NRF-NSFC Joint Grant Call

The National Research Foundation Singapore and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding in November 2015 to explore collaboration through joint grant calls.

Only one Chinese researcher and one Singapore researcher are allowed to participate as Principal Investigators (PIs) in one application of this joint call. Co-PIs/collaborators may participate in the project but will not be funded by it. Masters, PhD students and post-doctoral fellows may participate in the project and be funded by it, but will not serve as PIs.

The Foundations have agreed that project proposals will be written, submitted and assessed as a single, unified proposal which describes a full programme of work in both countries. All proposals must be written in English. This will be submitted to NSFC by the Chinese PI and to NRF by the Singapore PI. The Chinese PI is also required to submit an identical Chinese-language proposal to NSFC besides afore-mentioned English proposal. Projects should last 36 months.

Call Frequency and Grant Quantum

This call for proposals provides funding support to Singapore researchers for joint research for a period of 3 years:

  • Funding support for each project is capped at a total funding quantum of SGD500,000, inclusive of overheads and equipment; and 
  • Any equipment purchase over SGD100,000 should be clearly specified in the proposal and proper justification given for the need to purchase.

The inaugural joint call addressed two topics of mutual interest, i.e. data science and emerging infectious diseases. Click here for details on awarded projects from the inaugural call.

The second joint grant call addressed the topics of environmental science and quantum technologies. Click here for details on awarded projects from the second call.

The third joint grant call addressed the topics of synthetic biology and earth science. Click here for details on awarded projects from the third call.

Evaluation Criteria

NRF and NSFC will conduct respective evaluations followed by final evaluation by a joint evaluation panel. Some of the key criteria include: 

  • Relevance of the application to the aims and scope defined in the call, including the significance of the problem; 
  • Quality, including scientific excellence and technological novelty; 
  • Impact, including potential benefit for scientific breakthroughs or disruption, or opportunities to address global challenges, or opportunities for translation and exploitation of results; and 
  • Implementation, including competencies of the research team, complementarity of the expertise of the research team (both Chinese and Singapore), value for money, quality of project management, and are the aims and objectives achievable within the proposed timeframe. 


For clarifications, you can email your questions to Pearly_CHIN@nrf.gov.sg (for quantum technologies) and USS_Secretariat@nrf.gov.sg (for environmental science). 


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