Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants

Applications are now open for Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants to fund collaborative work around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Open to professional and academic staff at ACU member universities, the Challenge Grants support collaborative work focused on the Higher Education and the SDGs Network’s priority themes.

From sourcing energy-saving and clean energy options for Fijian schools to supporting women’s economic empowerment by addressing the financial literacy and gender-based disparities in access to finance – the grants have been used to fund a diverse range of activities, projects, workshops, and events. Applications could include ideas for:

  • Virtual exchange or collaboration, teaching or professional practice collaboration. Sharing and co-development of learning materials, tools, training, and approaches to support contingency and continuity of operations planning at higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • Virtual fellowships, comparative analyses, research management, and uptake capacity-building
  • Integrating sustainable development into operations
  • Sharing SDG learning content and materials
  • Developing SDG-focused research strategies
  • Co-creating research for impact, community engagement, and partnerships for the goals


  • Collaboration with network members, resulting in outputs that can be shared with the wider network and beyond. These collaborations may be supported by ACU grants
  • Brokerage activities to create introductions between members, potentially resulting in new research connections, international guest lecturers, co-supervisors, virtual-mobility relationships, COIL relationships, or mentoring matches
  • Attending or presenting at ACU events
  • Advocacy to raise the profile of strategic or campaign issues. Through the accredited status that the ACU holds at the Commonwealth and United Nations, the networks can help amplify the impact on high-level policy platforms.
  • Quarterly newsletter – a round-up of international news, opportunities, and the latest reports and publications
  • LinkedIn group – a private space for members to connect, share information, ask for advice, and learn about opportunities
  • Speaking opportunities at international events on behalf of the network
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Open to professional and academic staff at ACU member universities, the grants focus on the following ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network priority themes:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Research
  • Estates and stewardship
  • Engagement and impact
  • Partnerships

Selection Criteria

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Project goals and feasibility
  • Impact and outputs
  • Experience and skills of the project lead and institution support
  • Alignment with the themes of the ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network
  • Collaboration

Application Process

To apply, applicants will need to:

  • Supply an outline of the project and a detailed time plan, including what it will involve and how it will address the Higher Education and the SDGs Network’s themes.
  • Submit a letter of support from their university’s executive head (or equivalent), or another senior member of their institution, to demonstrate their support for the programme of work proposed and the ways they will provide support for their project.
  • The letter should also act as a reference for the project lead.
  • Attach the project lead’s CV.

To apply for Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants, click here.

Deadline: May 02, 2023.

For more information about the Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants, visit the official site.

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