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RCUK Call for Global Challenges Interdisciplinary Research Hubs: Internal Scoping Process – Deadline Tuesday 25th July 2017

RCUK Call for Global Challenges Interdisciplinary Research Hubs: Internal Scoping Process – Deadline Tuesday 25th July 2017


It is anticipated that RCUK will launch the second GCRF Collective Call in July 2017. Given the highly competitive nature of GCRF, and based on our present understanding of RCUK’s requirements for this next Call, we are supporting the development of bids an internal scoping process.


This note provides you with an overview of the Call, based on the knowledge we have to date, and the details of this internal process.


The information that is publicly available around the Call states an intention to establish a cohort of large-scale Global Challenges Interdisciplinary Research Hubs, which will be expected to deliver integrated and innovative international research programmes meeting the aims of Official Development Assistance (ODA). These flagship GCRF investments will bring together UK researchers and researchers from DAC list countries to work in collaboration to more effectively understand and address key development challenges, both across and between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Due to the complex nature of these development challenges, Hubs will be expected to incorporate new collaborations and partnerships to redefine how we approach development challenges in innovative, transformative and inter-disciplinary ways.


Overseas research organisations are not eligible to apply as the lead organisation to the call, but will be expected to play a very significant role in the development of and leadership within the Hubs.


It is our understanding that RCUK intend to fund between ten and fifteen Hubs, focussed on ‘innovation’ and with the ability to cut cross the Sustainable Development Goals, to provide an integrated approach. This could be, for example, a Hub that explores the interactions between Energy, Food, and Urbanisation. In addition, RCUK wishes to support Hubs that will address some of the ‘intractable but not impossible’ development questions that have not been tackled in the past.


We have been advised that GCRF forms part of the UK’s official development funding and this carries with it a responsibility for funded universities to play their part in delivering impact in DAC list countries , and will bring with it a high likelihood of future auditing with respects to outputs and outcomes. RCUK will therefore target funding at bidding groups with demonstrable credibility alongside innovative approaches, and will form a Review Panel consisting of experts from the UK and DAC list countries as well as policy users. Finally, in terms of deliverability, each successful Hub will be expected to demonstrate strong management and governance structures in the overseas research organisations, as well as at Warwick. Research impact, however, should be clearly weighted to overseas.


Specific details of the GCRF eligibility criteria can be accessed from the RCUK GCRF websiteand from the ODA GCRF Eligibility Guidance, which has been produced by the GCRF delivery partners and the Department for International Development.


The internal scoping process is being launched today, Tuesday 04 July 2017, to identify areas of strength and fit with the Call, with a view to establishing the strongest possible University bids that are aligned to the specific requirements of this Second Collective GCRF Call.


Outline proposals should be submitted on the attached form, by 5 pm on Tuesday 25th July 2017 to with the header RCUK_GCRF_NAME (with NAME being the PI). HoD approval is required.


Those interested are strongly advised to check their proposed projects against the ODA GCRF Eligibility Guidance. Certain themes have emerged in the feedback to unsuccessful GCRF applicants**, and these are listed below for information.


An academic panel will receive the submitted pro-formas with a view to supporting interested PIs to form strong bids. During this process new collaborations may be suggested by the panel if a strong potential for this emerges from the bids received.


R&IS support is available via the usual departmental contacts, and I can also be contacted with any queries at or 07823 362 145.


Best regards,



** Themes emerging from unsuccessful GCRF proposals include:

  • Imbalances between the potential of proposals to support both transformative research and deliver benefits/impact in DAC countries;
  • A lack of detail and insufficient consideration with regards to the proposed impact on the DAC country
  • Lack of consideration of the practicalities/ethics/risks of working in the partner country;
  • Insufficient attention given to knowledge bases and capabilities within DAC countries and/or insufficient reflection on risks of exporting values or ‘solutions’ to local countries and/or missed opportunities for greater, more critical interrogation of development policies/ strategies/approaches in relation to the proposed DAC country context;
  • The relationships between collaborators seemed artificial, particularly in terms of the partners in DAC countries;
  • Proposals did not sufficiently consider the need for humanities/social sciencesresearch within the disciplinary programme;
  • A failure to outline a broad strategy for legacy and sustainability beyond the duration of the grant, including in some cases of outputs or resources it was proposed to generate;
  • A failure to recognise existing/previous research in a similar area and/or how the proposed activities would add value to existing work and/or a tendency to overstate the originality of the activity proposed.

Scoping document


Sun 09 July 2017, 20:41 | Tags: news, GRPNews