Boost for pioneering international collaborations in energy, healthcare and artificial intelligence

Boost for pioneering international collaborations in energy, healthcare and artificial intelligence

28 August 2019

  • £3.6 million of funding boosts the scale of international university partnerships in research areas including energy storage and recycling, ageing and wellness research and digital technologies and manufacturing
  • Projects will explore the potential impact of driverless cars on vulnerable road users, drive innovation in biomedical manufacturing and develop new early detection tools to prevent cardiovascular disease
  • The eight universities are to receive the first ever investment from Research England’s International Investment Initiative (I3)

International university partnerships leading research in areas such as the development of new early detection tools to prevent cardiovascular disease, the impact of driverless cars on vulnerable road users and manufacturing technologies for biomedicines have been boosted through a new funding initiative, announced today.

Eight universities have been awarded £3.6 million of funding by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, to scale up international research collaborations with universities and research organisations outside the UK.

The partnerships include:

  • A collaboration between the University of Brighton and York University, Canada, which is developing 3D bio-printing and additive manufacturing technologies. These technologies could reduce the costs of personalised medicine or be used in printed biochips to regenerate tissue
  • A partnership between Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Western Australia, that will explore how advanced exercise physiologists could help to prevent cardiovascular disease in the UK through assessment, physical activity intervention and behaviour change
  • The establishment of an International Research Centre by Loughborough University, the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and Tongji University in China to save lives by studying the impact of autonomous vehicles, such as driverless cars, on vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists and children.

It is the first investment to be made through Research England’s International Investment Initiative (I3), a new scheme launched in 2018 to strengthen universities’ contribution to society and the economy, enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in global science and innovation and contribute to the Government’s commitment to increase R&D spend to 2.4% by 2027.

The partnerships, involving collaborators in nations ranging from Canada and Australia to Singapore and Finland, will build capacity and capability across the sector and addressing major industrial and societal challenges in healthcare, sustainable technologies and Artificial Intelligence.  

Research England worked with Universities UK International (UUKi) in the delivery of I3, which supports existing, strategically-significant and excellent partnerships. UUKi advised on the development of the fund and provided advice and support to the assessment and panel process.

Research England’s Director of Research, Steven Hill, said:

‘Research England’s mission is to create and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in English universities.

‘One way Research England seeks to accomplish this mission is by providing performance-based, institution-focussed funding to deliver excellent research and high-performance knowledge exchange, unlocking potential, generating economic and social impact, and meeting national priorities and global challenges.

‘Global collaboration is an increasingly important factor in research and innovation success, supporting access to talent, resources and markets that are not available nationally, and the I3 scheme is one of a range of existing and new policy measures that support Research England in achieving this goal.’

Funding for the eight projects will run for five years, starting in August 2019, allowing successful institutions sufficient time to scale up their international collaborations.

Summaries of all eight projects can be on the funded projects section of the International Investment Initiative (i3) page.


For media enquiries, contact Tamera Jones, 07342 025443, or James Giles-Franklin, 07702 611906,


  1. Research England is a public body that shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in universities. It distributes over £2.2 billion every year to universities, primarily in England but also in the rest of the UK; it works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and it supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK.
  2. About Universities UK International Universities UK International (UUKi) represents UK higher education institutions (HEIs) globally and helps them flourish internationally. To do this we actively promote UK HEIs abroad, provide trusted information for and about them, and create new opportunities through our unique ability to act at sector level. We draw on UK university expertise to influence policy in the UK and overseas, delivering information, advice and guidance to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration between UK HEIs and a broad range of international partners. @UUKIntl
  3. About I3

    For more information about I3, visit International Investment Initiative (i3)

  4. Aims of I3

    As part of UK Research and Innovation’s investment in international research collaborations, the Research England I3 will support approaches in English HEIs that lead to increased scale of effective and sustainable research collaborations at an organisational level that enhance sector practice and research outcomes. The initiative’s objectives are to:

    • Increase the scale and impact of existing international research collaborations that are based on excellent research
    • Strengthen the contribution of international collaborations involving English HEIs to our society, pushing the frontiers of human knowledge, delivering economic impact and creating social impact by supporting communities to become enriched, healthier, more 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.