GCRF FAQ

What is GCRF?

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Every Financial Year, Scottish Universities receive a portion from the pool that can be spent on the aid-related activities within the University.

GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

What are the aims of GCRF?

The vision of GCRF is to create new knowledge and drive innovation that helps to ensure that everyone across the globe has access to:

  • 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.

For more information on GCRF, please visit the University’s GCRF page and the UKRI website.

What is the University’s strategy on GCRF?

In short, the University's GCRF Strategy is to grow capacity at the interface of the University's interdisciplinary Themes:

  • Understanding and improving health and wellbeing
  • Life-enhancing creativity and design
  • Innovating technological solutions to tomorrow's problems
  • Promoting social change to enhance diversity, justice and socio-economic prosperity

The full Strategy can be found here.

What is ODA?

Official development assistance (ODA) is defined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The DAC adopted ODA as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and it remains the main source of financing for development aid.

ODA flows to countries and territories on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral development institutions are:

  • Provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies;
  • Concessional (i.e. grants and soft loans) and administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective.

For more information, please visit here: http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/What-is-ODA.pdf

What countries are eligible to receive ODA-funding?

The DAC list of the countries can be found here: https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/DAC_List_ODA_Recipients2018to2020_flows_En.pdf

The list of the eligible countries is updated every three years – next assessment to take place in 2021.

How do I know if the proposed research meets ODA requirements?

For funding such as GCRF, applications must meet eligibility requirements in order to be considered. ODA requirements are defined as working towards the economic development and welfare of a country on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

Some of the questions, according to ESRC, to consider when writing ODA proposal:

  • Is the project addressing the economic development and welfare of an ODA eligible country?
  • Is there a development need that my project or activity is addressing?
  • Are the countries involved on the DAC List of ODA Recipients (the Development Assistant Committee of the OECD) or will countries on the DAC list directly benefit from the research?
  • Is my activity credible or is there evidence of the need?
  • Would this project or activity be applied in an ODA eligible country – when, how and with whom?
  • What would the impact of my project or activity be, and who would benefit?
  • How does my project or activity contribute to sustainable development?
  • What would success for this activity look like?
  • How would success or impact be measured?

Where does the internal GCRF money come from and how can I access it?

The internal GCRF pot of money comes from the Scottish Founding Council based on the Research Excellence Grant (REG) allocation. The Scottish Funding Council has granted funding to each Scottish University up to 2020/2021 to be allocated internally guided by our GCRF strategy. Consistent with our University values, allocation of resources should be quality-driven, proportionate and transparent. The implementation of our strategy is overseen by a Steering Group, comprising key senior academics, and Early Career Researcher representative and staff from professional services, with experience of working in LMICs. The role of the Steering Group is to make internal funding decisions and monitor the progress against our objectives.

Where can I find out about GCRF funding opportunities?

We run a GCRF Mailing List which informs our members of the latest opportunities. You can also look at the ODA/GCRF Calls List.

Additionally, you can subscribe to the official Universities UK International Bulletin that sends regular updates on GCRF calls. The sign-up link can be found here.

Who can I contact for more information?

You can e-mail gcrf@dundee.ac.uk and someone from our team will answer your query. Alternatively, you can directly contact our GCRF Partnerships Manager – Alastair Strickland.

What are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda.

Where can I find GCRF resources to help me with the application?

It can be difficult to gauge how to present your proposal and where to include all of the constituent parts, particularly when applying for research funding or to a new funder for the first time.

The Researcher Resources folder contains a lot of useful information that can help in developing your application. In there, you will find Successful application folder, as well as a dedicated Global Challenges folder with various resources.