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Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund from the UK Government to address challenges faced by developing countries.

Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

About GCRF

The £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) was announced by the UK Government in late 2015, to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. It supports programmes for:

  • promoting challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, including the participation of researchers who may not previously have considered the applicability of their work to development issues
  • strengthening capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in the UK and developing countries through partnership with excellent UK research and researchers
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need

GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The GCRF delivery partners are: UK Research and Innovation, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Higher Education Division Northern Ireland, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, and UK Space Agency.

Information about writing a GCRF application can be found on the GCRF wiki.

Due diligence

If your research proposal or project involves co-investigators from overseas institutions, we have to complete financial and capability due diligence checks. Further information is available.

Funding scheme panel members

Research England distributes funds for research through quality-related (QR) funding, including the GCRF funding scheme which is allocated to universities.

University Panel members:

  • Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro- Vice Chancellor Research (Chair)
  • Dr Richard Bowman, Department of Physics
  • Professor James Copestake, Department of Social and Policy Sciences
  • Professor Andrew Crane, School of Management
  • Professor Joe Devine, Department of Social and Policy Sciences
  • Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Eleonora Fichera, Department of Economics
  • Professor Marcelle McManus, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Professor Chick Wilson, Associate Dean of Research, Science

Successful projects

These are projects from Principle Investigators (PIs) at the University, who were successful in securing GCRF funding from the 2019/20 internal call:

Engineering and Design

  • Chris Blenkinsopp, Architecture and Civil Engineering: Dynamic Revetments: Working with nature to provide low-cost, sustainable coastal protection

  • Bernardo Castro Dominguez, Chemical Engineering: Accessible Mining Effluent Remediation in Colombia (AMERiC)

  • Mirella DiLorenzo, Chemical Engineering: SmARTER II: Sustainable Approaches for Resilience Building in North East Brazil

  • Thomas Kjeldsen, Architecture and Civil Engineering: Environmental impacts of mercury use in unregulated artisanal gold mining across West Africa

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Fariba Alamgir, Social Policy Sciences: Displaced populations’ access to mental health services in Uganda and Bangladesh

  • Jennifer Golan, Social Policy Sciences: Detecting root causes of stereotypical beliefs: Evidence from Greater Shangri-La

  • Roy Maconachie, Social Policy Sciences: Beyond the technological fix: Sustainable energy options and development in Nigeria


  • Vivek Soundararajan: Stakeholder consultations to co-create a robust research and impact agenda for decent work in the South Indian garment industry


  • Paul Hanel, Psychology: Reducing gender inequality through highlighting similarities between women and men’s cognitive abilities and values

  • Andreas Kyprianou, Mathematical Sciences: Building Policy Solutions for the Mongolian Air Pollution Crisis: Developing collaborative case studies for policies informed by data analysis

  • Toby Jenkins, Chemistry: Testing of a near to patient infection sensor for children with acute wounds in Myanmar

  • Nick Priest, Biology and Biochemistry: Engineering Solutions for Chagas Disease: a collaborative workshop


If you have any questions, please contact us.