Early Childhood Development

The purpose of this interdisciplinary research programme is to fund the evidence that will inform the policies and interventions capable of transforming the life chances and destinies of children in their early years in lower- and middle-income countries.
Start date
Up to 21 months
Programme status

Strengthening early childhood development is central to achieving at least seven of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG Target 4.2, which states that by 2030 countries should ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education’. To achieve these goals, there needs to be a step change in early childhood development research and policy action that drives interaction and cross-learning between disciplines, sectors and actors.

This programme aims to support a new generation of inter-linked research and policy interventions. It explores what works at scale in different contexts whilst building, and working with, local capacity to deliver effective research and change.

In particular, this programme focuses on:

  1. supporting innovative interdisciplinary research projects and partnerships, including with practitioners;
  2. advancing cross learning between disciplines and building our understanding of how existing interventions contribute to child development outcomes;
  3. addressing key questions around how to implement and scale cost-effective early childhood development, including how to work with government systems where appropriate;
  4. expanding the research base in countries and populations with high unmet need and low research capacity.

For more information, please see the scheme notes.

Find out more about how our Early Childhood Development Programme is working to transform the destinies of children in developing countries.

This programme is jointly funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for International Development.

Read the special edition of the Journal of the British Academy dedicated to the research projects funded under this programme.

Programme outcomes

Early Childhood Development: Research Findings and Emerging Impact

Graduation programmes and disruption of intergenerational transmission of poverty

Addressing measurement challenges in early childhood development research in low- and middle-income countries

Supporting parents for home-based responsive caregiving in low-resource settings

Schistosomiasis infection and early childhood development in South Africa and Zimbabwe

Improving education systems for enhancing early childhood development

Contact details

For more information:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 020 7967 5220

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