Due to recent government cuts to the UK’s Official Development Assistance budget and subsequent reduction in BEIS’s ODA allocation, the GCRF and Newton fund are currently under review. If you are a current award recipient who might be affected by this, you will be contacted in due course if you have not been already.

We expect that there will be new opportunities to apply for ODA focused research funding in the future. In the meantime, please see here for information on alternative sources of funding for global health research in particular (although note that the MRC schemes listed are also currently under review).

Additionally, see here for a list of potential sources of funding for aid-related projects, although please carefully note the eligibility criteria for each scheme as many of those listed will not be appropriate for academic research. If you have any questions, please contact Peter Caven (p.caven@sheffield.ac.uk)

 Global Challenges Research Fund

GCRF web banner

What is the Global Challenges Research Fund?

NOTE - If you are applying for a GCRF research funding call, please take notice of the due diligence requirements of working with overseas partners, as explained in the link below:

Due Diligence Requirements

 The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five year £1.5bn investment to ensure UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries.

The GCRF will run between 2016-2021. It provides a unique opportunity for UK academics to work with partners around the world and address some of the biggest problems of our time. The fund forms part of the Government's pledge to allocate 0.7% of gross national income to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries in which cutting-edge research is translated into local impact where there is an unmet need.

The GCRF is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies. The Research Councils have each received directly allocated portions of the GCRF, which they are all administering in a mix of allocations to institutions, funding of priority areas and open calls. A large amount of funding that remains unallocated (increasingly known as the collective fund) will grow significantly over the next five years.

Global Challenges Research Fund  Official Development Assistance    

The challenges areas

The Research Councils are currently prioritising 12 GCRF challenge areas closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, split into three groupings:

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
  • Renewable energy and materials

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 other resources

Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice

  • Understand and effectively respond to forced displacement and multiple refugee crises
  • Reduce conflict and promote peace, justice and humanitarian action
  • Reduce poverty and inequality, including gender inequalities

More on the GCRF challenge areas 

Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID)

Sheffield University is home to SIID, an interdisciplinary research institute focusing on international development research. If you are interested in finding out more about ODA-eligible research, SIID are a great network to get involved with. Please follow the link below, or get in touch with SIID Director Dan Brockington directly.

SIID website 

SIID have recently published a new GCRF Investigator Training Blackboard Site linked to below. Topics include: Building Partnerships, Impact, Key thinkers in international development, Research Ethics, Gender and Diversity, Participation and Co-Production, Decolonising our Research. Please contact Tijana Close (t.close@sheffield.ac.uk) to request access and for any further information.

GCRF Investigator Training Blackboard Site


Research Services have developed a range of resources which can help you improve your chances of successfully attaining GCRF funding:

Collaboration tool Success factors analysis  Before you apply Additional resources

Who to contact

Research Services is here to provide you with a wide range of support, guidance and information about the GCRF:

  • The relationships and projects we already have in particular countries or for certain topics
  • Possible project partners in a particular country
  • Potential UK collaborators for large projects
  • Information about undertaking research in a particular country

Contact Peter Caven (p.caven@sheffield.ac.uk) or your Faculty Research Growth Officer in the first instance.

Research Services Contacts

These pages will be updated as more information emerges and our knowledge of GCRF develops.  We welcome your suggestions for content - contact us if you have suggestions for information to add.