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Global research funding

How to identify and develop strong research proposals for global research funding in Low and Middle income countries.

Somebody holding up a globe.
Identify and develop strong research proposals for global research funding in Low and Middle income countries.

About ODA

Support and advice is available for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded research activity.

The OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), is a group of 29 donors, including the UK who define the Official Development Assistance (ODA) as the internationally agreed criteria for funding provided to developing countries or multilateral institutions to fight poverty and promote development. The main objective of ODA activities must be the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries.

Discover if your research is ODA compliant

Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded research activity focuses on outcomes which promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

Many different delivery partners provide ODA funding such as the UKRI GCRF schemes, NIHR RIGHT call and the Newton Fund.

ODA is administered using the promotion of the economic development and welfare of low and middle income countries (LMICs) as its main objective. To be counted as ODA, all activities (research or otherwise) must qualify under rules set down by the OECD.

To be ODA-eligible, the OECD states that research projects should be 'directly and primarily related to the problems of developing countries'. ODA must be embedded in your project from the beginning, and not added as an afterthought.

See the OECD definition of ODA.

Key questions

Key questions to consider when determining whether your proposal is ODA compliant:

  • is the project or activity addressing the economic development and welfare of one or more LMICs?
  • is this its primary motivation?
  • is the LMIC in question on the OECD-DAC list?
  • is the primary beneficiary either developing countries or developing and developed countries?
  • is the country likely to be remain on the DAC list for the entire timescale of the funding?

Eligible countries

Only countries which are listed as Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries on the OECD DAC list are eligible to receive ODA funding. The DAC list is compiled by OECD, based on per capita GNI. DAC locations graduate from the list if they remain high income countries for three years.

University's GCRF strategy

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

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

Further information:

Due diligence

If your research proposal or project involves co-investigators from overseas institutions, we have to complete financial and capability due diligence checks. These checks are on overseas partner organisations and are undertaken to comply with funder requirements.

Opportunities and resources

  • Gateway to International Opportunities - confused by the proliferation of international funding opportunities? This site lists or signposts to all international calls by major UK funders
  • UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) - a group of 14 UK government departments and research funders working in international development (Its webpages include a hub of all funding opportunities in this area, impact case studies, news, events, articles as well as other tips and tools helpful for navigating development research)

Proposal support

The Research Development team in Research and Innovation Services (RIS) can help with the development of your research grant proposal. Information on writing an ODA compliant grant can be found on the University ODA wiki pages.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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