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WUN Research Development Fund 

Note: Internal application to WUN RDF 2023 has closed. Please come back in summer 2024 to see the next call.



WUN is an exclusive network of 22 research-led universities* 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:


University of Technology Sydney


Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais


University of Alberta


Ruhr University of Bochum


University of Ghana

Greater China


National Cheng Kung University

Renmin University of China


Tecnológico de Monterrey


Mahidol University

The Netherlands

Maastricht University

New Zealand

The University of Auckland

South Africa

University of Cape Town

University of Pretoria


University of Lausanne


Makerere University


The University of Sheffield

University of Bristol

University of Leeds

University of Southampton

University of York


University of Rochester

* University College Dublin and the University of Bergen will retire from the network by end of 2023. They may be engaged in the application but not as core team members.


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.


WUN RDF 2023

In line with the WUN Strategic Plan 2023–2026, proposals that address problems in one or more of the following areas within the context of sustainable development are encouraged):

  • Social justice and human rights; Inequality
  • Sustainable world: cities and urbanization; Energy transitions; Water and food security
  • Mental health; Child and maternal health; Ageing
  • Responsible and ethical applications of AI


Terms of Award

  1. An award of up to £10,000 will 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. (Important note: Staffing and equipment costs are NOT supported by the scheme.)
  5. PIs should submit annual reports to WUN for the life of the awarded projects beyond the initial year of the grants. The reporting is essential to track outcomes and the return on investment for WUN.


Internal Application

  1. Application by the PIs (i.e. leading a project) is required only.
  2. Applicants must be full-time faculty members at CUHK. Projects led by early career researchers are especially encouraged. (Successful applicants are required to remain in university service for not less than a year upon completion of the project.)
  3. 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)[1]. 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.
  4. Applicants should engage/identify at least one more CUHK faculty member to collaborate in the project.
  5. Complete the WUN RDF Concept Note and return it to the Office of Academic Links (OAL) by the internal deadline on Thursday, 14 September 2023.

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


Review, Selection, and Submission to WUN

  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 Friday, 20 October 2023 at 9:00pm UK time (i.e. 4:00am on 21 October in Hong Kong).
  3. WUN will announce the results on 15 December 2023 and the awarded funding will be transferred to the University in February 2024.

Consideration will be given to applications that meet the following criteria:

  • Relevancy to RDF 2023 focus.
  • High academic quality with interdisciplinary collaborative nature; present clear research questions and methodology.
  • Capitalize on the distinctive advantages presented by WUN—the team of researchers assembled; opportunities for comparative analysis; and access to environments and resources unique to the partners.
  • Establish or strengthen collaborations among member universities; engage researchers from relevant regions, disciplines, and career stages.
  • Generate desirable outcomes and impact, e.g. scholarly outputs, social good, bidding for external grants, influencing policy, and benefits within WUN/CUHK generally.




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