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International Development Research @ Cambridge


The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK government’s effort to fight global poverty. Natural disasters such as floods, droughts and cyclones already force 26 million people into poverty and cost an estimated $60 billion every year. They disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable, such as children, women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Shocks disrupt essential services, including DFID programmes, and lead to higher poverty rates, reduced economic development and poorer human development outcomes.

This research programme – ‘Maintaining Essential Services After Natural Disasters’ (MAINTAINS) is explicitly operational in focus. DfID is seeking a single supplier or a consortium to deliver the programme. Success will require the lead Supplier to actively engage with DfID country programme teams, commission new evidence to be taken up in operations, and provide support to country offices to use the findings from the research in their programmes. It will also require close engagement with the soon to be established Centre for Global Disaster Protection.

The overall objective of the programme is to deliver new, operationally-relevant evidence on understanding how natural disasters impact on basic services in developing countries, and the best response to it, that supports more evidence based – and therefore effective – development initiatives by DfID and its partners in a range of DfID priority countries. DfID will fund new operationally-relevant research on how education, health, social protection, nutrition, and water and sanitation services can adapt and expand in response to shocks such as floods, droughts, cyclones and disease outbreaks.

The programme will have three components:

  1. What works to deliver essential services that respond and flex in response to natural disasters in Developing Countries? High quality, policy relevant, new evidence and methodological advances produced on a. How can programmes and systems be designed so that they are not only resilient to disasters, but can also expand and adapt their provision of essential services in response to shocks? b. How feasible is a shock-responsive approach in different contexts?
  2. Integrating learning back into programmes and systems in DfID focal countries
  3. Promoting research uptake across DfID and the international community


Please find further details here.

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.


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Research Strategy Manager (Dr Sara Serradas Duarte):​.