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Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through:

  • challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

GCRF is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies. 

GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA-funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. GCRF funding will be awarded in a manner that fits with Official ODA guidelines.

When assessing whether an activity is eligible as ODA or not, delivery partners consider whether projects and programmes satisfy OECD criteria on eligibility by whether or not they:

  • aim to promote the welfare and economic development of a country or countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients
  • are designed to address a development need, and
  • focus on developing country problems.

The GCRF delivery partners have prepared some additional guidance on ODA . Any applications to the GCRF will need to comply with these guidelines.

The project is currently being led by:

  • Dr Mark Claydon-Smith - GCRF Programme Manager, RCUK Executive Directorate
  • Professor Andrew Thompson – GCRF Champion
  • Dr Robert Felstead - Senior Policy Manager GCRF
  • Eloise Meller - Senior Policy Manager GCRF

Please direct all enquiries to

Open Calls

Call title Council Closing date
Institutional "pump-priming" awards to develop new opportunities in Global Mental Health Research MRC 14 September 2017 
STFC Global Challenge Research Fund Foundation Awards STFC 5 September 2017
Innovation Follow-on Call: Enabling innovation in the UK and developing countries NERC 12 July 2017
Antimicrobial Resistance in a Global Context – A Cross-Council call in partnership with the Department of Health All 11 July 2017

Information on previous calls can be found here.

Recent Announcements

Call announcements and other information related to GCRF funding can be found below:

Second GCRF Collective Fund call will be launched in late summer 2017 21/04/2017
Two new ESRC centres to help world's poorest and vulnerable 20/04/2017
ESRC GCRF Postdoctoral Fellowships call 20/04/2017
Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) highlight 16/03/2017
Research councils lay foundations for ambitious new global health research programmes 15/12/2016
Projects announced under the ESRC GCRF Strategic Networks call  16/12/2016
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