skip to content

International Development Research @ Cambridge


The GCRF-STARS call aims to build a portfolio of sustainable and timely training resources to up-skill and develop researchers, graduate students and DAC citizens to help tackle global challenges.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. The fund will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, strengthen capability for research and innovation, both within the UK and developing countries and provide an agile response to emergencies and opportunities.

Research funded through GCRF calls will form part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Applications to this call must emphasise the specific global challenge of relevance to GCRF that they will be working in. We welcome applications for support of any research capability within our remit, but particularly those highlighted as targets that are priorities for developing countries such as:

  • Secure and resilient food systems
  • Sustainable health and wellbeing
  • Affordable and sustainable energy
  • Sustainable livelihoods, economic growth through the circular bioeconomy
  • Resilience and environmental change
  • Sustainable production and consumption
  • Prevention of diseases in humans and farm animals relevant to the developing country
  • Prevention of crop disease in varieties grown in/developed for developing countries.

GCRF-STARS applications should be co-created and delivered through training partnerships between the UK partner and organisations from developing countries on the DAC List (see external links). Training may take place in the UK, the developing country, or both with the exception of Research Experience Placements (REPs) which should take place in the UK only.

Delivery of training may be achieved by one or more of the following methods:

  • Research Experience Placements
  • Skills schools
  • Other mechanisms such as development of e-learning modules or other online courses.

The following delivery mechanisms are excluded from the GCRF-STARS programme:

  • Full or partial PhD studentships
  • Full or partial MSc/MRes studentships: in line with other research councils, we do not provide funding for stand-alone Masters training grants
  • Conference attendance/travel bursaries: these are included within PhD studentships and research grants.

A total of up to £300,000 per annum is available to support the training activities through this programme. Applications may seek funding for up to £100,000 (at 100% fEC). Awards are flexible and may be used to support strategic global challenges for a short, discrete period or for up to three years of recurrent funding.

Please read more and apply here.

Tagged with: 

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) 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.


Contribute to Cambridge's response to COVID-19 in developing countries

Join working groups that invite your collaboration, create a new working group and learn about available funding opportunities here.


Join the Strategic Research Initiative

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


Learn about the support we provide 

Information on how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research is shared here.


Contact us

Programme Manager (Dr Sara Serradas Duarte):​.