Step up!

This fund is now closed and not accepting new applications.

Part of the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme (YHP) Step Up! provides grants of up to US$10,000 to help small, innovative, youth-focused non-profits develop and deliver effective health promotion programmes – with an emphasis on under-resourced and marginalised communities in low- and middle-income countries.

In particular, we wish to ensure the next generation of formal and informal healthcare workers can increase their knowledge of non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors and prevention strategies, and create practical methods to increase equitable access to training, employment and entrepreneurship in NCD prevention.

To further our commitment to gender equity, in 2022 we awarded 50% of grants to projects which are women-led (either one person, or a group of people with the majority being female/identifying as female), with a preference for young women leaders (18-35 years old).

Step Up! Astrazeneca grant

Grant funding

Grants of up to USD $10,000 will be awarded to support the delivery of approximately 20 projects which:

  • strengthen health systems
  • improve equitable access
  • enable the next generation of young healthcare leaders (age 18-35) to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among young people (age 10-30 years)
  • can be completed within a 12 month period, not starting before January 2023

In addition to the funding, Step Up! grantees will be invited to join AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) Alumni Group. This offers learning and development opportunities, as well as networking between Step Up! grantees and young leaders who have received YHP Scholarships.

In the past, Alumni Members have been offered mini-MBA programmes, opportunities to share their work with global audiences, and masterclasses on fundraising and digital skills to build effective health-promotion programmes.


    Who can apply

    The fund is open to registered non-profit or charitable organisations with strong experience of working with young people to increase awareness of NCD risk factors and NCD prevention strategies.

    Organisations must have been registered and operational for at least 3 full years, and have had total reported income in the last financial year of more than USD $50,000 and less than USD $1,000,000.

    Organisations must be ‘funding-ready’ and able to provide appropriate documentation (in English) to verify their organisation’s charitable status, governance and financial situation.

    We will support organisations from under-resourced communities worldwide. These are likely to be in low-income or lower-middle income countries or settings.

    Organisations which have been funded previously by AstraZeneca are welcome to apply, but not for the same project that was previously supported.

    Unfortunately, we will not be able to support every organisation that applies and we will choose those projects which most closely fulfil the priorities listed below.

    Step Up! Priorities

    Step Up! always receives a high number of applications and we are unable to support all eligible organisations which apply.

    In selecting applications, we will prioritise a project if it:

    • aims to prevent NCDs among young people
    • empowers young healthcare leaders to address the primary risk factors – tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and exposure to air pollution - that contribute to NCDs
    • develops the knowledge and capacity of future healthcare leaders (under 35 years old) through NCD prevention education. This might include working with medical students, community health workers, caregivers or young people following a healthcare career pathway.
    • is sustainable (eg can be scaled up or implemented in other communities/settings)
    • is working to improve equitable access for diverse members of the community
    • can show existing partnerships at a local level which will lead to a strengthened local or national health systems
    • is run by an organisation with an income and capacity to deliver a grant of this size
    • is structured to provide evidence of at the conclusion of the project of what has been delivered, outcomes for young people and what has been learned in preventing NCDs

    Our aim is that 50% of funding will be awarded to women-led projects. 

    See FAQs for further details.



      Organisations that
      • are not fully registered as charitable or non-profit
      • are social enterprises
      • were established or registered after 1 January 2019
      • discriminate or primarily promote political or religious viewpoints to their beneficiaries
      • use the funds to make grants or financial donations to other organisations or individuals
      • are unable to supply appropriate documents including charitable registration, governance and financial documents and personal details of trustees/directors


      Projects that
      • are primarily medical courses
      • provide bursaries, tuition, scholarships or fees for an existing course
      • provide treatment, promote medicines, provide medical advice or pay for medicines
      • benefit AstraZeneca’s commercial business
      • last more than 12 months
      • have already taken place or started before January 2023
      • are funded more than 50% by another source, aside from the Step Up! Grant

    Reporting on your project and use of the grant

    If you receive a Step Up! grant, we want to understand what has been achieved during your project and find out more about your innovative approaches to these health challenges. We are interested in both what has gone well and what has not worked. We will ask you to provide:

    • a receipt for the funds received
    • after the end of your project, a detailed report on what you have done, who you have worked with, the difference you have made and what you have learned.

    Frequently asked questions

    • What are the overarching aims of StepUp!

      With Step Up!, AstraZeneca aims to

      -  Have a positive impact on the young people involved in the programmes that we support and the communities that they serve

      -  Learn about what really works in youth health promotion

      -  Increase wider understanding of health and wellbeing initiatives for young people

      And to generate:

      -  Case studies and other evidence of promising approaches

      -  Opportunities for future collaboration and investment

    • Why non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?

      AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) aims to prevent the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and mental ill health. It is doing this by addressing the primary risk factors – tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and exposure to air pollution - that contribute to NCDs.

      NCDs are the number one cause of death worldwide according to the World Health Organisation, and 70% of premature deaths among adults can be linked to behaviour initiated during adolescence. The YHP is aligned to Sustainable Development Goal 3.4: reducing premature deaths linked to NCDs by one third by 2030 and reflects our commitment to communities.

    • What type of projects are you looking for?

      Examples of the types of projects we hope to fund are projects which:

      -  address a lack of awareness of NCD risk factors or NCD prevention strategies among the next generation of young healthcare leaders

      -  improve the quality of NCD education and awareness-raising activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young healthcare providers

      -  provide a platform for young healthcare leaders to grow their knowledge about NCD prevention and NCD risk factors

      -  scale up high quality, effective NCD-prevention awareness activities to be delivered by young healthcare leaders at a national or international level

      -  increase equitable access in under-resourced communities to STEM training with a NCD prevention focus

      -  provide employment and entrepreneurship pathways for young people in the healthcare field, aligned to NCD prevention

      -  work through partnerships (such as with governments, schools, universities, community organisations, corporations, NGOs) to improve employment prospects and career trajectories of young healthcare leaders working in NCD prevention

      These are not exclusive – please feel free to propose other innovative types of solution!

    • What do you mean by a women-led project?

      To further our commitment to gender equity, we wish to ensure our support is provided to both women-led projects and male-led projects. This leadership might be either one person (eg project manager), or a group of people (eg lead team) with the majority as female/identifying as female. Our general focus is on support for young leaders working within healthcare, 18-35 years old.

    • What do you mean by ‘funding ready’?

      Your organisation must be fully constituted and be registered as charitable or non-profit in your country. You should have already delivered effective projects and have systems in place to be able to report on the outcomes of your work. Your organisation must have a bank account which can receive international donations and have a set of annual financial accounts.

      CAF will undertake due diligence on your organisation and therefore you must have all this in place if you are selected. If you are not able to provide the required verification documents and complete the process within 3 months, your grant offer may be withdrawn.

    • What documents must we include within our application?

      You are required to upload your governing document and the annual accounts from your most recent financial year. Further documents for due diligence/verification will be requested if your project is selected for funding.

    • What is a governing document?

      This is likely to vary by country. Your governing document is the document that sets out the rules of your organisation. It could be your constitution, articles of association, bylaws, statutes, trust deed, articles of incorporation, or other legal document explaining the purpose of your organisation and how it works. It must include a charitable dissolution clause (ie, what would happen to your assets if your organisation were to close down).

    • Must our financial accounts be audited?

      It is not necessary to have fully audited financial accounts. We do need to see the annual accounts from your most recent full financial year. This is to assess the size and financial health of your organisation, as well as understand your usual focus of activity.

    • Do I need to apply in English?

      Applications, along with supporting documentation and final reporting, must be in English. Online translation tools can be used as needed to prepare your application and documentation. Please be reassured that your application is not assessed on your English fluency.

    • How will you decide which projects to fund?

      We will shortlist the projects that best meet Step Up! eligibility and priorities. These will then be reviewed by a decision making panel, composed of AstraZeneca employees and expert external partners, who will select projects to be funded. We will tell you whether or not your project has been selected.

    • Which documents must I have for due diligence/verification checks?

      If your project is selected, CAF will then ask you for documentation to complete the due diligence and verification checks. This is to ensure the projects meet legal requirements on international charitable donations. You must complete this stage before funds can be delivered. If this cannot be completed within 3 months, your grant offer may be withdrawn.

      As well as the governing document and annual financial accounts which you presented as part of your application, you will also need to provide:

      -  a transactional bank statement from the last 3 months as proof of your organisation’s bank account

      -  details of all your Trustees/Directors’ full names, residential addresses and dates of birth

      -  other documents required for international charitable donations may be required if needed for your country, for example a certificate of charitable registration or other legally required documents

      Further information may be required in some cases and you will be told of this if your project is shortlisted. Once these checks have been completed, you may find it easier to receive other international donations.

    How your data is used

    If you apply for this grant programme, you will be directed to CAF’s carefully selected service provider (Blackbaud) to enter the details of your grant application. Your data will only be used for the purposes of this programme. CAF and AstraZeneca will act as data controllers in common for the purposes of your data. Please refer to CAF’s privacy policy  and AstraZeneca’s privacy policy for more information on how your data will be used.

    How to contact us

    If you have any questions on the application process, please contact the CAF Grant Making team on +44 (0)3000 123334 or email