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Global Challenge Research Fund Challenge Leaders

GCRF Challenge Leaders provide strong, intellectual and strategic leadership for each strategic research portfolio and to strengthen coordination across multiple delivery partners.

The following six strategic GCRF Challenge portfolios, aligned with the UN Strategic Development Goals (SDGs), will be developed by Challenge Leaders on behalf of the Delivery Partners across the whole GCRF programme. We are seeking to appoint the equivalent of a full time Challenge Leader for each of the following portfolios:

  • Global Health
  • Food Systems
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement (50% position only)
  • Education
  • Resilience to Environmental Shocks and Change (please note this position has been filled)

Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure (50% position only)

Purpose of the post and key responsibilities:

GCRF Challenge Leaders will be responsible for the building and success of individual Challenge portfolios, and together collectively responsible for maximising the portfolios’ overall research excellence and real-world impact. They will draw on the knowledge and experience of the GCRF Strategic Advisory Group  as well as the various GCRF groups in the Research Councils and Academies.

Challenge Leaders will:

  • promote focus, consolidation, integration and partnership for impact – working within and across portfolios
  • build strong and mutual relationships with key academic leaders, including PIs for GCRF Hubs, Growing Capability and Foundation projects
  • play a key role in shaping future investment, by helping to scope future call(s) for proposals and through active encouragement of innovative/interdisciplinary approaches
  • work with governments, development agencies, NGOs, CSOs, and other national and multilateral organisations to create and utilise pathways to deliver real-world impact, especially with regard to the most intractable development challenges
  • draw out potential impacts (new products, practice and policy influence) through networking investments, working with DFID officers and/or other “in-country” development actors
  • bring back intelligence to UKRI relevant to future GCRF strategy, based on these outcomes and interactions
  • promote a positive vision for the GCRF to Government, public and other stakeholders; develop a strong GCRF narrative.

They will be charged with maximising the coherence and impact of each portfolio, by  working with the relevant Research Councils, other Delivery Partners and to seek opportunities beyond GCRF, through alignment/integration with the ODA portfolios (for example the Newton Fund) across UK Government and with other funders. They will strengthen international engagement and promote high-level dialogue with a wide range of international development funders, actors and agencies. They will work closely with the GCRF Hubs and other strategic investments as they come on stream, to ensure a close match between new insights emerging from GCRF researchers and the strategic needs and ambitions of development partners as framed by the SDGs.

We are currently advertising for the second round of Challenge Leaders, more information on the vacancy, including the key job requirements and how to apply please visit:

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