Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

About the Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five year, £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
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need
  • GCRF is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies.

NEW: Internal funding to support GCRF activity

Research England have awarded the University of Plymouth approximately £347,000 in dedicated QR funding to support research activities that will enable us and our partners in developing countries to build capacity to address these challenges.

These funds will be distributed through an internal competition – details of how to apply are below and there will be two rounds of funding this academic year.

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. GCRF funding will be awarded in a manner that fits with Official ODA guidelines.

The GCRF will be delivered through the seven UK Research Councils, the National Academies and HEFCE. 

Some calls will be managed by a single funder but over the five-year life-span of the fund an increasing proportion of the budget will be managed jointly to support interdisciplinary programmes.

Some calls have a limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by a single organisation; where this is the case the University will manage a process to promote collaboration and to identify and support the best proposals through to submission. Please contact for further details.

2018–19 GCRF Funded Projects

GCRF – latest news

Pre-announcement of new UKRI GCRF Collective Programme – Multiple & Systemic Risks.

A new Internal Fund to support GCRF related activity has been launched with funding from Research England – see above for details on how to apply.

Professor Rupert Jones led a successful crowdfunding bid to build a pulmonary rehabilitation centre in Kampala to treat people with chronic lung disease without using drugs – follow the link for further information – April 2018.

New GCRF page on UKRI website.

GCRF Challenge Leaders appointed.

Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) - Review of GCRF.

Previous Plymouth projects and activities

Project - One Ocean Hub Dr Kerry Howell is a partner in the new One Ocean Hub led by Strathclyde University, which aims to transform our response to the urgent challenges facing our oceans.

Project  Jali Ardhi (Care for the Land) project: Realising land management change in degraded Maasai grazing lands Led by Professor Will Blake and funded by NERC as part of the Innovation Follow On call – ODA.

Project  Blue Communities Co-led by Sabine Pahl and funded by RCUK. Lead organisation Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Project – Socio-ecological resilience to soil erosion driven by extreme climatic events: past, present and future challenges in East Africa. Led by Professor Will Blake and funded by NERC.

News article – Soil erosion in Tanzania – in pictures; published in The Guardian on 4 May 2017.

NetworkDisplacement Studies Research Network led by Dr Sana Murrani.

Project – Conserving Cultural Heritage: The Resilience of Forcibly Displaced Syrian Artisans in Jordan Led by Dr Haya Al-Dajani and funded by ESRC and AHRC.

Project – Performing Empowerment: Disability, Dance, and Inclusive Development in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka Co-led by Adam Benjamin and funded by AHRC. Lead organisation is University of York.

Project – Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) Co-led by Professor Iain Stewart and funded by NERC, ESRC and AHRC. Lead organisation University of Edinburgh.

Project – To work towards the exchange of robotics technology for the safe and efficient harvest of fruits and vegetable crops grown in glasshouses and plastic tunnels Led by Dr Martin Stoelen and funded by STFC (Newton Fund).

Project A development study to examine feasibility and acceptability of pulmonary rehabilitation in Uganda for adults with chronic respiratory disease Led by Rupert Jones and funded by MRC, Wellcome and DFID.