News article

UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) has found that since 2015 the UK has invested over half a billion pounds on climate change and international development research, according to a much-anticipated report published today.  

Climate change presents a challenge to sustainable development that is both complex and urgent. Without climate-informed development an estimated 100 million additional people could be forced into poverty by 2030.

At COP26, due to be hosted by the UK in November 2021, countries will be called on to make bolder science-based commitments to address climate change. Understanding the complex interactions between climate change and international development is essential if we are to meet both climate commitments under the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Research gives us the critical tools to do this.

To date, the UK has been a leading global funder of research on climate and international development.

UKCDR’s new report gives an overview of the collective UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Wellcome-funded offer on climate-development research since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Between 2015-2020, the UK committed £564.2m on ODA and Wellcome-funded climate-development on at least 694 research projects. This has led to significant impacts including shaping policy, innovative solutions to reduce emissions and build resilience, and strengthening research capacity, amongst others.

By providing insight into UK investments in research on climate change and international development, UKCDR aims to improve the coherence and visibility of these investments, inform future research priorities and support the UK’s engagement at COP26 on the important role of research and innovation. It also provides an early opportunity to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on the climate change and international development research landscape.

Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development said:

“Climate change is a significant global threat, with its impacts being greatest among the poorest in the world, and in each country. R&D has a critical role to play in generating the evidence and innovations needed to support the transition to sustainable clean growth, supporting countries and communities to be more resilient to the impacts that they are already facing, and building resilience for the future. Understanding the breadth and findings from the UK’s collective research is critical to helping ensure that we respond effectively to achieve sustainable development.”

Marta Tufet, Executive Director for UKCDR said:

“In light of considerable uncertainty on the future of the economy and UK aid funding for research, it is more important than ever to understand past and current activity to identify funding gaps or duplications, inform and direct limited resources to where they are needed most, and ultimately help strengthen the rationale for future investment.”

The report, policy briefing, and case studies can be found here: