Professor Keith Gull FMedSci FRS, Panel Chair reflects on the success of the first round of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Networking Grants, and announces the launch of the second round. The first round of the scheme received a large number of applications, and after a competitive review process, we are pleased to announce that 40 high quality, novel and exciting networking grants have been funded. The awards cross the remits of the 4 National Academies, and span 18 countries. A list of these awardees can be found here. We would like to congratulate our awardees, and we look forward to hearing about the outcomes of these events.

With the launch of the second round of the GCRF Networking Grants scheme we wanted to offer some guidance to applicants, and reflect on  “What makes a strong application?”

 The Challenge

“Is this a real need for the overseas country? How can we best address this challenge?”

The GCRF aims to address key development challenges in Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries, and a key assessment criteria in this area is whether the applicants have placed the proposal in the context of the overseas country/countries. Strong applications are focussed on the challenges faced, and applicants are able to demonstrate that the proposed work is the most appropriate way to address these challenges.

In addition, applications must be compliant with the requirements for Official Development Assistance (ODA). Additional guidance for this has been provided here

The Network

“Which research areas do these challenges cross? Who are the most appropriate experts to include?”

The Global Challenge Areas are broad, and challenges tend to be underpinned by a wide range of issues. As such, it is expected that the networks will likely be interdisciplinary in nature. Successful applications cross subject area barriers, and build a coherent and logical network of experts to address the challenge area.

The Events

“How can we bring our team together in an effective way? What will our key milestones be?”

Given the nature of the scheme, we expect that the networks will be have a strong international focus and consideration must be given to the most effective way to bring the network together. The events proposed should be well-formed, varied and likely to create the intended outcomes. We expect that the majority of the award will be spent on event logistics, such as travel to the networking events, but also would encourage applicants to think about utilising additional tools which could strengthen the network, such as website, social media or online meeting facilities.

Future Planning

“What future funding/projects should we be aiming towards? How can we ensure that the network continues after the award has ended?”

We hope that successful applicants will apply for larger GCRF funding opportunities in the future, to ensure the initial work funded through this scheme continues. It is important that applicants demonstrate that they have considered the future of the network, and have detailed how the work will progress beyond the duration of the award.

The Networking Grants scheme is part of the Joint Academies Resilient Futures Programme delivered in partnership with the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. The scheme offers 1-year awards of up to £25,000 to organise networking events for pump-priming collaborations, generating new research ideas for addressing global challenges. We hope that successful applicants will build on these newly established networks to apply for larger GCRF programmes funded by the RCUK, National Academies and other programmes such as the Wellcome Trust and Bill & Melinda Gates funded initiatives.

The National Academies are delighted to announce the launch of this second round of the GCRF Networking Grants, and we look forward to working with you. The deadline for applications is 21 March 2018.  Please visit the webpage for further information or contact gcrfnetworking@acmedsci.ac.uk if you have any questions.


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