Funding opportunities

Details of current funding opportunities for research projects are available below.

Networking, Impact & Collaboration Enrichment (NICE)

We invite academic staff across all faculties at The University of Manchester to apply for Networking, Impact & Collaboration Enrichment (NICE) contributions of up to £2,000 for projects with a focus on China.

We expect to contribute to the costs of networking and knowledge exchange events led by the successful applicant. Please note that we cannot contribute to the costs of research and research support or assistance.

Supported projects will be of international and interdisciplinary nature, and of interest to academic and non-academic audiences alike.

Although this is an open call, we expect projects to demonstrate engagement and clear links with the Manchester 2020 Strategic Plan and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda and its Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, we also welcome proposals for projects that critically explore the Chinese Government's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its various implications.

We operate two application rounds per year with the following deadlines:

  • 29 February (for activities taking place before 31 July);
  • 15 July (for activities taking place after 1 August).

To apply, please download and complete the application form (Word, 328KB), and email this to with 'Networking, Impact & Collaboration Enrichment (NICE) application' as the subject before 5pm on the day of the deadline.

Please note:

  • supported activities should be based in Manchester and all marketing and publicity material must acknowledge the contribution provided by the Confucius Institute;
  • successful applicants will deliver a project report one month after the project end date and further agree to deliver a public talk about their research as part of the Confucius Institute public talk series.

If you wish to discuss your project informally, please contact the Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr Deljana Iossifova (, in the first instance.

You can read about previous projects supported by the NICE fund below.

2018 projects

Transnational Higher Education and the Belt and Road Initiative

  • Dr Miguel Antonio Lim (Manchester Institute of Education, School of Environment, Education and Development)

This project involves the organisation of a one-day conference to discuss transnational education (TNE) - with a focus on higher education - in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The conference is aimed at early career researchers and meant to stimulate discussion on the BRI and TNE. The conference focus is on cultural, scientific and educational diplomacy.

Properties of Water at Molecular Scale

This project facilitates close collaboration between The University of Manchester and Peking University on the study of water and various water solutions in nanometre-size channels through a bilateral UK-China workshop, Properties of Water at Molecular Scale (Manchester 2-4 July, 2018).

The fundamental science in the focus of this project is critical for developing the new generation of filtering membranes applicable to water desalination and water purification.

The two institutions have recently developed complementary methods for the studies of water in nano-channels and, in more generic terms, at the atomic scale.

Visitors will be shown the National Graphene Institute's facilities and introduced to the adopted research processes, so that the teams of the two partner institutions, together with broader UK and Chinese research communities invited to the meeting, will be able to make practical arrangements for their collaboration for the next five years.

Prefabricated Modular Systems for Rapid Urbanisation and Post-Disaster Housing Settlement in China

  • Dr Meini Su (School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

This project studies the design of prefabricated modular systems by considering the sustainability of the design, comfort of the living conditions and application of local materials.

The project will propose new design concepts, improve related standards and regulations and promote sound building technology.

A workshop on prefabricated modular systems will provide an exclusive platform to bring together government representatives, construction companies, engineering associations, students and academics to explore development and innovation in modular design and construction.

It will establish a research team/network and serve as a kick-off meeting for the proposed research topic.

An Exploration of the Factors Informing a Fashion Design Strategy for the Female Ageing Population in China

  • Minzhi Zhang (Department of Fashion, Design and Business, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

This project investigates the relationship between fashion and ageing with a focus on China, developing guidelines for fashion design targeted towards an ageing female Chinese population.

The project aims at building connections between fashion companies/manufactures in China and the Department of Fashion, Design and Business at The University of Manchester.

The work will support Chinese fashion companies in adapting their products to an ageing economy and to expand their business models into globalised strategies.

A workshop around 'fashion and ageing Chinese' organised in collaboration with the UK-Tsinghua University Alumni Association in London or in Manchester will include the participation of older Chinese-origin UK residents, academic researchers in the field of ageing and apparel business owners in China.

UK-China Pharmacy Capacity Building Partnership Workshop

  • Dr Li-Chia Chen (Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health)

This workshop is a networking event that aims to consolidate the collaborations between The University of Manchester and top Chinese higher education and healthcare institutions to further develop pharmacist capacity projects in China.

The objectives include:

  • identifying the priority pharmacy practice research areas/topics to initiate the collaboration;
  • matching research interests and expertise between academics at Manchester and collaborating institutions;
  • developing the strategies for obtaining resources to sustain collaborative projects;
  • agreeing the teaching and training programmes that Manchester will offer to facilitate research development.

IPCITI 2018 - The International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting

  • Chonglong Gu (Translation and Intercultural Studies, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures)

The IPCITI Conference (26-27 October 2018) is designed to provide new researchers from all areas of translation and interpreting studies with the opportunity to share their research with peers in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment.

It aims to promote greater participation in translation and interpreting research by addressing salient issues in the field.

It brings together researchers from various backgrounds and features the active participation of Chinese doctoral students, scholars and academic visitors.

The psychological wellbeing of Chinese students within the intercultural context of Manchester

  • Tiffany Wing Sum Leung (Counselling Psychology, School of Environment, Education and Development)

Responding to the Chinese government's Belt and Road Initiative, in which 65 countries are invited to reflect upon how they can contribute to the region's global connectivity, the project aims to act as an initial interdisciplinary platform to look in more depth at psychological wellbeing as intercultural collaborations emerge.

In particular, the project will specifically focus in upon the experiences of students travelling to study in Manchester.

A networking event will be developed following the world café discussion forum structure. This is a method for facilitating open and respectful conversations between different groups of individuals.

In addition to providing a space for individuals to network, it will focus upon:

  • exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with providing Chinese international students with psychological support;
  • considering what priorities individuals in the group may have going forward.

This latter point will explicitly consider any research partnerships that may be pursued in the future.