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Interdisciplinary Research Hubs Partners

Information on GCRF International Research Hub collaborative opportunities will be posted here as they are received. 

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GCRF Livestock Health for Poverty Alleviation Hub

Principal Investigator: Prof Eric Morgan
Contact: Prof Eric Morgan, 
Countries focussed on: Southern Africa, SE Asia, C Asia
Seeking: Academic, NGO, policy makers

Livestock are critically important for many communities in LMIC, but support for animal health is often focused on enabling trade at large scale. We seek to develop and apply better ways of supporting smallholder livestock health to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty and increase resilience at multiple levels. We seek partners especially in the social science of technology uptake in such systems, as well as NGOs and policy makers interested in upscaling bottom-up approaches to healthy and productive livestock through improved disease control, nutrition and viable genetic improvements.

GCRF Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities (RISC)

Principal Investigator: Prof Paul van Gardingen
Contact: Prof Paul van Gardingen,
Countries focussed on: Global
Seeking: We are open to all partners, from research to business, civil society and governments

More people now live in cities and urban areas than any other; the imperative to improve the lives of all urban dwellers has never been greater. By 2030 globally, around 1 billion more people will live in cities resulting from the combination of population growth and urban migration. The provision of resilient, inclusive and sustainable future cities to address these expanded populations is an example of a multidimensional and complex development challenge that requires radical new thinking.

Whilst the increasing rate of urbanisation creates many well-documented problems, it also creates opportunities for transformative change. Responding to this challenge, the GCRF Hub for Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities (RISC) will provide world-class interdisciplinary research to drive the transformation of cities of the future in low and middle income countries.

We are actively seeking partnerships in cities in low and middle income countries. In response to the universality of the SDGs, we also welcome partnerships in any high income city able to cover their own costs.

GCRF Indian Ocean Plastic Pollution Research Hub

Principal Investigator: Professor Susan Jobling
Contact: Ant Parsons,
Countries focussed on: The countries around the Indian Ocean
Seeking: Seeking Academic, NGO and Policy partners

Brunel University London along with Imperial College, Exeter University, Plymouth University and Kings College London are seeking international partners to develop “The GCRF Indian Ocean Plastic Pollution Research Hub”. It is envisaged that the hub will develop and deliver a science research, knowledge transfer and innovation programme to address key knowledge, capability and communication gaps critical to understanding and reversing the impacts of plastic pollution on the sustainability and growth of the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean. The hub will also fuel the creation of innovative materials, technologies, products and services to “stem the plastic tide”.

The hub will work closely with NGOs to provide underpinning evidence to support real change in government policies, industrial practices and in consumer behaviour in key countries bordering the Indian Ocean basin. The hub will build towards coordinating global research and innovation efforts on the plastic pollution issue, working through a hub-and-spoke structure that drives interconnectivity between industry, government, research, educational institutions, and citizens the world over. The ultimate aim is to transform current and future efforts to tackle the intractable challenges of plastic pollution, and support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals on Health (3), Industry (9), Consumption and Production (12), and Life Below Water (14).

We need core international academic partners, as well as stakeholders and partners from government NGO’s and research organisations in the Indian Ocean or with interests/research collaborations in the Indian Ocean to be part of our research hub.

Get in touch to help co-create the priorities and plans for the Hub

GCRF Uranium and Metal Mining Remediation Hub

Principal Investigator: Melissa A. Denecke
Contact: Melissa A. Denecke,
Countries focussed on: Countries mining legacies in the global South
Seeking: Policy makers

Seeking collaboration with person(s) involved in mining policy and regulation in ODA listed countries for the following project aim: Remove deficits (in policy, regulation, economies, expertise, technologies, infrastructure, and stakeholder support) that are prohibitive to remediation of contaminated legacy mining and milling sites that pose risks to the environment and human health, and establish best practice to avoid future contamination to promote sustainability.

  • Develop cost effective, innovative and safe mining and milling legacy remediation strategies, tailored to the local circumstances. 
  • Establish best mining practices to avoid future contamination (“source control”), that optimises sustainable economic benefits and minimises negative impact on both community health and the environment. 
  • Work with industry, affected communities and policy makers to facilitate implementation.
  • Train skilled persons with complementary technological, social and cultural awareness, and establish channels for knowledge transfer and sharing.
  • Analyse historical corporate social responsibility in the mining industry, governmental policies and regulatory frameworks and assess their regional impact on health and well-being. 
  • Monitor the success of site rehabilitation and of the introduction of best mining practices as a function of maturation of regulatory frameworks, policy and financial changes, improved infrastructure, skills and technologies levels, and public support.

Homes for the displaced

Principal Investigator: Prof. David Coley
Contact: David coley,
Countries focussed on: Asia, Africa, south America
Seeking: All types of partners

The hub will look for sustainable ways to house displaced populations. Be it in refugee camps or on the outskirts of cities. Be their displaced by war, natural disaster or economics. It will use a mix of engineering, social network theory and social science.

GCRF Clean Air for Sustainable Growth Hub

Principal Investigator: Prof. Kai Luo
Contact: Kai Luo,​
Countries focussed on: Developing countries in Asia, Africa and Middle East
Seeking: Academics, NGOs and policy makers

Air pollution is an intractable global problem. Despite lessons learnt from London’s pea soup fog caused by coal burning and Los Angeles’s smog due to vehicular emissions, almost every developing country has fallen into the trap of severe air pollution and environmental damage with economic development. This is due to the fact that the sources of air pollution lie in industry, transport, heating, cooking and agriculture, that is, almost every aspect of the economy. The problems and solutions thus vary from country to country, region to region, and city to city.

The proposed Hub is to find a holistic solution to air pollution in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, South America and Europe. With fund of up to £20 million from GCRF, we will build a multi-disciplinary, multi-nation Hub that is able to tackle the global challenge of air pollution, especially in the developing countries on the DAC list, that causes significant damages to human health, quality of life, the environment and economy.

We are seeking project partners in universities and/or research institutes who are specialised in science and engineering (e.g. atmospheric physics, atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, environmental science or engineering, energy, transport, industry, agriculture) or social sciences (e.g. economics, urban planning, sociology, politics, history). We are also keen for environmental protection agents, governmental or non-governmental organisations and policy makers to join our Hub.

In addition to UK participants, we especially welcome participants from the most polluted developing countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Mongolia, India, Bahrain, Nepal, Ghana, Jordan, China, Senegal, Turkey, Mauritius, Peru, Serbia and Iran. We also welcome participants from countries with some of the most polluted cities: South Africa, Myanmar, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Tunisia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Bhutan, Montenegro, Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

GCRF Rural Energy Transformation Hub

Principal Investigator: Prof. David Ingram
Contact: David Ingram,
Countries focussed on: Indian Subcontinent, South-East Asia, Africa, South America
Seeking: NGO and Policy Makers

Our focus is on transforming the energy system for poor, off-grid, communities in remote locations by using a combination of wind, solar and flowing water to provide a micro-grid based energy system. The primary target of this work is UN Global Challenge no 7 "Affordable and Clean Energy", though we plan to have direct consequent activities on challenges 3 and 6. As a whole this project will through partnership address challenges 8, 13 and 17.

Many rural communities are either without electricity, or rely on small diesel generators. These are, not only, expensive to run but lead to CO2 emissions, and cause damage to the terrestrial and aquatic environments through spills and leaks. The Rural Energy Transformations Hub will investigate using low velocity hydrokinetic turbines, solar panels and wind turbines in hybrid schemes to provide village scale power for lighting, charging mobiles and small electric vehicles, refrigeration and hot water.

Renewable energy generation is normally intermittent leading to periods of over- and under- production. Surplice energy can be stored in batteries (for later use), used to heat water, refrigerate cold stores, and produce potable water. Heating, refrigeration and water production help balance generation and demand, while providing additional services for a community which can be stored until needed.

For this transformation to occur energy systems must be developed which are useful, easily installed, robust, easily maintained (by the local community), cost effective and have minimal environmental impact. Delivering this needs a truly interdisciplinary approach with environmentalists, geographers, sociologists, electrical and mechanical engineers, medics, and experts in energy policy and project financing.

Our consortium already contains strength in engineering and geosciences but we would welcome policy makers and NGOs.

Meeting the unique challenge of treating developing world cancers

Principal Investigator: Prof. David Bates
Contact: David Bates,​
Countries focussed on: South and South East Asia, Africa and South America
Seeking: Academic, NGO, government, policy, SMEs

The emergence of cancers in the developing world that are invariably lethal and generally is becoming an existential threat to the development of the global economy. In low and middle income countries (LMIC) cancer rates are rising faster, mortality rates are higher, and cancers have different drivers (immune deficiencies, environmental pollution, infections and different genetics) than in high income countries (HIC).

Cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatments come from HIC, where targeted therapies, immunotherapies and vaccination are transforming survival rates. In LMICs cancer strikes earlier, in economically active people in their 30s- 50s, is diagnosed later, and is rarely stratified or treated with modern targeted therapies. This lack of modern cancer care in LMIC is going to coincide with the availability of targeted therapies in generic form at low cost. So in the next five years the drugs will be there, but no-one will know whether they work, who to give them to, or how to manage them. The consequence will be rising, unnecessary cancer mortality across large stretches of the word, particularly in the tropics, where infection, immune deficiency and environmental causes coincide.

To address this issue, we propose to develop a GCRF Cancer Treatment Hub that will be able to implement location-appropriate, economically viable, innovative solutions to a currently intractable problem – how to meet the challenge of treating developing world cancers.

This Hub will focus on early detection, stratification and personalised medicine. The objectives are

  1. Developing early detection methodologies that are effective and applicable in LMIC;
  2. Identify and validate strategies to molecularly stratify cancers in LMIC.
  3. Identify how to deliver personalised medicines in LMIC through innovative clinical trial design.

We are looking for health economists, technology specialists for field based diagnostics, bioethicists and innovators in clinical trial design to join the hub application.

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