Research fund

Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) was a £1.5 billion fund running from 2015 to 2021 with the overarching ambition to ensure the UK takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries whilst developing the UK’s cutting-edge research abilities.  

The fund formed part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), which promotes the long-term sustainable growth of developing countries.

Delivery partners including all UK research councils and other UK funding bodies developed a set of complementary research programmes with the aim to:

  • Promote challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • Strengthen capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in the UK and developing countries through partnership with excellent UK research and researchers
  • Provide an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need. More information can be found in this downloadable guide (.pdf).


In 2018 the University of Essex successfully obtained three years of Global Challenge Research Funding from Research England to support our academic community to develop collaborations and capacity building  activities with research partners in ODA eligible countries.  From 2018-2021 an annual series of activities has provided funding for:

  • Travel and subsistence costs to support relationship building
  • Activities to pump prime collaborative research
  • Activities that generate or have the potential to generate impact
  • Staff exchanges and visiting fellowships to support capacity and capability building, growing relationships and exchange knowledge
  • Events in partner countries to build networks and partnerships 

Explore our map to find our more details of funded collaborative research projects, collaborations, events and incoming visiting fellowships we have supported since 2018.