International Strategic Fund (ISF)

Important notice

Due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic and the latest UK Government lockdown  announcement taking effect from Tuesday 5 January 2021, all staff are advised to stay at home unless it is essential to their role that they come to campus. 

With travel corridors under constant review by Government and other countries closing their borders, the ISF will continue to be postponed until further notice.

Further details on the University approach to international travel can be found on the SharePoint intranet site.

As soon as international travel restrictions are lifted we will launch the ISF and any applicant awarded ISF funding will be required to comply with the University requirements and approval process before any travel can take place.



The International Strategic Fund (ISF) supports University of Bristol researchers in establishing or advancing sustainable international research partnerships with colleagues from around the world, which will lead to high quality research outcomes and impacts. The awards should be viewed as part of the first phase of funding that will enable longer-term collaborations between the University of Bristol and international partners.

In light of recent bi-lateral/multi-lateral funding opportunities and the launch of the UK’s £110 million Fund for International Collaboration, we encourage ISF applications that aim to develop and strengthen strategic engagement with partners in Australia, Canada, China, India, South Korea, Israel, Germany, North America and Japan (particularly with Kyoto University to foster this partnership).

Any academic, researcher or postgraduate student who wishes to develop sustainable research collaborations between the University and an international partner may apply. This scheme does not support activities aimed at research that is eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding. If you wish to apply for short research visits for ODA-relevant research, please visit:

Funding available

Funding varies according to location and proposed outcomes, but the average award is approximately £2,500.

How to make an application
This call has no deadlines. To apply, you simply need to email a completed application form in a single PDF document to You can find the application template below.

RED will process submitted applications at the end of each month. Applications will be reviewed by RED, signed off by the relevant Faculty Research Directors, with oversight from the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research.

The review process may take up to two weeks.  Exceptionally, where an urgent need for a quicker turnaround can be demonstrated, this will be accommodated if possible.  

Further information

ISF Guidance notes and FAQ 2019-20 (PDF, 93kB)

ISF Application form 2019-20 (Office document, 33kB)


Previous awards

ISF 2018-19 Awards (PDF, 134kB)

ISF 2017-18 - Awards (PDF, 105kB) 

ISF 2016-17 - Awards (PDF, 119kB)

ISF 2014-15 - Awards (PDF, 74kB)