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WUN Research Development Fund 

Internal application is closed.


The Office of Academic Links (OAL) is now inviting applications for the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund (RDF) 2021.


WUN is an exclusive network of 22 research-led universities across six continents with a mission to create new, multilateral opportunities for international collaboration in research and education. It fosters interdisciplinary research in four key areas known as the Global Challenges—Global Higher Education and Research; Public Health; Responding to Climate Change; and Understanding Cultures. CUHK joined the Network in 2011 as the only member university in Hong Kong and has since taken an active role in the Network for internationalization and research capacity building. Current members of WUN include:


Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais


University of Alberta


University of Ghana

Greater China


National Cheng Kung University

Renmin University of China

Zhejiang University


University College Dublin


Tecnológico de Monterrey 

The Netherlands

Maastricht University

New Zealand

The University of Auckland


University of Bergen

South Africa

University of Cape Town


University of Lausanne


Makerere University


The University of Sheffield

University of Bristol

University of Leeds

University of Southampton

University of York


University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Rochester


RDF provides one year of seed funds to foster research collaborations among WUN members with a view to stimulating larger projects that will strengthen WUN and making the collaborating partners competitive for major external grants.


The theme for this year is “Mobilising for a Sustainable Future”.  As the world invests to overcome and move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, there are major opportunities for research to inform national and international priorities in building a sustainable future. Cross-Global Challenge projects that address problems in one or more of the following UN Sustainable Development Goals are particularly encouraged (for information on what each goal encompasses, click the corresponding icon below):

Good Health & Well-being
Quality Education
Affordable & Clean Energy
Reduced Inequalities
Sustainable Cities & Communities
Life below Water
Life on Land


Grants are offered to projects which:

  • Fall within the scope of the RDF 2021 theme and focus areas, addressing problems of consequence within the domain of “Sustainable Development”.
  • Demonstrate high academic quality and address a new research problem or take an existing WUN research programme in a significantly new direction.
  • Engage researchers from different regions, disciplines, and career stages.
  • Capitalize on the distinctive advantages presented by WUN—the team of researchers assembled; opportunities for comparative analysis; and access to environment and resource unique to the partners.
  • Are likely to be of significant public interest (impact on society).
  • Are aligned with major funding initiatives from governments and/or international agencies and foundations, and likely to compete for such funds upon completion.



  1. An award of up to £10,000will be offered by WUN to each selected project.
  2. An award from WUN will be matched by funding provided by CUHK (up to the value awarded by WUN and only for projects led by CUHK).
  3. Awarded funding should be expended within 12 months. Any unspent funds may be recalled.
  4. Eligible and ineligible expenditures are detailed in the WUN RDF Guidelines.
  5. At the 12thmonth of the awarded project, PIs need to produce a short video on their projects and activities/outcomes that can be shared publicly.
  6. Awarded PIs are required to submit annual reports to WUN on an ongoing basis for the life of the projects beyond the initial year of the grants. The reporting is essential to track outcomes and WUN’s return on its investments.


INTERNAL APPLICATION (Deadline: Wednesday, 15 September 2021)

  1. Application by the PIs is required only.
  2. Applicants must be full-time faculty members at CUHK.
  3. Complete the WUN RDF Concept Note and return it to the Office of Academic Links (OAL) by the internal deadline.
  4. The project must involve at least three WUN member universities (including CUHK) across at least two regions (i.e. Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania). The project may include non-WUN universities but it must have an active core of WUN member universities. At this stage, applicants may simply indicate possible partners.
  5. Applicants should engage/identify at least one more CUHK faculty member to collaborate on the project.


Faculty members interested in applying are encouraged to contact OAL as soon as possible to discuss the proposals.



  1. Applications will be reviewed internally and the two most qualified applications will be selected by the University for submission to WUN. Each member university may submit a maximum of two applications as lead.
  2. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to complete WUN’s online application by 22 October 2021 at 9:00pm, UK time (i.e. 4:00am on 23 October in HK).
  3. WUN will announce the results on 17 December 2021 and the awarded funding will be transferred to the University in February 2022.




For enquiries, please contact Ms. Yvonne Heung of OAL.