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Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research.

GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA-funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

The Fund is being administered by delivery partners which include national academies and UK Research Councils. 

Our approach

In collaboration with the other Academies we have agreed that we will address the global challenges directly relevant to developing countries by:

A. Funding excellence - Funding exceptional research programmes and researchers to address global challenges

B. Promoting collaboration - Enabling researchers to undertake collaborative research in support of socio-economic development in OECD DAC countries

C. Building research capacity – Using the strengths of the UK research base to build research capacity in developing countries through collaboration

D. Training research leaders – Supporting the next generation of research leaders in developing countries

Our programmes

As part of the GCRF, the Royal Society has launched the following new grants schemes in 2016. This list will be updated over time as more exciting opportunities arise through the Fund.

Applicants interested in applying for our programmes can find further guidance on Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliance for Global Challenges Research Fund.  This was developed in consultation with the Department for International Development to provide general guidance on ODA compliance to applicants for Global Challenges Research Fund grants.

International Collaboration Awards: an exciting opportunity for outstanding UK research leaders to develop international collaborations with the best leading researchers from around the world, to work on some of the global challenges. 

Royal Society Challenge Grants: current Royal Society funded Dorothy Hodgkin, University Research, Sir Henry Dale and Industry Fellows, Wolfson Research Merit Award holders and Research Professors should get in touch with the Grants team to find out more about this scheme.

Proposals for these schemes must fall within the remit of the Royal Society: life and physical sciences, including engineering but excluding clinical medicine. They must also address research questions or problems relevant to the following Global Challenge themes:

Equitable Access to Sustainable Development, such as:

  • 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 Economies and Societies, such as:

  • Sustainable livelihoods supported by strong foundations for inclusive economic growth and innovation
  • Resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Sustainable production and consumption of materials and other resources

Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice, such as:

  • 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 list is a guide and should not be considered exhaustive, please also read the grant’s scheme notes for a fuller list.

Early Career Researchers: we are supporting future research leaders working in areas directly relevant to global challenges through our flagship University Research Fellowship and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships.

Our GCRF programmes