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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Please contact the if Cambridge Global Challenges can support your ODA-remit proposal or if you would like to propose a cross-Cambridge funding funding application. Other support provided by the University of Cambridge to international development research proposals, in coordination with Cambridge Global Challenges, is described here.

Details on grant operation and management mechanisms, as well as policy for ODA-remit work by University of Cambridge researchers is shared here.


United Kingdom

The UK government made a spending commitment of 0.7% of its Gross National Income on ODA. This spending of UK Aid towards a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The following open research funding opportunities, which form part of this commitment, invite the contribution of academic research institutions: 

  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research – funding £430 million from 2016–2021 to improve global public health outcomes through applied global health research.
  • Wellcome Trust – providing up to £5 billion between 2015 and 2020 on biomedical science, population health, product development and applied research, humanities and social science, public engagement and creative industries education, with roughly 20% of this funding currently spent in international settings 
  • Darwin Initiative –  UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs grants scheme to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide. Over £166 million awarded by the UK Government since 1992.
  • Ross Fund  £1 billion commitment in 2015 for the development, testing and production of new products to help combat serious diseases in developing countries. The Ross Fund focuses on anti-microbial resistance (AMR), on diseases wih epidemical potential and Negleted Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
  • Royal Society – independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. Networking and International Collaboration Awards foster research addressing challenges faced by developing countries.
  • Royal Academy of Engineering – the Academy runs several funding programmes which aim to encourage international engineering collaborations, support the expansion of international networks, and allow researchers to gain international experience and access world-class expertise. The programmes Africa Prize, the GCRF Africa Catalyst, Frontiers of Engineering for Development and Higher Education Partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa specifically tackle global development challenges.
  • British Academy – UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences – the study of peoples, cultures and societies, past, present and future. The Newton Advanced Fellowhips, Newton Mobility Grants, APEX Awards, GCRF Networking Grants, GCRF Challenge-led Grants, Newton Fund Reciprocal Schemes for UK Researchers and BA-DfID Tackling Slavery, Human Trafficking and Child Labour in Modern Business address societal challenges faced by ODA-eligible countries.
  • Academy of Medical Sciences – independent body in the UK representing and supporting those on the clinical training pathway and those working in basic biomedical research. The Newton International Fellowships, the Newton Advanced Fellowships, the GCRF Networking Grants and the Hamied Foundation UK-India AMR Visiting Professorships focus on biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for developing countries.

International development research is also eligible to other funding opportunities in the UK:

  • Leverhulme Trust – UK national grant-making foundation in the United Kingdom supporting scholarships for the purposes of research and education.
  • Royal Geography Society – the Environment and Sustainability Research Grants and the Rob Potter Award specifically support research contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Douglas Bomford Trust – advances knowledge, understanding, practice, and competence in the application of engineering and technology to achieve sustainable agricultural, food and biological systems for the benefit of the environment and mankind.
  • Royal Society of Chemistry – Research Fund and Researcher Mobility Grants. Its annual Emerging Technologies Competition also supports early stage companies and academic entrepreneurs who want to commercialise their technologies to make a global impact. 


University of Cambridge

  • Research England Quality-Related GCRF Awards – support a wide range of initiatives compliant with the ODA guidelines 
  • GCRF Global Impact Acceleration Account – flexible funding options designed to create impact in an international development context, through an open competitive process advertised across the University.
  • The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme – aims to attract leading academics from around the world to undertake research ​in co-operation with the private sector to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Cambridge Global Challenges Seed Funding – programmes ran by the Strategic Research Initiative in support of the the first steps of research agendas jointly defined with colleagues in ODA-target countries.
  • Cambridge-Africa – programme at University of Cambridge that helps to strengthen research capacity and scholarship in African universities and research institute. six initiatives within the Cambridge-Africa Programme cover a range of disciplines and partner universities/institutes in sub-Saharan Africa: THRiVE (Cambridge)WT-CCGHR, CAPREx, The ALBORADA Research Fund, MUII-plus (Cambridge) and the Cambridge-Africa PhD Scholarship Scheme.
  • EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account – provides resources to deliver impact and work on the exploitation of outcomes from its EPSRC research portfolio, with the key objective of shortening the time to impact. 
  • ESRC IAA Social Science Impact Fund – aims to support the use of research and expertise through the development of relationships with non-academic stakeholders, beneficiaries, and partners. 
  • Vice-Chancellor Research Impact and Engengament Awards – recognise and celebrate excellence in research impact and public engagement with research. 
  • Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme – to enable researchers to conduct small-scale research activities of the highest quality, that enable them to bid successfully for larger-scale funding, and/or to generate publications, and/or to contribute materially in other ways towards the research objectives of their home institution.
  • Isaac Newton Trust – a charity established by Trinity College that promtoes learning, research and education in the University of Cambridge, primarily by providing support to early career researchers and by making research grants to departments and programmes within the University and its constituent Colleges.
  • Hamied Visitng Scholarship – the Cambridge–Hamied Visiting Lecture Scheme was established in 2009 to stimulate exchange of ideas and academic collaboration between leading Indian institutions and the University of Cambridge.
  • Dr D C Pavate Travel Bursary to India – Travel Bursary allows a Cambridge academic, post-doctoral or research student to spend a period of between one and two months at Karnatak University.
  • Charles Wallace India Trust Visiting Fellowship – intended for a scholar from India conducting research on any aspect of modern South Asian history and society



  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – working with partners worldwide, its Global Health Division reduces inequities in health, the Global Development Division delivers high-impact health products and services to the world’s poorest communities, the Global Growth & Opportunity creates and scales market-based innovations to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth and the Global Policy & Advocacy Division builds strategic relationships and promote policies that advance this work. The Foundation's approach to grantmaking emphasizes collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and, most importantly, results.
  • EDCTP – supports clinical trials on poverty-related infectious diseases, as well as capacity for conducting clinical trials and related research in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Grand Challenges – delivered by USAID, Grand Challenges Canada, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Grand Challenges family of initiatives fosters innovation to solve key health and development problems.
  • Global Innovation Fund –  a non-profit innovation fund that invests grants and risk capital in the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people and developed by for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers, and government agencies. Launched at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in 2014, this hybrid investment fund is a collaboration between DfID, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Omidyar Network, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia (DFAT). 


Implementation-oriented funding opportunities

Grants allocated to implementation partners (NGOs, UK-based non-profit organizations and UK-based small and diaspora organizations) that form part of the  UK Aid portfolio are listed at the Department for International Development's website.

Platforms such as Funds for NGOs list similar implementation and international development practice-oriented funding calls, some of which also invite the contribution of academic institutions. Some examples are:

  • Elrha – global charity that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation. Its funding opportunities focus on innovation (through the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, to improve outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by identifying, nurturing and sharing more effective and scalable solutions) and on research (through Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, to improve health outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions).
  • WSUP – WSUP, a network of private sector, NGOs and research partners increasing urban access to water and sanitation in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, invests part of its core-funded from UK Aid from the UK government in research calls. For example, the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative is a 2017–2020 programme of rigorous research designed to drive pro-poor sector change in urban sanitation in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and globally



Read more at: UK ODA budget cuts and DFID and FCO merger

UK ODA budget cuts and DFID and FCO merger

Read more at: Cambridge College Studentships

Cambridge College Studentships

College Fund Provisions Eligibility Subject Requirements Caius Phyllis Barclay-Smith Studentships PhD - University fees and maintenance allowance Malawian candidates preferred None Caius Darlington Studentships Masters - fees + maintenance Somali candidates preferred None Christ's Yusuf Hamied...

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