Our work

Through mapping and bringing together key players, UKCDR provides a coherent picture of the UK’s spend on international development research. Doing so, we hope to harness the true power of UK-funded research to address the major challenges that confront our evolving world. 

What we do

  • Bring UK funders to the table

    We convene thematic funder groups – on health, research capacity strengthening, disaster research, epidemics, communications – providing a good basis for decision making by sharing who funds what, and working with funders on good practice.

    We have also been bringing together UK research funders to support coordination of the UK research funding response to COVID-19.

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  • Show the big picture

    Through mapping and analysis we are able to tell the whole story of UK’s collective work to address global challenges – such as climate change, the built environment, antimicrobial resistance – through investing in research.

    For example, we recently mapped UK research funding in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

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  • Develop good practice guidance

    Our networks bring decades of expertise of work at the interface of research and international development. We make the most of this experience by acting as a go-to source of information and knowledge for the international development research landscape, by producing best practice guidance, tools and resources, and by supporting our community to capture lessons learnt around areas of common interest.

    A recent example is our work on developing safeguarding standards and guidance specifically in the context of international development research.

    See our guidance and resources for:

Our priority areas

  • COVID-19

    We are working with our members to support coordination of UK research funding in response to COVID-19. 

    In particular, we have collaborated with GloPID-R to form COVID CIRCLE – COVID-19 Research Coordination and Learning. CIRCLE aims to provide coherence to funding efforts, connect networks of researchers, and collate learnings to inform future epidemic and pandemic responses with a focus on lower-resource settings.

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  • Enablers of research

    We are dedicated to supporting enablers of research for greater impact of UK-funded research for international development. We do this through working to improve research capacity strengthening, working with global funders to advocate for equitable partnerships in research and making research safe through our guidance for Safeguarding in International Development Research. 

    Working with our members to inform future approaches and investments to strengthen research capacity in low- and middle-income countries. 

    Aligning funders of international development research to raise safeguarding standards across the sectors

    Working with global funders to identify barriers, enablers and recommendations to support good funder practice in ensuring equitable research partnerships. 

  • Climate change and international development research

    We are working to understand the collective UK offer for research on climate change and international development, particularly leading up to COP26. 

  • Data on UK-funded research and innovation

    Improving data on research and innovation activities funded by UK Official Development Assistance (ODA).

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  • Supporting partnerships with Africa

    We have been proud to support the UK Government’s new and distinctive commitment to work alongside, invest in and partner with African nations. In particular, driving greater coherence and impact across UK’s investments in science, technology and innovation, as well as supporting long-term research partnerships between UK and African institutions. 

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  • Racism and inequality in international development research

Past priorities

  • Strengthening research on the built environment

    By 2050 two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. Many of which have not been built yet. UK research funders have acknowledged the need to engage with the built environment, given its intersection with and impact on some of the most critical challenges the world faces, climate change, poverty reduction, sustainable development and rapid urbanisation.

    We commissioned IIED to help us identify trends, knowledge gaps and opportunities in the built environment research space. The report also includes recommendations to UK funders how they can add value and maximise the impact of built environment research for international development.

  • Antimicrobial resistance in international development

    The rise in drug-resistant infections, caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites with increasing AMR, is an urgent threat to global health that has been projected  could claim up to 10 million lives by 2050. Investing in research and development (R&D) for drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tools as well as interventions that address the drivers of AMR (including prescribing) is central to global efforts to tackle AMR.

    In 2018/19 UKCDR analysed information on joint initiatives by leading global research funders based in the UK related to combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

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