Who are we looking for?

The programme invites individuals from Newton Fund partner countries with an engineering-based innovation and an interest in entrepreneurship to apply for the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships. We are looking for engineers and researchers who have technologies that will have a positive social or economic impact, and would benefit from the training and support that LIF has to offer.

We are not looking for expert entrepreneurs, who already have extensive experience running a start-up. The LIF programme is designed for people who are beginning to explore commercialisation, to foster their entrepreneurial potential and support them in bridging the gap between engineering and business. 

LIF participants are jointly selected by the Academy and our in-country partner organisations on the basis of:

  • Their potential as entrepreneurs
  • The excellence of their research
  • The potential of their innovation
  • The social and economic benefits of their innovation


How to apply

The LIF programme is delivered in partnership with organisations in each country, and there may be specific eligibility criteria for applicants from different countries. For information about applications from your country, please contact your in-country partner respresentative: 

Brazil FAPESP (Sao Paolo), CERTI (Sanata Catarina)
China Chinese Academy of Engineering 
Colombia Ruta-N
Egypt Science and Technology Development Fund
India CIIE
Indonesia Ristekdikti
Kenya Kenya National Innovation Agency
Malaysia Malaysian Industry-Government group for High Technology
Mexico Secretaría de Economía
Philippines Department of Science and Technology
South Africa Technology Innovation Agency

All applications must be submitted via the online Grant Management System, available here:

Application Portal

The application form has five sections to complete. A CV is required as supporting documentation. Please see the attached guidance notes.

Applicant Guidance Notes (571.00 KB)

For Egyptian candidates only: please apply here:

SDTF site

Please apply on the STDF website here.

Applications currently open

Kenya Deadline: 27/09/2019
Turkey Deadline: 22/10/2019
South Africa Deadline: 22/10/2019
Indonesia Deadline: 04/11/2019
Malaysia Deadline: 04/11/2019


Eligibility Criteria

Through their research, applicants must have developed (or co-developed), or be in the process of developing (or co-developing) a new technological innovation. Applicants should have the ambition to take a leading role in creating a new business to commercialise this innovation.

Specific eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Applicants must be a citizen in or resident of one of the LIF programme’s Newton Fund partner countries
  • Applicants must be in the process of developing a business proposition of their innovation. Projects at the basic research stage are not supported through the current programme
  • The applicant’s innovation can be any new product, technology or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields, including – but not limited to:
    • Agricultural technology
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical engineering
    • Civil engineering
    • Computer science
    • Design engineering
    • Electrical and electronic engineering
    • Materials science
    • Mechanical engineering
    • Medical engineering
  • The innovation should have the potential to benefit the applicant’s country, or other developing countries, in terms of improving social welfare and driving economic growth, and they should contribute one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The primary application of the innovation must NOT be in the defense or military sector

Note that previous experience of commercialisation or involvement with technology transfer is not required.

Please note that the residential programme will be conducted entirely in English, and candidates will need to demonstrate a good level of English in order to participate.