The Newton Fund and GCRF

Discovery, design and development of a new website to promote The Newton Fund and GCRF. Creating a visually cohesive and compelling design that maintains the individual identities of both organisations.

Newton Fund (1)

The Newton Fund & the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) are two separate Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding schemes, administered by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Newton Fund & GCRF Website
Homepage Feature

The Brief

The Newton Fund and GCRF develop science and innovation partnerships which promote the economic development and welfare of collaborating countries. 

At the start of 2020, JBi was appointed to lead on the discovery, design and development of an independent website that would represent both funds and sit outside of the domain.

Key Objectives

  • Conduct a thorough Discovery Phase to define the funds’ user and business requirements, before identifying the best possible approach to merging the two websites
  • Combine the two brands while maintaining an element of differentiation, making use of the funds’ strong existing imagery and video content to create a modern look and feel
  • Build the website using a modular approach on WordPress, making it easy to maintain and manage through an intuitive CMS going forward
  • Offer an interactive global map to demonstrate the funds’ international reach
  • Provide and manage a full hosting solution, as well as ongoing website support
  • Fully comply with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards
  • Follow Government Design Principles (GDS) throughout the project
Newton Fund & GCRF Website Mockup
Newton Fund & GCRF
Website Mock Up

Discovery Phase

Due to COVID-19, we ran a fully remote Discovery project during which we interviewed 20 stakeholders from around the world in order to understand their individual objectives and key messages. We also led a series of UX workshops which focused on information architecture and brand messaging.

One of our key challenges during Discovery was the management of a large group of stakeholders, which included multiple partner country representatives (12 in total) and project managers.

We worked flexibly to accommodate logistical differences such as different time zones, using a combination of written statements and user surveys to support language barriers.

A mixture of quantitative and qualitative UX research informed us as we delivered an optimised information architecture as well as a strong overall strategy for the website.

Newton Fund & GCRF Discovery Closure
Newton Fund & GCRF
Discovery Outputs

Combination of Two Brands

Both funds wanted to uphold the independence of their brands on the new website, maintaining elements of differentiation while sitting comfortably under a new, unified umbrella brand. 

Through a series of workshops and collaborative exercises, we established common elements such as colours, fonts and photography for the brands, before using these to develop initial brand concepts, which were presented to the Newton Fund & GCRF’s stakeholders.

Based on the client’s feedback and preferences, we were able to develop a new umbrella brand for the funds and apply it to the website’s look and feel.


“Combining the two funds proved a challenge due to the nature and unique objectives of each brand. Through close collaboration with the client’s stakeholders, we developed a mutual understanding and were able to create a unified colour palette that adheres to both funds, whilst providing a vibrant and much needed uplift to the overall aesthetic of the site.”

Rhys Smitti, Digital Designer at JBi Digital

Newton Fund & GCRF Brand Consolidation
Newton Fund & GCRF
Brand Consolidation

Information Architecture & SEO

The key to this project was to devise a strong, user-focused information architecture that would allow the two brands to sit under the same roof while retaining their key individual elements.

Based on detailed SEO and analytics analysis, we were able to identify the funds’ key content areas and make recommendations as to which content should be kept. These recommendations were made from both the user’s perspective and a search optimisation perspective.

We were then able to create a content plan, mapping out the content that could be migrated to the new website and identifying the content that would need to be recreated from scratch.

Newton Fund & GCRF Sitemap
Newton Fund & GCRF
Top Level Sitemap

Results & Testimonial

The Newton Fund & GCRF provide vital support on an international scale and we are proud to be playing a part in such a key stage of their growth.

The website was launched in October 2020 without issue, and is already bringing results:

  • 150% growth in users and sessions compared to the same period in 2019
  • Higher diversity of traffic, with a significant proportion of international visitors
  • Successful SEO migration, with 600+ pages indexed on Google and a 70% follow through rate from the old Newton Fund website to the new combined website
  • All agreed brand keywords are ranking in the top 5 positions on Google


“The JBi team has done a fantastic job with the new website, which impressively combines our two brands and complies with AA accessibility standards. The website is already bringing results and we have had lots of positive feedback from members of both funds. We would happily recommend JBi to any organisation or group of organisations in need of an industry-leading website.”

Emma Ford, Programme Manager at UK Research and Innovation


If you have a project that you would like to discuss with the JBi team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch through or by calling 0207 043 2510.

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