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According to the cooperation agreement signed between the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Royal Society (RS) as well as the subsequent agreement reached, both parties will continue to co-fund the Exchanges Program in 2022.

I. Program Information

i. Subjects covered

Subject areas within the scope of NSFC funding.

ii. Value of funding

Chinese funding shall not exceed CNY 100,000 per proposal. UK funding shall not exceed GBP 12,000 per proposal.

Please note that applications with direct costs greater than CNY 100,000 for the Chinese team will not be accepted.

iii. Funding coverage

NSFC funds the international travel expenses (economy class for air tickets) of Chinese researchers to the UK, as well as the costs of accommodation, meals, and inter-city transportation for British researchers in China. The Royal Society funds the international travel expenses of British researchers to China and the accommodation, meals, and inter-city transport expenses of Chinese researchers in the UK.

iv. Duration of funding

The funding duration for exchanges program will last for two years, and the duration of research in the application form should be filled in between the dates of April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2024.

II. Applicant Eligibility

According to the Management Measures for International (Regional) Cooperation and Exchange Programs of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, applications for this program must meet the following conditions:

i. The Chinese applicant must be the project leader or main participant of an ongoing NSFC project (except for cooperation and exchanges projects) with a three-year duration or longer that will be completed on or after December 31, 2022. Main participant of an ongoing project applies for this program as the Chinese applicant shall either have a senior professional and technical position/title, a PhD degree, or be recommended by two scientific and technical personnel with senior professional and technical positions/titles in the applicant's field, plus the consent of the leader of the ongoing project. The focus of the exchanges should be closely related to the research content of the ongoing NSFC project.

ii. The British counterparts should meet the Royal Society's eligibility requirements for applicants from the country.

iii. The Chinese and British applicants should submit their applications to NSFC and RS respectively. Unilateral applications will not be accepted. The guidelines for British applicants are available in details at:

iv. For more detailed descriptions of applicant requirements, please see the NSFC Guide to Programs 2021.

III. Application Restrictions

i. This program is an international (regional) cooperation and exchanges program, and thus is not subject to the regulation dictating "researchers with senior professional positions/titles may apply for and undertake not more than two projects".

ii. It is not subject to the regulation dictating "applicants may only apply for one project of the same category in the same year".

iii. Each applicant as project applicant and project leader may only apply for one of the projects under the NSFC-RS (China-UK) Exchanges Program.

iv. Other restrictions on the number of applications in the NSFC Guide to Programs 2021 apply.

IV. Instructions for Application

i. Notes for applicants

Applications for the Exchanges Program should be filled in online, with specific requirements for applicants as follows:

1. Before filling out the application form, applicants should carefully read the relevant information contained in this guide as well as the NSFC Guide to Programs 2021. Applications that do not meet the criteria contained within the guide and relevant requirements will not be accepted.

2. Applicants must fill out the Application Form for NSFC International (Regional) Cooperation and Exchanges Programs online via the Internet-based Science Information System (ISIS) (, by taking the following steps:

A. Select the "Project Leader" user group to log into the system, then click "Online Application" to enter the application interface. Click the "New Project Application" button to enter the interface and select the division for which the project is being applied. Click "Apply for General Science Division Project" to select the project category.

B. Click the "+" sign on the left side of "International (Regional) Cooperation and Exchanges Programs" or the "Unfold" button on the right side to open the drop-down menu.

C. Click the "Fill out the Application" button on the right side of "Cooperation and Exchange (Inter-organizational Cooperation Agreement Programs)" to proceed to the next page. First click on "Cooperation Agreement", and then select "NSFC-RS (China-UK)" in the drop-down menu. Then, follow the system instructions to enter the approval number of ongoing NSFC projects and visit the specific application form filling interface after passing the eligibility certification.

3. Online submission of attachments. In addition to completing and submitting the Chinese application form online, Chinese applicants must also upload the following materials to the "Attachments" section together with the Chinese application form:

A. Resumes of the British applicant and participants

B. The Exchanges Program Agreement (see the attachment for the sample copy of the agreement). Chinese and British applicants should sign an Exchanges Program Agreement in which they reach a consensus on issues such as the collaboration content, exchanges plan, and intellectual property.

ii. Instructions for completing the Application Form

The English research title, host organizations, and the project leader (by default, the first persons in the "Chinese Researchers Information" column and the "Overseas Program Personnel" column) in the application forms of both parties must be identical.

The "Project Implementation Plan" should include in details the number of visits and visitors, the dates of visits, and the research work to be carried out according to the year of exchanges. Project participants must be project leaders or participants of ongoing NSFC projects (except for cooperation and exchanges projects) with a three-year duration or more that will be completed on or after December 31, 2022.

When filling out the project budget form, only Item 9 (International Cooperation and Exchanges Cost) should be filled in. There are no indirect costs for this program. In the "Budget Statement" section, a detailed budget outlining international travel, accommodation, meals, and inter-city transportation-related costs on a year-by-year basis for the visitors should be prepared in accordance with the "Project Implementation Plan".

iii. Precautions for host organizations

The host organization should review the authenticity, completeness and compliance of the application materials submitted by the applicant, as well as the target relevance, policy compliance and economic rationality of the budget. This program implements a paperless application process. After completing the item-by-item confirmation of the digital version application form and attachments, the host organization should submit the digital version of the documents before the specified deadline for project application. Please upload the project application list through the Internet-based Science Information System. No paper copy is required.

For matters such as submission of organization's commitment to scientific research integrity, please refer to the Notice on Matters Related to the Application and Completion of 2021 Projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

After the proposal is approved, the signed and stamped page of the application form should be attached at the end of the Funding Project Proposal and submitted together. The signed and stamped information must be kept identical to information on the digital version of the application form.

iv. Project application acceptance

The online application and acceptance period of the ISIS system is from August 12, 2021 to 16: 00 on September 29, 2021.

Note: Please fill out the application form in strict accordance with the requirements of the program guidelines. Applications that do not meet the above requirements will be declined. If you have any questions, please call the contact person of the program.

V. Announcement of Proposed Grant Approval Results

Notification of proposed grant approval will be published in February 2022 in the International column on NSFC's website.

VI. Contacts

Contact person (NSFC): Xu Jin

Phone: +86-10-6232 5351


Information system technical support (Information Center): +86-10-6231 7474

Contact person (RS): Lorraine Emmanuel


National Natural Science Foundation of China

Bureau of International Cooperation

August 12, 2021

(Note: Content source is from NCSTI)