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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Design of ODA research programmes, review of research proposals and coordination of cross-Cambridge funding bids

Cambridge Global Challenges (CGC) Strategic Research Initiative (SRI)

Cambridge Global Challenges supports research proposals that are designed in response and that plan to address the needs of communities in Official Development Assistance (ODA)-target countries. Drawing on the expertise of its network, Cambridge Global Challenges supports funding applications through:

  • support to the design of research programmes that combine academic and international development ambitions – namely on methodologies for the co-creation of research priorities with beneficiares or their representatives in developing countries and on the inclusion of adequate R&D diffusion processes that allow the intented impact in these countries
  • review of proposals – particularly of the joint articulation of research and international development goals
  • identification of research collaborators in Cambridge, in the UK and in ODA-target countries
  • identification of implementation partners and adequate R&D difussion mechanisms in developing world contexts
  • advice on call and funder criteria – some advice in relation to Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) can be found here
  • guidance on ODA compliance – ODA is defined here and some guidance is offered by the Research Operations Office here

The intertwined nature of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations for 2030 reflect how challenges in developing world contexts do not happen and cannot be addressed in silos. Cambridge Global Challenges also coordinates cross-Cambridge interdisciplinary research funding proposals – by namely combining existing expertise hubs across the University of Cambridge such as the Strategic Research Networks, Strategic Research Initiatives and Interdisciplinary Research Centres.

Please contact the Cambridge Global Challenges Strategic Research Initiative (CGC SRI) Research Strategy Manager (Dr Sara Serradas O'Holleran,​) if you would like support with your ODA-remit proposal or if you would like to propose a cross-Cambridge funding application.

Cambridge Global Challenges also facilitates the steps that precede and follow the submission​ of successful international development research proposals. Please find further details here.



Collaboration and strategic agreements – including MoUs 

Strategic Partnership Office and Due Diligence Team (Research Operations Office)

The Strategic Partnerships Office is responsible for implementing the General Board Protocol on International Agreements. To complement the General Board Protocol on International Agreements, the Strategic Partnerships Office has developed the guidance (including an International MoU Template) to Schools, faculties, departments and other institutions wishing to develop international collaborations described here.

If you are a member of a School, Faculty or Department who would like to initiate an international or corporate collaboration please contact the Strategic Partnership Office and the Due Diligence Team  (  see further details below) at the outset. 



Funding support for large bid preparation

Research Strategy Office

This central Administered Fund has been established under the stewardship of the Research Policy Committee (RPC) to consider requests for resources to enable the preparation of large collaborative bids. Applications must demonstrate strong academic leadership with clear goals, and involve researchers from at least two Schools.

Potential applications should contact the Research Strategy Office to discuss the eligibility of their proposal: please contact Rosalyn Gregory or Gordana Najdanovic via



Management of GCRF awards 

GCRF Team, Research Operations Office

Please contact the GCRF Coordinator (Mercedes Hernandez-Gomez, for support in relation to the operations of your funding proposal or ongoing research project.​ In the meantime, we note the following: 

UKRI GCRF and Newton Fund's compliance with International Develpment (Gender Equality) Act 2014
UK Research and Innovation is updating its policies and processes for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund calls to ensure that funded research and innovation projects are fully compliant with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014 (further details and guidance are available here). It will be mandatory for all applications to UKRI GCRF and Newton Fund calls/competitions announced and published after the 1 April 2019 to provide a Gender Equality Statement. This statement must outline how applicants have taken meaningful yet proportionate consideration as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities, as required under the International Development (Gender Equality) Act. This should be no longer than one page, and should be attached as a ‘non-UK Component’ through Je-S. Criteria to address while considering gender impact:

  • Have measures been put in place to ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people of different genders to be involved throughout the project? This includes the development of the project, the participants of the research and innovation and the beneficiaries of the research and innovation.   
  • The expected impact of the project (benefits and losses) on people of different genders, both throughout the project and beyond.   
  • The impact on the relations between people of different genders and people of the same gender. For example, changing roles and responsibilities in households, society, economy, politics, power, etc.   
  • How will any risks and unintended negative consequences on gender equality be avoided or mitigated against, and monitored?   
  • Are there any relevant outcomes and outputs being measured, with data disaggregated by age and gender (where disclosed)?

Compliance with new UKRI safeguarding policy
UKRI has updated its Terms and Conditions requiring organisations to be compliant with the new UKRI Preventing Harm Safeguarding in Research and Innovation policy from March/April 2021. This policy applies to all UKRI funded activities irrespective of whether they take place in the UK, or overseas and to all individuals and organisations receiving UKRI funding either directly, or indirectly through a partner organisation.
The University of Cambridge's
 safeguarding policies, guidance and resources to help applicants complete this requirement are shared here  and UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKDR) has published Guidance on Safeguarding in International Development Research (principles and best practice guidance on safeguarding to anticipate, mitigate and address potential and actual harms in the funding, design, delivery and dissemination of international development research), as well as a piece on practical application of this guidance during COVID-19.


Due diligence

Due Diligence Team, Research Operations Office

Research funders are increasingly asking universities to undertake a more thorough process of due diligence, particularly when it comes to sub-awarding funds overseas. The main aim is to demonstrate that the PIs and the University have assurance that international research partners can demonstrate their ability to deliver the proposed research and have appropriate governance and financial controls. The checks the due diligence team carry out assess the legal status of our partner organisation, its governance structure, financial probity in addition to any reputational risk to the university in collaborating with them. 

For further information see the Due Diligence Step-by-Step process and for details about the particular case of GCRF please consult this flowchart.

Please advise the due diligence team ( at the earliest opportunity who you are proposing to collaborate with, particularly if there are any funds being sub-awarded internationally.



Overseas working policy 

Human Resources

Work or study away undertaken by members of the University is varied and wide-ranging. This has included trips all across Europe as well as to Afghanistan, India, Panama, South Africa and Vietnam with students studying in other institutions, working on excavations, with indigenous peoples, in remote locations, with animals, conducting archival research, interviewing a diverse range of people and in working or studying in war torn countries. It is not practical to try and produce guidance to cover the diverse nature of the University, but this webpage can point you in the right direction with the underlying principle that a detailed risk assessment must be completed and this must reflect the nature of the work, the individual and the location. Guidance is provided to individuals travelling and those that authorize work away from Cambridge.



Travel insurance

Group Business Travel Insurance Policy

Travel insurance is available for employees and graduate students travelling away from the UK to carry out University activities. University activities would include overseas trips to attend University-related meetings and conferences or to carry out fieldwork and research.


Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


Join the Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Register to Cambridge Global Challenges and to the IRC's mailing list here.


Learn about the support we provide 

Learn how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research here.


Contact us​