Mat Wright

The UK-China PhD Placement programme will be opened for application in May 2018. 

About this opportunity

The UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Partnership Fund (known in the UK as the Newton Fund) PhD placement programme is delivered by the British Council China and the China Scholarship Council on behalf of the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and China’s Ministry of Education.

This programme is a sponsorship opportunity for UK and Chinese PhD students and their supervisors to spend a period of study of three to 12 months (for PhD students) and up to three months (for supervisors) at higher education institutions in China or the UK. The focus is on research areas that reflect the common interests and demands of both countries, including: 

  • health and life sciences
  • food and water security
  • environmental technologies
  • energy
  • urbanisation
  • education and creative economy for economic development and social welfare

Please note, applicants must find a host institution in their target country and placements must start between January and December 2018.

Programme Outcomes

The PhD placement programme aims to promote the research capacity of PhD students, to build UK-China institutional exchanges and collaborations that benefit future students, and to strengthen UK-China links in research and innovation. 

The programme aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • development of individual capacity through international training and development opportunities
  • cultivation of highly trained researchers in the UK and China with international experience who are able to contribute to research and innovation, thereby generating economic and social benefits for both countries
  • participation of British and Chinese PhD students in international intellectual networks, building cultural understanding and fostering long-term sustainable research collaborations
  • development of international joint training pathways
  • raising awareness of the UK’s and China’s research strengths


The application process closes at 12:00 pm GMT on 20 September 2017


This opportunity is open to UK and Chinese nationals who are currently enrolled, as PhD students, at accredited higher education institutions or research institutions in the UK or China respectively. UK students studying for their PhDs at institutions in China and Chinese students studying for their PhDs at institutions in the UK are not eligible. 

UK PhD applicants should be from UK institutions with strong research record in the six areas of focus (see the first section on this page). UK applicants should be UK passport holders. Candidates of other nationalities must hold passports from countries that have diplomatic relations with China. 

Host universities in China must be eligible to admit international students. For a list of Chinese universities eligible to admit international students, please visit  this webpage.

How to apply

UK PhD applicants must:

- Step 1: Complete the  online registration form of the China Scholarship Council and print it.  

- Step 2: Complete the application form on the British Council’s online application system. A word version of the form is available in the Downloads section below. Please note this is for information only, and all submissions must be made using the online form.

Any enquiries about the UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Partnership Fund can also be sent to newtonfundchina@britishcouncil.org.cn

Please refer to the ‘Call Guidelines (for UK applicants)’ available in the Downloads section for a detailed introduction of the programme and application process, the evaluation criteria, and funding arrangements.

Chinese applicants should visit China Scholarship Council website for further information regarding the application process and for contact details.

External links