Joint UK Funding of Research Capacity Strengthening Initiatives

UK funders have a strong commitment to funding research capacity strengthening for development. UKCDR’s Research Capacity Strengthening Group brings together UK funders and practitioners to share, learn, connect and improve practice in research capacity strengthening (RCS).


This page highlights RCS for development initiatives jointly funded through two or more members of the UKCDR’s Research Capacity Strengthening Group.


UKCDR defines research capacity strengthening as: “Enhancing the ability and resources of individuals, institutions and/or systems to undertake, communicate and/or use high quality research efficiently, effectively and sustainably”. RCS will have effects at one or more of the individual, institutional, and environmental/systems level, as highlighted below.

Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

(Jointly funded by Wellcome and DFID, in partnership with the AAS)


AESA, the programmatic arm of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), is an agenda setting and funding platform established to accelerate scientific excellence, leadership and innovation in Africa. AESA delivers 12 major science, technology, and innovation programmes (including DELTAS Africa – see below) and strengthens research capacity through high-quality research management, in-country leadership, and mentorship and training opportunities.


RCS Level: Institutional, Environmental/Systems


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Africa Capacity Building Initiative (ACBI)

(Jointly funded by Royal Society and DFID)


The ACBI facilitates collaborative partnerships between research consortia in sub-Saharan Africa and research institutions in the UK. The initiative aims to strengthen the research capacity of universities and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting the development of: sustainable research networks, skills transfers between partner organisations, and a cohort of talented researchers through integrated scholarships.


RCS Level: Individual, Institutional


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African Research Leader (ARL) Programme

(Jointly funded by DFID and MRC)


The ARL programme aims to strengthen research leadership across sub-Saharan Africa by attracting and retaining talented individuals who will lead high-quality programmes of research on global health issues in the region. The ARL programme forms part of DFID and the MRC’s jointly funded portfolio of global health research and capacity strengthening activities.


RCS Level: Individual


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Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science Initiative (DELTAS)

(Jointly funded by Wellcome and DFID, in partnership with the AAS)


DELTAS Africa is one of the 12 science, technology and innovation (STI) programmes led and delivered by AESA. DELTAS is a capacity building programme developing scientific and research leaders in Africa. There are 11 DELTAS awards, each held at a lead country institution, but operating through a consortium of 54 partner institutions across West, East and Southern Africa, and together supporting over 500 training fellowships in biomedical and health research.


RCS Level: Individual, Institutional


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Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP)

(Jointly funded by Wellcome, UKRI/MRC, and DHSC, in partnership with the AAS)


In recognition of the need for common processes to reduce grant transaction costs, GFGP is developing a new standardised system for the financial governance of grant funding. GFGP aims to harmonise donor requirements, reduce the burden of multiple audits, and create a comprehensive database and consistent assessment system, all of which will save time and resources. It will act as a new international standard for the financial governance of grants.


RCS Level: Environmental/Systems


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Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPro Africa)

(Jointly funded by DFID, DHSC, UKRI and Royal Society, in partnership with the AAS)


ReMPro, launched in 2019, is aimed at strengthening institutional research management functions in Africa. ReMPro has identified four interconnected strands of research management (RM) it will target: (1) institutional leadership and support for RM, (2) the sustainability of RM functions, (3) commons standards and good practice for research management, and (4) developing individual capacities of RM staff. The overall goals of ReMPro are to address systematic level challenges at African institutions and create enabling environments for research.


RCS Level: Institutional


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