Members of the GII Symposium pose for a group photo.
Awardees in attendance at the 2018 GII Symposium at the U.S. State Department.

The Global Innovation Initiative (GII) was a shared commitment between the United Kingdom and the United States to strengthen research collaboration between universities in the UK and US through partnership with institutions in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia.

Announced in June 2013 by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Global Innovation Initiative was consistent at the time with Prime Minister David Cameron’s and President Barack Obama’s broader commitment to strengthen higher education collaborations between the UK, the US, and countries with emerging economies. GII was formally launched in the UK in October 2013 by the Rt. Hon David Willetts MP and the two-year grants awarded in 2014 and 2016.  The Initiative was funded by the British Council and the former Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills in the UK and by the Department of State in the US.

GII awarded grants to university consortia focusing on STEM-related issues of topical global importance. The research partnerships aimed to bring mutual benefit to higher education institutions in the UK, US, and selected countries through the enhancement of institutional ties, the sharing of expertise, and relationship-building through faculty and student mobility.  


GII grants of up to £150,000 were awarded under one of the following thematic areas:

  • Energy, environment and climate change
  • Urban development
  • Agriculture, food security, and water
  • Global health 

UK-led partnerships were managed by the British Council in the USA, working closely with the Institute of International Education in the USA which managed US-led collaborations

GII 2015 Projects and Awardees

Projects and Awardees

Fourteen grants were awarded in 2015 for the Global Innovation Initiative through the UK and US competitions.  US Awardees were administrated by the Institution for International Education. Details of the awarded partnerships can be found below.

  • Global Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biorefining Network: GB3-Net - Aston University, University of Wisconsin-Madison (U.S.), Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China), University of Kentucky (U.S.), University of Massachusetts, Amherst (U.S.), and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Establishing a network of research excellence for mine reclamation in Southeast Asia - Bangor University, Western Carolina University (U.S.), Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia), Bandung Institute of Technology (Indonesia), Universitas Diponegoro (Indonesia), Universitas Brawijaya (Indonesia), Southeast Asian Region for Tropical Biology (Indonesia), and Aberystwyth University (UK)
  • ICECAP2 - International Collaborative Exploration of Central East Antarctica through Airborne geophysical Profiling - Imperial College London, University of Texas, Austin (U.S.), Beijing Normal University (China), University of Delhi (India), Polar Research Institute of China (China), British Antarctic Survey (UK), and the University of Bristol (UK)
  • SITARA: Smart Grid to harness Satellite-based Virtual Power Plants for energy sustainability - University of Bradford, North Carolina State University (U.S.), and the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (India)
  • Oral and cervical cancer in rural India: Using mHealth and primary care to improve prevention, screening, and early diagnosis - University of Edinburgh, Weill Cornell Medical College (U.S.), and the Christian Medical College (India)
  • Flood impact assessment in megacities under urban sprawl and climate change - University of Exeter, University of Central Florida (U.S.), and Tsinghua University (China)
  • Novel nanostructured conjugates for deep sensitive cancer detection and noninvasive highly efficient cancer therapy - University of Sheffield, University of Michigan (U.S.), and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
  • Sleep, circadian rhythms, and cardiovascular health across ethnicities - a small Brazilian town as a model for global health issues - University of Surrey, University of Chicago (U.S.), and the University of São Paulo (Brazil)

GII 2014 Projects and Awardees

Projects and Awardees

Twenty-three grants were awarded in the inaugural year of the Global Innovation Initiative through the UK and US competitions. US Awardees were administrated by the Institution for International Education. Details of the awarded partnerships can be found below.

  • Environmental DNA for Rapid Assessment of Biodiversity and Conservation Priorities in Indonesia - Bangor University, University of California Los Angeles, Udayana University (Indonesia)
  • Design and Development of International Electricity Highway Systems - Brunel University, University of Oklahoma, Sichuan University (China), Tsinghua University (China)
  • Develop a novel vaccination method combining electric stimulation and PLGA micro-needles - Cardiff University, University of California Davis, China Medical University (China)
  • Reducing global energy use in buildings while improving occupant comfort and well-being: reversing the growing trend toward AC - Loughborough University, University of California Berkeley, CEPT University Ahmedabad (India)
  • Development of Sustainable Technologies to Investigate, Restore and Protect the Urban Water Environment - Newcastle University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India), CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute Nagpur (India)
  • Ensemble Estimation of Flood Risk in A Changing Climate - Swansea University, University of Maine, Sichuan University (China), Hohai University (China), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Bandung Institute of Technology (Indonesia)
  • TransAtlantic Discovery, Characterization and Application of Enzymes for the Recycling of Polymers and Composites - University of Bath, Ohio State University, University of São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Seeing with Sound-Developing an Echolocation Device based on sensing principles derived from Human Users - University of Birmingham, Ohio State University, Beijing Institute of Technology (China)
  • Nanostructured materials for the control of contaminants detrimental to health - University of Brighton, Drexel University, Northwestern Polytechnic University (China)
  • Global Farm Platforms for Sustainable Ruminant Livestock Production - University of Bristol, University of Wisconsin Madison, Zhijiang University (China), Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University (India)
  • Land Use Change, Biodiversity and the Community Ecology of Amazonian Vector-Borne Diseases - University of East Anglia, Oregon State University, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Federal University of Mato Grosso (Brazil), State University of Mato Grosso (Brazil)
  • New Answers For Old Problems: A Global Interdisciplinary Training Network to Address Key Questions in Plant Development for Food - University of Nottingham, University of Delaware, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
  • Wireless Charging Technologies for Electric Vehicles to Improve Energy Utilisation and Reduce Emissions in the Urban Environment - University of Strathclyde, New York University, Wuhan University (China)

Final report

The final report below summarizes the research highlights of each multilateral partnership and offers some “lessons learned” on conducting successful international collaborations.