Meeting Minutes

1. Strategic positioning ahead of the Spending Review

a) Update on Council and Office for Science and Technology:

A planned update on the Council and Office for Science and Technology could not be heard due to Sir Patrick Vallance sending his apologies. The Chair offered to brief the department on UKCDR’s relevant work.

b) International development strategy:

The Board was provided an update on the International Development Strategy being prepared by FCDO, which is expected to be published after the spending review.  They heard how discussions are moving from how ODA is spent to how different HMG departments can use their capabilities to deliver development progress. The strategy is currently framed with a geo strategic approach to development prosperity and stability and focuses on reinforcing the priority areas outlined by the Foreign Secretary in previous statements. The focus is on targeted spend, directing development assistance to the poorest countries. It recognises the complexity of supporting development in different places and acknowledges strategic considerations for the UK. The strategy aims to strengthen partnerships in East Africa and Pacific and use multilateral and bilateral approaches. It will undergo a consultation within and outside of HMG.

c) Arguments for aid-funded research:

The Board discussed how it could best provide evidence and help HMT ‘tell the story’ of research investments and impacts. Complementarity in relation to the Spending Review was identified as a particular challenge and the Board agreed that the Chair should engage with HMT at a high level, providing evidence of the strategic value of ODA R&D. A letter will be sent by the SCOR Chair to HMT presenting this case and to propose a follow-up meeting for the Chair and Jeremy Farrar with senior HMT representatives.

2. Opportunities for joint action – mplementation Research

The Board heard a presentation on the role of implementation/ operational research for public health in the context of COVID-19 and climate change in LMICs. Board members emphasised the need for adequate R&D investments into how impact to scale can be delivered, and the importance of the community to acknowledge previous failings and challenge itself. The Chair suggested further discussions around potential work by the Board and UKCDR in this area.

3. UKCDR projects addressing SCOR Board priorities

The Board heard that since the last meeting UKCDR has progressed several strategic projects and delivered against strategic priorities for Q1 for FY21/22.

A key achievement was the publication of the ‘UK-funded research on climate change and international development report’ in April 2021, the key output of the Climate Change project.  UKCDR, GloPID-R & the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition also joined forces to deliver a global research meeting under the theme ‘COVID-19 Research in Low & Middle Income Countries’. UKCDR and ESSENCE launched the Equitable Partnerships Resource hub and supporting blog. The COVID CIRCLE ‘Lessons learned funder consultation workshop’ and the COVID CIRCLE webinar ‘Learning from COVID-19 research response – Researcher perspectives’ were delivered in June.

4. SCOR Board membership

The Board heard an update on the appointment process for a successor to Prof. Jo Beall as Independent SCOR Board Member, who has concluded her term. Two candidates were proposed to be appointed as Independent SCOR Board members:  Prof. Ernest Aryeetey who is the Secretary-General of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, and Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi who is Executive Vice President of the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET). The selection panel proposed that two members are appointed instead of one as originally planned, given that both bring different, and highly valuable, skills and backgrounds.  The Board approved the appointment of both candidates.

5. UKCDR governance

Following Marta Tufet’s resignation from her position as Executive Director at UKCDR, interim planning and recruitment are underway.  John Kirkland has been appointed as Interim Executive Director for between 4 and 6 months.

The Board heard that current MoU agreements and corresponding funding for UKCDR will come to an end in March 2022. To provide continuity for UKCDR budget, work plan and staffing, the Board approved a one-year budget roll-over pro rata from 1 April 2022. Negotiations will begin towards a new 3-year funding MoUs. The UKCDR team is also starting to plan for a UKCDR strategy refresh.

An invitation will be extended to DEFRA as a non-funding representative either at the SCOR Board or UKCDR Officials Group level.



Marie Staunton CBE (Chair), Independent; Prof. Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, FCDO; Prof. Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC; Prof. Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust; Prof. Tim Wheeler  UKRI International Director (UKRI alternate); Prof. Fiona Watt; Chief Executive, Executive Chair, MRC (UKRI representative); Harriet Wallace, Director, International Science and Innovation, BEIS; Prof. Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC; Prof. Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies (Independent Member)


Prof. Christopher Smith, Executive Chair, AHRC (UKRI representative)

Presentations and invited guests:

John Reeder, Director of TDR & Director of Research for Health, WHO; Val Snewin, Head of Global Health Research Partnerships, DHSC (Officials representative); Nia Thomas,Private Secretary to the DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser (Observer); Dr Marta Tufet, UKCDR Executive Director; Henrike Grund, UKCDR Head of Operations; Mimoza Murati, UKCDR Executive Assistant (Minutes)