)
  • Professor Nora de Leeuw is Professor of Computational Chemistry at Cardiff University, where she also serves as Pro-Vice Chancellor International
  • Ms Vivienne Stern is the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi), which represents UK universities around the world and works to enable them to flourish internationally
  • Professor Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement
  • Professor Federica Di Palma is the Director of Science at the Earlham Institute, and director of the BRIDGE Colombia Global network of researchers across the UK and Colombia
  • Mr Dan Shah joined the British Council as Director Research in December 2018, leading a strategic programme of research underpinning and supporting the cultural relations vision and mission of the British Council
  • Professor Michael J Roberts holds a UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair between the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the University of Southampton (UoS) in the UK and the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Professor Claire O’Malley is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) at Durham University and responsible for leading the university’s international strategy
  • Professor James Smith was appointed Vice Principal International at the University of Edinburgh in November 2014, having held his personal chair in African and Development Studies since 2010
  • Professor Simon Gaskell has had an academic career (with multiple industrial connections), both in the UK and US. He served as chair of the Higher Education Statistics Agency from 2013 to 17. He retired from full-time roles in 2017.

Last updated: 17 October 2022

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