GlobalSeaweedSTAR Research & Innovation Fund
-Open for Applications-

-Deadline for Applications – 13 December 2019-

.............Deadline for Applications.............

GCRF GlobalSeaweedSTAR (GS-STAR) is a four year, multidisciplinary programme with a vision to grow the research and innovation capacity of DAC-list countries engaged in seaweed farming for long-term sustainable growth. This programme is supported by UK Research and Innovation – Global Challenge Research Fund to the value of £6.2 million.

The programme is led by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and is already in partnership with institutions in the UK, Philippines, Malaysia and Tanzania, but we want to work with as many other institutions and seaweed producing DAC-list countries as possible.

The GS-STAR Fund will provide £200k in Travel Grants (up to £2k each) and £700k in Research and Innovation grants (from £5k to £50k).

It is envisaged that the GS-STAR Fund will enable rapid reactivity to emerging crises in the seaweed industry and foster further international cooperation between researchers and practitioners in this field to promote the sustainable growth of the global seaweed industry.

The GS-STAR Research and Innovation Fund also aims to establish links beyond the level of the individual researcher and innovation practitioner, opening up opportunities for sustainable, solution-oriented research and innovation collaborations between academic groups as well as with the private and third sector.

Research & Innovation Grants

The GS-STAR Research and Innovation Grants will provide funding from £5k up to a maximum of £50k to applicants from the UK and DAC-list countries. These grants will be awarded quarterly between July 2018 – July 2021 (subject to availability of funds) and will provide funding for successful proposals that;

• Directly relate to the objectives of the GlobalSeaweedSTAR programme

• Promote challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research.

• Strengthen capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange between the UK and developing countries through partnerships.

• Provide an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

• Any other capacity-building activities that would be broadly aimed at increasing the sustainability of seaweed cultivation in DAC-listed countries, especially along the priority areas identified in the UNU-INWEH/ SAMS Policy Brief.

The GS-STAR Fund is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the global seaweed industry allowing applicants to establish collaborations and to bring in relevant private and third sector partners, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other not-for-profit organisations.



Who can apply?

Applicants must fulfill the following criteria in order to be eligible for funding through the GS-STAR Fund:

  • Professionals (either academics or practitioners) or registered postgraduate students based in the UK or DAC List countries.
  • Actively involved in, or planning to enter, a seaweed-related professional activity (i.e. biological, ecological or socio-economic), which is related to the objectives of the GCRF GS-STAR Programme and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Applicants may only submit one application per funding call.

Applicants that have previously received a GS-STAR Grant are eligible to apply provided all reporting requirements have been fulfilled.

The main applicant can be of any nationality, provided they work either in the UK, or in a DAC-listed country. Co-applicants, if any, can be of any nationality and based in any country

If you do not meet the conditions above, but think you may be eligible, please contact the Fund Manager before developing your application (

Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliance

All applications must clearly show ODA compliance, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate how the research project or activity proposed will meet the criteria.

For full details on ODA compliance please see Applicant Guidelines.

Project Duration

The maximum duration of the proposed project is 12 months. A decision regarding funding can be expected within 12 weeks, so please bear this in mind when considering the project start date, as funding will not be backdated. In addition, the GS-STAR Fund will not allow expenditure incurred before the announcement date of the award to be charged to the grant.

Eligible costs

Bespoke training to develop capacity and capability at all career levels (e.g., technicians, technologists, doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, early and mid-career researchers etc.)

  • Development of professional and transferable skills as well as technical and core skills
  • Hiring and retention of key staff in the UK and overseas (including research leaders in developing countries as co-investigators)

Research funding to address development challenges, supporting:

  • Research staff based in the UK and overseas for collaborative research projects
  • Feasibility, scoping, exploratory, proof of concept studies
  • Sandpits and ideas creation events

Partnership building funding, supporting:

  • Seminars and workshops to enhance and build partnerships and collaborations
  • Secondment/movement of people between UK and overseas research organisations or between research organisations and Industry/3rd sector/Government.

Operational funding, supporting:

  • Support costs ,e.g., programme/research managers, administrative support
  • Communications and public engagement
  • Monitoring and impact evaluation costs

Funding for new PhD studentships is not eligible as part of the GS-STAR Fund although funds may be used to fund research and travel costs for students supported through existing routes. PhD students may apply for small equipment and consumables where appropriate as long as individual items are below £10,000.

For full details on Eligible and Ineligible Costs please see Applicant Guidelines.

Please contact the Fund Manager ( if you are in doubt which costs GS-STAR Research and Innovation Grants can and cannot cover.

Ethics and research governance

It is essential that all legal and professional codes of practice are followed in conducting work supported by the GS-STAR Fund. Applicants must ensure the proposed activity will be carried out to the highest standards of ethics and research integrity.

In the online application form, applicants must clearly articulate how any potential ethical and health and safety issues have been considered and how they will be addressed, ensuring that all necessary ethical approval is in place before the project commences.

Please refer to the Research Councils UK ‘Policy and Guidelines on Governance of good Research Conduct’ or contact us at should you require further guidance.


The GS-STAR Fund is committed to equal opportunities and diversity in all our activities. This includes avoidance of bias due to gender, disability, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or religious belief. Applicants are therefore encouraged to include participation by researchers from under-represented groups in the teams from under-represented groups in the teams implementing their proposed research.

Without prejudice to excellence, the GS-STAR Fund will seek to achieve a balanced gender and geographical diversity amongst successful applicants.

Selection process and due diligence

Selection begins with an eligibility check by the Fund Manager against the eligibility criteria given in these guidelines.

Eligible proposals then undergo independent external review on the basis of quality, fit to UNU-INWEH/SAMS policy brief, UN SDGs and ODA compliance, value for money and pathway to impact.

Proposals are quality assessed by external independent reviewers against the criteria detailed in the Applicant Guidelines (Appendix 1), resulting in a total score between 0 and 20. Those receiving a final score from the panel of less than 10, or that score 0 against any one of the four evaluation criterion, will be considered not fundable. However, achieving an average score equal to or above the threshold does not mean the proposal will be funded. The GlobalSeaweedSTAR Executive Board will draw a list of projects recommended for funding, considering country and project-specific priorities, challenge areas and perceived risks.

SAMS, as the institution operating the GS-STAR Fund, bears ultimate responsibility for the responsible use of grant funds. Following peer-review, the top-scoring proposals will therefore be subjected by the Fund Manager to thorough due diligence checks. In line with UKRI guidance, applicants and/or institutions likely to receive funding will be required to comply with the terms set out in the GS-STAR due diligence guidelines available to download below.

SAMS reserves the right to deny funding to any proposal that is perceived as too risky following due diligence.

Successful applicants can expect an initial decision on funding within 6 weeks after the call deadline. Projects recommended for funding will then be subjected by the Fund Manager to thorough due diligence checks lasting 6 weeks. Therefore, please keep this in mind when determining the project start date.

Data Protection

How we use your information

The GS-STAR Fund will use the information that you are providing for the purposes of processing your application, making any awards, monitoring and review of any award.

We will share any necessary data on your application with our funders (UKRI), the GlobalSeaweedSTAR Executive & Advisory Board and the external review panel in order to assist on management of the application process; any decision of grants will be made in collaboration with them.

Applicant and/or Organisation details will be held by the GlobalSeaweedSTAR Fund for monitoring and evaluation, reporting and statistical purposes for the reporting period of the programme.

In line with European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) no personal information will be stored beyond the reporting period of the GS-STAR programme.

.............Deadline for Applications.............
How to apply

The deadline for submission of a completed application including all supporting documentation is 13 December 2019. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding.

Applicants must submit a completed application form.

In addition to filling in the application form, applicants are required to upload the following documents as described, by the deadline:

• Applicants’ CV (up to two sides of A4 each)

• Detailed project budget on template available to download

• Letters of support in English on headed paper, signed by the Head of Institution, Head of Department or other person with appropriate delegated authority, expressing specific commitment to the proposed project, willingness to receive funding and why the experience and capability of the applicant is particularly suited to the project content.

All applications must be completed in English.

By submitting an application, the applicants agree to comply with all reporting procedures set out in the applicant guidelines.

Applications and supporting documentation should be submitted to