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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Cambridge Global Challenges (CGC) is the Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to fulfil its mission to contribute to society with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population. 


Adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a blueprint set by the United Nations to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030 – we support the partnerships and the work of academic researchers (STEM and AH&SS) and implementers (eg: civil society, NGOs, policy-makers, industry, government) who, together, can successfully deliver research projects that respond to the challenges faced by communities in the Global South.

The intertwined nature of the SDGs reflects how challenges in developing world contexts do not happen and cannot be addressed in silos, requiring interdisciplinary research approaches. CGC currently involves over 600 researchers from across the University of Cambridge and collaborators in low-income countries, who come from the physical and biological sciences, engineering and technology, business, law and medicine, and the arts, humanities and social sciences. The Strategic Research Initiative mobilizes existing expertise hubs across the University of Cambridge – namely its Strategic Research Networks, Strategic Research Initiatives and Interdisciplinary Research Centres – and convenes new key thematic areas to which the University can contribute. For instance, we are facilitating work with the Synthetic Biology IRC and the CamBridgeSens SRN on smart imaging-oriented solutions to challenges faced by Official Development Assistance (ODA)-target countries, with the Cambridge Global Food Security IRC on malnutrition, and with the Energy@Cam IRC on sustainable energy conservation systems. Other collaborators include PublicHealth @ Cambridge SRN, the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, the Digital Humanities NetworkCambridge-Africa, the Nano Doctoral Training Centre.. 

Academic research that addresses the SDGs in developing countries also fundamentally requires key R&D diffusion and implementation processes to achieve its intended impact. CGC works with implementation partners (eg: civil society, NGOs, policy-makers, industry, government) for the research-for-development projects that it facilitates. Implementation work facilitated by CGC also benefits from collaboration with the following University of Cambridge units: Cambridge-Enterprise, the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), the Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN), the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), ideaSpace and the Institute for Manufacturing. 

CGC was founded by Cambridge researchers and by the Centre for Global Equality – an implementation partner based in Cambridge.


  • If you would like to join the Cambridge Global Challenges Strategic Research Initiative, please register here.
  • Learn more about how Cambridge Global Challenges supports Cambridge researchers working on global challenges and towards the achievement of the SDGs by 2030 here.
  • Information about other funding facilitation processes, operational mechanisms and policy for ODA-remit work by University of Cambridge researchers is available 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.


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.


Contribute to Cambridge's response to COVID-19 in the Global South

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


Contact us

Research Strategy Manager (Dr Sara Serradas O'Holleran):​.