Global Challenges Research Fund

We provide funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to support research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. In 2018-19 we will distribute £58 million from the GCRF to English universities in receipt of quality-related (QR) funding.

The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund that forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. The GCRF is administered by a number of delivery partners, including the four UK funding bodies, the Research Councils and the four national academies.

What is the funding for?

The UK’s ODA commitment is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and QR GCRF allocations must be spent according to ODA principles. These state that only research directly and primarily of benefit to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. Activity funded through QR GCRF must promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective, any benefit to the UK or other developed countries must be the secondary consideration.

QR GCRF activity must also comply with ODA guidelines by working with, and supporting development within, countries and territories on the Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) list of ODA recipients. Universities should endeavour to create equitable partnerships between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers in both developed and developing countries through QR GCRF-funded activities.

Further information on the conditions of ODA and GCRF funding:

Funding method

QR GCRF is allocated to universities in proportion to their mainstream QR allocations, including London weighting. GCRF is allocated across all units of assessment (UOAs). Only institutions who have provided QR GCRF three-year institutional strategies that have been assessed as ODA compliant will receive QR CRF allocations for the three years from 2018-19.


To support the government’s requirement to report to the OECD on ODA activity, institutions in receipt of QR GCRF will be monitored annually. HEIs should be able to account that the QR GCRF allocation has been spent on eligible activity.