University of Leicester commended for Global Challenges Research Fund strategy

Research England has commended the University of Leicester Global Challenges Research Fund strategy for best practice.

Together with nine other universities, our strategy has been commended not only for its full embrace of Official Development Assistance (ODA) principles, but also for our clear strategic focus and for how development-related research activity has been embedded within the University’s wider strategy and activities.

Research England has decided to commend these strategies to encourage other HEIs to adopt best practice in their own GCRF activity and to acknowledge the excellence and effort demonstrated by those who have been commended.

The aim of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is to ensure UK science takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries, whilst developing our ability to deliver cutting-edge research. The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund that forms part of the UK’s ODA commitment. The GCRF is administered by a number of delivery partners, including the four UK funding bodies, the Research Councils and the four national academies.

The University of Leicester is strongly committed to driving forward and delivering development-related, challenge-led research.

We have been highly commended for a strategy that clearly and correctly places the developing countries specified as prime beneficiaries with appropriate emphasis on administration. The commendation also refers to Leicester’s own Theory of Change in delivering and evaluating impact. Research England also highlighted our demonstration of good risk mitigation in deprioritising Full Economic Costing (FEC) funding if less funding is available in the future.

Professor Paul van Gardingen, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement and Chair of International Development in the School of Geography, Geology and Environment said: “The University of Leicester is using the GCRF funds allocated by Research England to enhance the way that our collaborative research improves the lives of poor people in a range of developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. 

“We are promoting approaches designed to enhance the relevance and impact of our research and the ways it can change lives. A core part of Research England’s recognition is the way that we are working in equitable partnership using new and existing strengths to develop innovative strategies for our GCRF activity.”

In 2017, we started to develop an alliance in Nairobi with a GCRF workshop that we hosted along with the University of Nairobi. This highlighted the importance of creating an appropriate supporting environment to enhance the impact of development-related research to address pressing global challenges.

Research England provide funding from the GCRF to support research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. In 2018-19 they will distribute £58 million from the GCRF to English universities in receipt of quality-related funding.