Russell Group briefing note on GCRF

17 March 2021

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is the UK’s flagship programme for international science diplomacy. Supporting over 400 unique partnerships in 85 countries around the world, the programme has allowed the UK to leverage its status as a leading scientific nation to build and deepen ties with key partner countries in order to address global challenges, build new markets for UK exports and improve global security and influence.

The 2020 Spending Review laid bare the difficult choices facing the Government as it deals with the health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The value of research and innovation in spurring economic growth was recognised by the Chancellor as one of the few areas to receive a multi-year settlement. However, the Spending Review also included a temporary adjustment to the UK’s aid spending and this has now translated into £120 million in cuts that will need to be applied to live R&D programmes, including the GCRF, within the next six months.

This means the immediate cancellation of ongoing projects that have been a key vehicle for advancing UK influence in R&D internationally for many years, helping to tackle pressing challenges in developing countries whilst building partnerships in new markets. The immediate withdrawal of the UK from these regions not only risks undoing years of hard work, but risks damaging the UK’s global reputationas an international partner for R&D.

Learn more about the GCRF with examples here:

Briefing note on GCRF (March 2021)

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