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Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a 5-year £1.5 billion fund announced by the Government in 2016 to support research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. GCRF is intended to fund challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research whilst strengthening UK and overseas capacity, and responding rapidly to emergencies. 

GCRF Website

What is GCRF?

GCRF funding must be used according to ODA principles and guidelines, which state that only research directly and primarily of benefit to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. Research projects funded through GCRF must therefore contribute to economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective. Equally important, GCRF projects must support development in countries and territories on DAC list of ODA recipients.

Challenge Areas

RCUK have identified three main challenge areas in line with the sustainable development goals:

Equitable access to sustainable development:

  • 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:

  • 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 resources

Human rights, good governance and social justice:

  • 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

More Information

The GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). GCRF is administered by 17 delivery partners, including the UK Research Councils, the four UK Higher Education Funding bodies and the 4 national academies. More details on the aims of the GCRF can be found in the UK Strategy for the GCRF.

UEL Support

Research and Development Support (ReDS) is the central point of contact for the GCRF and other ODA funding opportunities.

How ReDS can help

  • provide general advice on GCRF projects and advice on ODA compliance
  • connect academics with collaborators for GCRF projects
  • keep you updated on upcoming calls through our blog

Future Support

UEL’s new institutional strategy for an additional GCRF allocation will soon be available on this page. The strategy outlines UEL’s priorities for development-related research activities and will cover funding for three years from the academic year 2018-19.

Contact Details


Phone: +44 (0)20 8223 6352