Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants

Deadline: 2nd of May at 10:00 UTC

Applications are now open for the Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants to fund collaborative work around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Open to professional and academic staff at ACU member universities, the grants focus on the following ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network priority themes:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Research
  • Estates and stewardship
  • Engagement and impact
  • Partnerships

From sourcing energy-saving and clean energy options for Fijian schools, to supporting women’s economic empowerment by addressing the financial literacy and gender-based disparities in access to finance – the grants have been used to fund a diverse range of activities, projects, workshops, and events. Applications could include ideas for:

  • Virtual exchange or collaboration, teaching or professional practice collaboration. Sharing and co-development of learning materials, tools, training and approaches to support contingency and continuity of operations planning at higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • Virtual fellowships, comparative analyses, research management and uptake capacity-building
  • Integrating sustainable development into operations
  • Sharing SDG learning content and materials
  • Developing SDG-focused research strategies
  • Co-creating research for impact, community engagement, and partnerships for the goals


Four grants of GBP 2,500 are available.

Eligibility and Requirements:

If your university has previously received an ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grant, you are not eligible to apply again. Please check our grantees pages below to see if this applies to your university.

To apply, you will need to:

  • Supply an outline of the project and a detailed time plan, including what it will involve and how it will address the Higher Education and the SDGs Network’s themes. The project time plan is requested for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
  • Submit a letter of support from your university’s executive head (or equivalent), or another senior member of your institution, to demonstrate their support for the programme of work proposed and the ways they will provide support for your project. The letter should also act as a reference for the project lead.
  • Attach the project lead’s CV.

Before submitting your application, we encourage you to read the application guidance for ACU Challenge Grants.

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with others – whether that is with member universities to promote further Commonwealth partnerships, or other organisations such as local governments. This will be looked on favourably, but it is not essential.

Grant applications that allow matching or additional funds from the applicant’s institution are looked on favourably, but this is not essential.

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Project goals and feasibility
  • Impact and outputs
  • Experience and skills of the project lead and institution support
  • Alignment with the themes of the ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network
  • Collaboration

Reporting and sharing of outputs

Grantees are required to submit a short interim update halfway through their project and a comprehensive final report within one month of completing their project.

Additionally, any outputs developed through the grants (e.g., toolkits or papers) should be made available to be shared with the Higher Education and the SDGs Network, in order to increase impact.


If you already have a MyACU account, you can access the grant application form

If you do not already have a MyACU account, please ensure that you first register for an account  and then follow the instructions in the registration email to log in to the system before accessing the application form.

Click here to apply 

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