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Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being

This programme aims to support interdisciplinary research that explores how formal and informal infrastructures interact to affect the well-being of people in cities across the Global South.

More about the programme

Funded by BEIS through GCRF


The British Academy, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, has launched a new competitive research funding call, Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being, as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

This call invites proposals from researchers across all disciplines within the social and engineering sciences and the humanities, wishing to develop and lead interdisciplinary, problem-focused projects that address the challenges of generating and maintaining well-being in the context of rapid urbanisation and infrastructure development in cities of the Global South. The Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being Programme will fund research projects that explore existing and / or potential linkages between formal and informal infrastructures in the urban context of developing countries, and generate new knowledge and engagement which could inform the development of more impactful policies and interventions.

The projects funded under this programme will:

  • Deliver research excellence with development impact;
  • Strengthen the evidence base on what works at the critical junctions of formal and informal infrastructures, including what works in different contexts;
  • Provide insights to enable new approaches to infrastructure development and innovative directions in implementation by policy makers and practitioners.

Eligibility requirements

Each project must include at least one researcher from the social sciences or the humanities and at least one researcher from the engineering sciences as Principal Investigator or Co-Applicant. Principal Investigators must be based in the UK, however, equitable international collaboration is strongly expected to be detailed in any application. We particularly encourage collaboration with institutions and partners in the Global South and expect to see applications demonstrate fully how researchers from the Global South will be involved as equal partners in the research proposed. 

The Principal Investigator and any Co-Applicants must be of postdoctoral or above status, or have equivalent research experience, and hold an established role that will last at least the duration of the grant funded by the British Academy.

ODA requirements

The Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being Programme will only fund projects which are ODA-eligible. Only research that has a primary objective which is directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. ODA eligibility is an essential criterion – projects will only be deemed eligible for funding if they can demonstrate that they satisfy ODA eligibility criteria. The British Academy, with the other Global Challenge Research Fund delivery partners, has made an additional ODA guidance document available to applicants. 

Only proposals which aim to support the economic development and welfare of developing countries will be supported under this call.

Value and duration

Projects must be 21 months in duration. Awards of up to £300,000 are available (and will be offered on a 100% full economic cost basis).

Projects must start on 9 September 2019.

Application process

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy’s online grant application system, Flexi-Grant

Submissions and UK institution approval deadline: Wednesday 22 May 2019 at 17.00 (UK time).

Please refer to the Scheme Notes for additional information.

For further information, please contact or call 020 7969 5220.

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