Joint UK Funding of Global Health Research Initiatives

UK funders have a long history of funding global health research.

UKCDR’s Health Funders Forum members – ranging from UK government funders to philanthropic actors – each bring a wide range of complementary expertise to maximise the impact of UK investments in global health research.

Working together, they are setting out to improve the health and well-being of low and middle-income countries through a range of jointly funded initiatives.

UKCDR convenes funders to provide a platform for information sharing and where required offers additional support for the development of these initiatives.

Joint Health Systems Research Initiative

(Jointly funded by UKRI/MRC, DFID, ESRC and Wellcome)


In 2011/2012, with our members, UKCDR commissioned a background paper of health systems research and held a workshop to help design the Joint Health Systems Research Initiative (JHSRI). The JHSRI was launched in 2013 to generate cutting-edge research to strengthen and improve health systems in developing countries. Since the launch of this initiative, nine calls have been launched.


Read more here

Maternal and Neonatal Health Research

(Jointly funded by UKRI/MRC and NIHR/DHSC)


In 2018, we convened a joint funder group on maternal and neonatal health (MNH) research and undertook landscape analysis of UK investments in MNH. This led to the launch of a £10m joint funding call between MRC and NIHR/DHSC in 2019, and the development of an overview of future research priorities. The call aimed to fund research which addresses the burden of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).


Read more here

The Joint Global Health Trials

(Jointly funded by DFID, Wellcome, UKRI (MRC and ESRC) and  NIHR/DHSC)


The Joint Global Health Trials was launched in 2010 to generate new knowledge about interventions that will contribute to the improvement of health in low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). The scheme primarily funds randomised control trials and focuses on late-stage clinical and health intervention trials which evaluate efficacy and effectiveness. Since its inception, nine calls have been launched.


Read more here


Adolescent Health Research in LMIC Settings

(Jointly funded by DFID, UKRI/MRC and ESRC, NIHR/DHSC)


In 2016, UKRI (MRC and ESRC) and DFID ran a pilot programme focusing on implementation research for improved adolescent health in LMICs. Following the success of the pilot phase, NIHR/DHSC joined the funding scheme and launched a follow up phase for this activity. In total, approximately £14m has been committed.


Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC)

(Jointly funded by DFID, NIHR/DHSC and Wellcome)


R2HC is a strategic partnership between DFID, NIHR/DHSC and Wellcome, which aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health information in humanitarian crises. They fund research partnerships which bring together academic institutions and humanitarian practitioners to ensure research is academically rigorous and informed by local needs.


Read more here

Zika Rapid Response Initiative

(Jointly funded by UKRI/MRC, Wellcome and the Newton Fund)


During the 2015/16 Zika outbreak, UKRI/MRC, The Newton Fund and Wellcome provided £3.2m for the launch of the Zika Rapid Response Initiative to support the research on transmission of Zika. This initiative funded 26 projects across several countries including Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Cape Verde, Kenya and Uganda.


Read more here

Zoonoses & Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS)

(Jointly funded by UKRI (BBSRCESRC, NERC, MRC) DFID and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory)


Through ZELS, six UK funders have jointly provided £23.5m of funding to fight against zoonotic disease and reduce the impact of zoonoses on people in LMICs and their livestock. Since its inception, 11 projects have been funded involving 19 UK institutions and 30 overseas institutions (including 15 PhD studentships), with research spanning 10 countries across Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.


Read more here