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International Development

UK research helping ensure ‘no-one is left behind’ – UN Sustainable Development Goals

Extreme poverty, environmental degradation and climate change, infectious diseases, insecure food systems, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene systems, lack of access to proper education (especially for girls), fragile states, protracted violence and extremism - these are global challenges that impact us all and threaten future generations.

In 2016 the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by leaders across the world, setting ambitious goals for the next 15 years, for example, to end poverty, mitigate climate change and end inequality - ensuring that no-one is left behind.

Research has a crucial role to play in helping fulfil this ambition. The Research Councils have a strong history of leveraging the UK’s world-leading research-base to help provide long-term, sustainable solutions to improve the life-long health and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable people. Such research very often brings direct and indirect benefit to the UK too.

The Research Councils have a variety of mechanisms through which they fund research with an international development focus, working in partnership with a broad range of local, national and international organisations.

Two such mechanisms include the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund. These different funding mechanisms enable our investments to span multiple countries, at multiple levels - working in equitable partnership with developing-country researchers, NGOs, CSOs, governmental agencies and multilateral bodies to co-create practical, culturally sensitive solutions to urgent development issues and build the skills and capabilities of all involved.

Below are some examples highlighting the breath of research we invest in, the wide ranging positive impacts this has and the many partners involved.


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