Office of Global Affairs

Global Innovation Fund

Grid by Grid in Puerto Rico

Months after Hurricane Maria, thousands still lacked electricity. With local communities, UW researchers worked to restore power, supported by the Clean Energy Institute and the Global Innovation Fund.

Grand Challenges Impact Lab (GCIL) tackles real-world problems

Established through the Global Innovation Fund, GCIL empowers students to take learning out of the classroom and engineer solutions.

Since 2014, the Office of Global Affairs has been advancing interdisciplinarity through the Global Innovation Fund. It supports transformative cross-college, cross-continent research collaborations and global Husky Experiences. Examples include:

  • Planning and development of new study abroad programming for students
  • Enhancing existing faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Research collaborations
  • Faculty and student collaborations
  • Cross-college and interdisciplinary conferences, symposia, and workshops
  • Distinguished scholar support
  • Faculty exchanges

Funding is awarded up to $20,000 per application. Awards cannot support programs long-term, and applications for program support will not be considered for more than two consecutive years.

For questions about the Global Innovation Fund, email


  • UW faculty members, research scientists, and non-faculty researchers from the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses are encouraged to apply.
  • UW-affiliated faculty based at Seattle Children’s Research Institute are also eligible.
  • Study abroad programs must be confirmed and administered by UW Study Abroad Seattle.

Application process and timeline

Applications are accepted each fall.

Application deadline November 1, 2019
Awards announced Mid-December 2019
Award use period January 1, 2020 – February 14, 2021
Reports & budget reconciliations due No later than March 13, 2021
Unused funds returned to OGA No later than March 30, 2021

Requests for funding may be considered outside of the regular award cycle for exceptional innovative proposals. Email to learn more.

To apply:

  1. Download the appropriate application form:
  2. Save all application materials as a single PDF. Please ask your department administrator if you need help combining multiple files into one PDF.
  3. Title the .pdf as follows:  LeadApplicantLastName_GIF_2019.pdf (for example: Mendoza_GIF_2019.pdf)
  4. Submit completed application via email to

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Funding priorities

Limited award funds are awarded via a competitive process. The most competitive applications will include:

  • Cross-college, cross-discipline, and multi-country collaboration
  • Proof of concept with clear outcomes
  • Sustainable funding models after the GIF award
  • Development and submission of a collaborative proposal for external funding
  • Development and submission of a collaborative scholarly publication
  • Development of new collaborative curricular programs (degree programs, courses, faculty exchanges)
  • Increased engagement in regions of the world where the UW already has academic partnerships and collaborative activities. Funding will also be prioritized for projects taking place in Kenya with UW partners.

Applications aligned with one or more of UW’s strategic initiatives receive higher priority:

Funding priorities for study abroad programming include:

  • New programs proposed by collaborating faculty (multiple potential program directors) with strong departmental support and a plan to run for at least 5 years
  • Programs that provide opportunities for a critical mass of students new to study abroad (i.e. priority will be given to programs designed for 20 students or more)
  • Innovations in curriculum
  • Facilitating research, service, and/or internship opportunities for students
  • Engagement with partner faculty, students, and/or institutions
  • Quarter-long programs, especially those offered winter quarter
  • Programs offering courses that satisfy UW general education requirements (especially composition and/or writing credits) in addition to major degree requirements

Award funds

Funding will be awarded up to $20,000, though most awards are much smaller. Awards can cover up to 75% of the total program cost, with a 25% minimum cost-share. Applications may be awarded at a lower amount than requested.

Funds may be used toward:

  • Academic student employees, postdoctoral fellows, and student workers
  • Travel expenses, such as lodging, airfare, per diems, and transportation, not to exceed $5,000 per traveler
  • Marketing supplies
  • Contracted services abroad
  • Honoraria
  • Other program-related or curriculum-related expenses (i.e. space reservation, cultural excursions)

Funds may not be used to support:

  • The purchase of alcohol
  • Faculty or staff salaries
  • Dissertation research
  • Technical equipment

Departmental support and matching funds

All applicants must have the support of their college, school, or department. Departmental endorsement in the application process and/or cost-sharing demonstrates their support.

There is a 25% minimum cost share of the total project cost for all applications. Matching funds can come from:

  • Lead and co-applicant departmental cost share
  • Other confirmed grant funding
  • External collaborator cost share will be considered (i.e. partner organization abroad)

Applicants proposing a study abroad program are eligible to substitute salary as in-kind support if it is not used in the program budget.

Award disbursal and post-award reporting

Depending on the project, award funds may be disbursed to the lead applicant’s department, the UW Study Abroad program account, or both.

  • For awards disbursed to departments, budgets must accept revenue transfers.
  • For awards disbursed to study abroad program budgets, award funds can only balance the deficit; any excess will be returned.
  • Unused funds must be returned to OGA.

At the end of the award use period, awardees are required to submit the following materials to OGA at

  1. Brief narrative report
  2. Describe the project, outcomes, and next steps
  3. Outlines use and impact of funds
  4. We do not require any specific format.
  5. Budget report reflecting actual expenditures. (You can update the budget submitted with your application).

Please mention the Global Innovation Fund in any communications or news related to your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

    • Are there any other available funding sources?

Royalty Research Fund (RFF) – Office of Research
Pilot Research Grants – Population Health Initiative
EarthLab Innovation Grants

    • I applied last year. Am I still eligible to apply again for a different project?


    • I was awarded last year and the project is going well, but I’m hoping to expand it even further. Am I allowed to apply for GIF funding again even though it’s the same project?

Even though this is part of the same project, we will consider proposals that are trying to improve the project in a different way that was not possible with your original award funds.

    • Do I need signatures or letters of support from international or non-UW partners?

No, support letters or signatures from international/non-UW partners are not required. However, if you already have them, please feel free to attach them with your application.

    • I am a postdoc researcher. Am I able to use some of my research funds toward the GIF project for the cost share?

That will be considered. Please include a signature from the department chair verifying that they are okay with you using your research funds toward this project.

    • I understand that salary is not an allowable expense under GIF guidelines, but would faculty replacement be okay? I’m proposing a study abroad program and the department would need to secure a replacement for that term.

Since this is an additional cost on your department for a faculty replacement, we will consider that.

    • I am not having success in securing funds from my department. Is it okay if the cost-share is 0%?

We ask that departments cost share at least 25% of the total project cost. We encourage you work with your department in finding other ways to provide funding. Keep in mind that contributions from collaborating units on your project can also count toward the cost share.

    • I’m proposing a study abroad project. Do the student fees count toward the cost share?

No. The GIF is meant to be for an additional cost from extra programming or opportunities that will expand your study abroad program.

    • The website says “funding will be awarded up to $20,000” and that it will cover 75% of the project. Does that mean we will only be awarded a max of $15,000 (75% of $20,000)? How much can the total cost a project be?

The maximum amount that GIF will provide toward a project is $20,000. The total cost of a project can exceed that value, so long as the remaining costs are covered and there is at least 25% cost share. For example, a project can cost $26,666 and GIF will provide no more than 75%, or $20,000.

    • My project does not take place abroad, but aligns with some of the funding priorities. Am I still eligible?

A funded project typically involves partners and/or programming that are outside of the US that enhances the UW’s global engagement and reach. Given that, the review committee would look closely at your project’s connection to larger global phenomena.