Planning a GCRF Proposal
PIs and research teams considering a GCRF proposal should read the funder terms and conditions carefully, and give thought to the following:
Is my research topic appropriate for GCRF funding?
Firstly you should consider the following two questions? Could it help address a GCRF strategic priority area for UKRI (you may consider that your research in isolation may not meet this criteria, however, you may in collaboration with others be able to form a team that could); is it ODA compliant?
See our information day slides for more info on these topics.
Blue skies research with long-term impact vs demonstrating short-term wins?
Ideally proposals should include both of these aspects. There needs to be exciting, ground-breaking research of the type that the research councils normally fund, but there needs to also be a credible route to impact that could be achieved and which will benefit the people in the partner country, this may well be in the short term.
How many overseas countries should I involve?
There is no set minimum number (one could be enough), however often the problems being addressed by GCRF proposals are not unique to one country and so including multiple countries (e.g. in the region) might be seen as beneficial, especially if the partners from the different countries can bring something different to the team (e.g. different disciplines or different facilities which can be shared), however, the more complex your project becomes and the more partners which are involved you will need to ensure you describe a good synergy between the various aspects of the project and have in place appropriate management plans to ensure successful delivery of the objectives.
How important is inter-disciplinarity and including non-academics (e.g. NGOs)?
Very important. GCRF is about solving global challenges, none of which can be solved by one discipline nor by academics alone. Many of the problems will require input by social scientists and some combination of pure science, engineering, business and/or medicine. Including team members from different disciplines will also help with your Pathways to Impact statement, since you can make a more credible case that you are considering the problem from a holistic sense and being realistic about the challenges that exist outside your own discipline towards solving the problem. Including non-academics is also key in this regard – i.e. these partners should be involved in every aspect of the research plan ideally, i.e. design the work, executing it, and implementing the resulting solutions/recommendations – which again will help you make a credible Pathways to Impact case.
What are some examples of outreach activities to include?
The Outreach Office can provide a range of possible activities that might be appropriate for your project. Examples include having member of your team be STEM Ambassadors in schools and contributing to the Imperial Fringe events.
What are some examples of capacity-building and knowledge transfer ideas to include?
Involving the overseas partners in the project at every step, from research design through to publication, will build the research capacity in the partner institution. Depending upon the nature of the call, you might also want to include curriculum development activities in your work plan (e.g. at undergraduate or Master’s levels), to extend the legacy of your project beyond the end of the funding period by influencing the minds of the partner country’s future leaders in your field. If you choose to do this, it would be good for the partner institution to do a needs assessment and identify which topics/modules they would especially like to develop, so that you can be as specific as possible in your proposal and show that some detailed thought has already gone into this and that you are addressing a serious skills deficit in the country currently. In terms of knowledge transfer, dissemination workshops in the country throughout the project with both academic and non-academic participants and websites/blogs to provide regular updates on the research progress are a few examples.
Who can I ask to review my GCRF proposal and provide advice before I submit?
The College has created a GCRF expert review group from the College membership who have a wide variety of experiences and expertise of working
Determining ODA Compliance
Projects that are ODA compliant should have the economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective.
Guidelines to ODA eligibility are available (e.g. is it ODA, OECD publication), however, slight differences in context and detail could mean that an activity would or would not be ODA eligible. Therefore, when trying to decide whether an activity is ODA eligible, it is important to focus on the questions that would typically be asked for by the OECD. Questions that you may wish to consider regarding your project’s ODA eligibility include:
- Is the project addressing the economic development and welfare of the country in question?
- Are the countries involved on the DAC List of OD Recipients (the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, the DAC list will be updated in 2017)?
- Is there a development need that the project or activity is addressing?
- Is this credible or is there evidence of the need?
- How would the project be applied in the country?
- What would the impact of the project or activity be, and who would benefit?
- How does my project or activity contribute to sustainable development?
- Would this lead to a reduction in poverty in a developing country?
- What would success for this activity look like?
- How would success or impact be measured?
Gender Equality and International Development Research and Innovation
UKRI require all GCRF project proposals to complete a gender equality statement as part of the application process. The statement should outline how applicants have taken meaningful yet proportionate consideration as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities, as required under the International Development (Gender Equality) Act.
This change has been introduced to ensure that all research and activities supported under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund calls are fully compliant with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014.
Statements must cover the following aspects when considering the gender impact:
- Measures put in place to ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people of different genders to be involved in the project;
- The expected impact of the project (positive and negative) on people of different genders, both throughout and beyond the project;
- The impact on relations between people of different genders and people of the same gender;
- How any risks and unintended negative consequences on gender equality will be avoided or mitigated against, and monitored;
- Whether any relevant outcomes and outputs are being measured, and with data disaggregated by age and gender where disclosed.
UKRI provide further information and guidance as well links to a number of resources.