Coloured cards rest on wooden surface displaying Social Development Goals

Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants

Closing date: 17 May at 10:00 UTC

Universities are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. Applications are now open for the 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 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

From sourcing energy-saving and clean energy options for selected 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 Institution’s (HEI’s)
  • 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

What does the grant cover?

Four grants of GBP 2,500 are available.  

Eligibility and application requirements

If your university has previously received an ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grant, you are not eligible to apply again. Please check our grantees page to see if this applies to your university.

Meet the grantees

To apply, you 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. The project time plan is requested for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
  • Submit a letter of support from the Executive Head or equivalent of your institution to demonstrate their support for the programme of work proposed and the ways they will provide support for your project. The letter of support also acts as a reference for the project lead.
  • You will also need to attach the project lead’s CV.

Before submitting your application, we’d encourage you to read the application guidance for the ACU Challenge Grants.

Read the application guidance

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with others – whether that’s with  member universities to promote further Commonwealth partnerships, or other organisations such as local governments. This will be looked on favourably, but it is not essential.

Grant applications that allow matching or additional funds from the applicant’s institution will be looked upon favourably but it is also not essential.

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 Higher Education and the SDGs Network
  • Collaboration

Reporting and sharing of outputs

Grantees are required to submit a short interim report halfway through their project and a comprehensive final report within one month after completing their project.

Additionally, any outputs developed through the grants (e.g., toolkits or papers) should be available to be shared with the Higher Education and the SDGs Network and the wider ACU network, in order to increase .

How to apply

If you already have a MyACU account, you can access the grant application form here.

If you do not already have a MyACU account, please ensure that you first register for an account here and then follow the instructions in the registration email to log in to the system before accessing the application form.

We are aware that some applicants are currently experiencing technical problems when submitting their application(s) through MyACU. As a result of this, the option to preview your application form has been turn off. If your application is complete and you are having problems submitting it, please ensure that all sections of your application are ready to submit, then contact us here. Please also indicate which award or grant you are applying for.

Apply now 

Closing date: 23 May at 10:00 UTC

More information

For any queries, please email SDGs@acu.ac.uk


About the ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network

The Higher Education and the SDGs Network is a forum for all university staff and students at ACU member universities who are directly engaging in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. The Network aims to facilitate peer learning, through sharing knowledge and good practice, discovering potential avenues for collaboration and partnerships, and sharing different approaches to how universities are engaging with the SDGs.

Join the HE and the SDGs Network