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The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five-year £1.5 billion funding stream, announced as part of the Government’s 2015 spending review. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance commitment, to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries.

The fund, to be administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies, will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, will strengthen capability for research and innovation within both UK and developing countries, and will provide an agile response to emergencies and opportunities.

Social science is a core discipline to deliver this global agenda and ESRC will play an integral role in developing and delivering the GCRF, working alongside working alongside other research councils and partners.

From the initial allocation of the fund, over the ESRC Delivery Plan 2016-20 £35 million is allocated to GCRF.

Update August 2017

ESRC is pleased to pre-announce the commissioning of four new ESRC calls under the Global Challenges Research Fund.


Peer review group

ESRC is establishing a new peer review group formed specifically to assist with the review of applications to ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund calls. If you are interested in being part of this group, find out how to apply.

Funding opportunities

There are currently no open GCRF funding opportunities. Previous opportunities are listed below.

GCRF funding opportunities led by ESRC

GCRF funding opportunities led by other research councils

GCRF funding opportunities led by RCUK

Applicants are encouraged to view the pages on ODA, capacity development and how to apply.