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Cambridge Global Challenges


The GCRF, a research and science focused aid fund, has a budget of £1.5bn over five years, which contributes towards the government’s 0.7% aid target.

The fund falls under the authority of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and aims to ensure that UK research and science play a leading role in addressing problems faced by developing countries.

Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)’s review found that the fund had begun to innovate in useful ways, particularly by promoting interdisciplinary work on complex challenges such as non-communicable diseases and forced displacement.

However it found that aspects of the fund’s strategy, governance arrangements, and procedures were not yet clear or strong enough, and called on it to improve its systems in order to deliver its objectives more effectively, and achieve value for money.

It praised the GCRF for its proactive approach to working with research partners – such as universities – in developing countries, but said it should be clearer about its aims in doing so and consider a more targeted approach to these partnerships.

The review found that the GCRF needs more focused objectives to achieve the transformative research impact it aspires to, as the current approach has resulted in a scattered portfolio of research projects.

ICAI said that while the practical applications from the research may take time to emerge, the fund should do more to build linkages between researchers and those who will make use of or benefit from its work.

The review called on BEIS and DFID to look into whether the funding conditions of the GCRF are consistent with the government’s commitment not to tie UK aid. And it found that processes for assuring the eligibility of some parts of GCRF funding to be counted as aid were inadequate.


Please find this article here.

Please read the original study here.

Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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