Global Challenges Research Fund

GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund to support cutting edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. It’s designed to achieve this by:

  • Challenge led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research (see figure below for challenge areas).
  • Strengthening capacity for research and innovation in the UK and developing countries.
  • Providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need
Equitable access to sustainable development Sustainable economies and societies Human rights, good governance and social justice
  • Secure and resilient food systems supported by sustainable marine resources and agriculture
  • Sustainable health and well being
  • Inclusive and equitable quality education
  • Clean air, water and  sanitation
  • Affordable, reliable, sustainable energy
  • Sustainable livelihoods supported by strong foundations for inclusive economic growth and innovation
  • Resilience action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Sustainable production and consumption of materials and other resources
  • Understand and respond effectively to forced displacement and multiple refugee crises
  • Reduce conflict and promote peace, justice and humanitarian action
  • Reduce poverty and inequality, including gender inequalities

This fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, therefore only research that is directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries is applicable. The fund will be administered by delivery partners including the four national academies and the UK research councils.

GCRF funding through RCUK– How does it differ from conventional RCUK type applications?

  • The key differences in GCRF research applications is that the emphasis must be on the impact that the research will generate in respect of the key areas.
  • Competitive applications will identify the groups that will benefit within the target countries (which must come from the OECD Development Assistance Committees list of low and middle income countries).
  • Explain how these groups will benefit and how the benefits can be scaled up elsewhere if feasible.
  • Work through co-creation where possible – bring people living and working in the target countries into the consortium where possible.
  • Remember that it is still an RCUK application; despite this need for an emphasis on impact, it is still an RCUK application therefore the criteria for research excellence cannot be overlooked. Make sure to explain how your research is exciting, cutting-edge, novel and significant.