Global Challenges Research Fund Challenge-led Grants

This scheme, led by the Royal Society on behalf of the National Academies, provides funding to support research consortia involving groups in the UK and developing countries to address Global Challenges with a focus on resilience.
Funding status
Closed for applications
Career stage
Postdoctoral or equivalent research
Duration of award
30 months

This £8 million call invites proposals from researchers across all academic disciplines. These interdisciplinary consortia will generate new approaches to significant and complex resilience problems facing developing countries and will consist of one UK research group and two developing country research groups. The awards will provide up to £500,000 and 2.5 years of support to these research consortia.


Objectives of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Challenge-led Grants are:

  • Funding excellence - Generate excellent and novel research on global challenges directly and primarily relevant to developing countries that cuts across multiple thematic areas covered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Supporting collaboration - Support the development of sustainable consortia comprising outstanding researchers in the UK and the best research groups in DAC-list countries to generate new approaches to the most significant and complex problems faced by developing countries.
  • Promoting interdisciplinary approaches - Promote collaboration across different disciplines to take an interdisciplinary approach that generates new knowledge and insights from across different research disciplines.
  • Strengthening research capacity - Strengthen research capacity in developing countries through collaboration, sharing of knowledge and skills, and exchange of staff between research groups in the UK and their partners in developing countries. 

The scheme is not intended to supplement existing grants. 

The proposed research must be interdisciplinary and fall within the remit of the UK National Academies and be interdisciplinary:

  • Royal Society (natural sciences, including engineering)
  • British Academy (social sciences and humanities)
  • Academy of Medical Sciences (medical and clinical research)
  • Royal Academy of Engineering (engineering)

Eligibility requirements

  • Your proposed research must address two or more GCRF thematic areas. The proposal must ultimately benefit the economic development and welfare of developing countries (i.e. be compliant with the ODA guidelines). 
  • Your proposal must fall within the remit of the UK academies and must be interdisciplinary.
  • The consortia must consist of one UK research group and two research groups from developing countries.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.
Please note that applicants can only submit one application per round.

Value and duration

Awards are expected to run for two and a half years each (requests for no-costs extensions will be considered). The Royal Society will provide a contribution of up to £500,000 and will be dependent on case for support. Requests can include: consumables, travel and subsistence, networking costs, small pieces of equipment (no more than £10K), research assistant salary, training and skills development costs, contribution to the time of the applicant or co-applicant(s) and contribution to overheads. Successful projects must start by March 2019.

Application process

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s grants and awards management system (Flexi-Grant®). Applications will be reviewed by members of the Challenge-Led Grants selection panel with the most appropriate expertise. Following this a shortlist is drawn up. Shortlisted proposals will be subject to high quality independent peer review, and once complete these proposals will then be discussed at a Panel meeting.

Application Deadline: Tuesday 11 September 2018 (15.00 UK Time)

Find further guidance about the Global Challenge Research Fund.

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