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Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a 5-year £1.5Bn fund and a key component in the delivery of the UK Aid Strategy: tackling global challenges in the national interest. The fund aims to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems 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.

The Global Challenges Research Fund is an initiative led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which operates across a number of delivery partners, including the UK Research Councils, UK Higher Education Funding bodies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.

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:

  • Professor Andrew Thompson – GCRF Champion
  • Dr Mark Claydon-Smith – GCRF Programme Manager
  • Dr Robert Felstead - Senior Policy Manager GCRF
  • Ms Eloise Meller - Senior Policy Manager GCRF
  • Dr Alexandra Spittle – Senior Policy Manager GCRF
  • Dr Sian Rowland – Senior Policy Manager GCRF
  • Ms Rebecca Tanner – Senior GCRF Analyst

Please direct all enquiries to

Open Calls

Call title Council Closing date
Interdisciplinary Research Hubs to Address Intractable Challenges Faced by Developing Countries  RCUK  29 September 2017 
Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund BBSRC 28 September 2017
Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries  EPSRC 21 September 2017
Institutional "pump-priming" awards to develop new opportunities in Global Nutrition and Health Research  MRC  14 September 2017 
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

Information on previous calls can be found here.

Recent Announcements

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

Global issues from health to humanitarian crises to be tackled in ambitious research programme 21/07/2017
Pre-announcement:  mental health, education and skills, decent work and transitions towards sustainable and inclusive societies. 04/08/2017
Pre-announcement: Sustainable Agriculture for Sub-Saharan Africa (SASSA) (Opens 4 September 2017) 25/07/2017
Sustainable Development Goal Interactions: The role of environmental science (4-5 September 2017) 25/07/2017
The UK Strategy for the Global Challenges Research Fund is now published 04/06/2017
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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