Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)


2020 Deadlines

UMass lead pre-proposals - September 11, 2020
UMass collaboration proposals – October 9, 2020

Proposals are due by 1:00pm

Guidelines and application materials for WUN Research Development Fund 2020 are available in a Box folder accessible here

Presentation from the info session on the WUN Research Development Fund 2020 is available here.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been an active member of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) since 2015. The WUN is a global higher education and research network of 23 universities engaged in over 100 active research initiatives, and involving more than 2,300 researchers and students on a diverse range of collaborative projects which address some of the world’s most urgent challenges. WUN is committed to investing in research that makes a difference to the world. We bring the researchers and resources of our world leading member universities together to develop solutions that no one university or nation can solve alone. Our international, interdisciplinary research teams are collaborating with universities, research centres, civil society, government and industry to solve some of societies most vexing concerns. More information about WUN can be found in the Strategic Plan and Annual Reports available here.

WUN's Global Challenges are four identified research themes where WUN has particular capacity to develop solutions to issues of significant global concern. They form the key research pillars of WUN and are: Responding to Climate Change, Understanding Cultures, Public Health: Non-Communicable Diseases, and Global Higher Education and Research. In addition, a Special Interest Group on Global Africa draws together individuals with a common interest that crosses the Global Challenges.


WUN Research Development Fund 2020 Theme: Sustainable Recovery

As the world approaches investment in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing attention is being paid to doing this in ways that will be sustainable, which is aligned with WUN’s strategic goals and focus on sustainable development. This presents the network with a unique opportunity to initiate projects that anticipate the major investments that will be made over the coming years, and enlarge the impact and global recognition of WUN.  Following discussion within and among the Global Challenge Steering Groups, the RDF 2020 theme is Sustainable Recovery. Proposals are encouraged that address this within the context of one or more of these six United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Affordable and Clean Energy, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Climate Action.

The WUN RDF provides grants of up to £10,000 ($12,600) for one year to foster research collaborations among academic staff (faculty) at WUN member universities. Grants are intended to help stimulate larger collaborative projects that will strengthen WUN and make the collaborating partners competitive for major awards. It is an annual competitive fund aimed at bringing together researchers to undertake innovative, high quality, sustainable research in specific areas within the theme of Sustainable Recovery. The RDF is intended as launch support. Funds may cover the costs of such activities as exploratory research initiatives, planning workshops, the formation of collaborative networks, and engagement with students via guest lectures or master classes.  Eight UMass Amherst faculty have received WUN awards and eleven have been collaborators on WUN projects led by other WUN member universities.


Link to WUN Research Development Fund (RDF) website


UMass Amherst-Led Awarded Projects 2019

  • Establishing the Low Carbon Energy Transition in a Changing Climate Network
    UMass Amherst Team: PI, Rob DeConto (Geosciences, School of Earth & Sustainability); Co-PI, Matthew Lackner (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering); Co-PI, Elisabeth Hamin Infield (Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning); Collaborators: Sanjay Arwade, (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Ray Bradley (Geosciences)
    WUN Partner Universities: University of Bergen, University of Bristol, The University of Sydney, Zhejiang University
    Non-WUN Partner Universities: University of the Virgin Islands, Imperial College, University of Edinburgh
  • Legal Cultures and New Regional Policies towards Forced Migrants
    UMass Amherst Team: PI, David Mednicoff (Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, Public Policy); Co-PI, Rebecca Hamlin (Legal Studies, Political Science)
    WUN Partner Universities: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Leeds, The University of Western Australia
    Non-WUN Partner Universities: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Hamad Bin Khalifa University,

UMass Amherst Collaboration Awarded Projects 2019

  • Addressing the impact of heatwaves and drought on food security
    UMass Amherst Collaborator: Om Pakash Dhankher (Stockbridge School of Agriculture)
    WUN Lead University: University of Leeds
  • Climate-Induced Migration: Global Scope, Regional Impacts and National Policy Frameworks
    UMass Amherst Collaborator: Elizabeth Brabec (Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning)
    WUN Lead University: The University of Auckland
  • !Gâ re – Rangatiranga – Dadirri : Decolonizing the 'capture of knowledge'
    UMass Amherst Collaborator: Sonya Atalay (Anthropology)
    WUN Lead University: University of Cape Town
  • Gendering Migration: Women and Girls Experiences of Gender-based discrimination, abuse and violence across migratory stages
    UMass Amherst Collaborator: Elizabeth Brabec (Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning)
    WUN Lead University: Maastricht University
  • Mental Health Impact and Access to Health and Social Care Services for Women Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
    UMass Amherst Collaborator: Lisa Fontes (University Without Walls)
    WUN Lead University: The University of Sheffield

See all 2019 Research Development Fund awards

See all UMass Amherst Research Development Fund awards since 2015

UMass Amherst Representatives in the WUN

  • WUN Partnership Board: John McCarthy, Provost & Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • WUN Academic Advisory Group: Martina Nieswandt, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement
  • WUN Coordinator Group: Loren Walker, Director, Research Development
  • Global Higher Education and Research Steering Group: TBD
  • Public Health Steering Group: Elena Carbone, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Nutrition
  • Understanding Cultures Steering Group: Elizabeth Brabec, Director, Center for Heritage and Society and Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
  • Responding to Climate Change Steering Group: Om Parkash, Associate Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture
  • WUN Global Africa Group: Léonce Ndikumana, Professor, Department of Economics

WUN Links

For more information contact:

Loren Walker, WUN Coordinator for UMass Amherst
+1-413-577-3725 (ofc)

Mary K. Green, Research Development Associate
+1-413-545-8641 (ofc)