SFC ODA Global Challenges (GCRF) FY 2020-21

As academics working in ODA countries on Global Challenges projects, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and with disadvantaged communities across the globe. We recognise that universities, and the research and teaching that takes place there, have been part of a wider systemic framework that has seen minority voices silenced, and that has seen racism go unaddressed. In all our projects, with all our partners globally, we are actively working to promote academic practice that is centred upon equity and that acknowledges injustices with current structural privilege. We commit to continue to prioritise projects ​that support equitable attitudes and recognise that we still have more to learn together through our collaborations.

Please also refer to the University of St Andrews equality policy.

The MAIN CALL is now closed – if applicable, please see the Rapid Response and COVID-19 funding stream.

This funding is intended for interdisciplinary and/or collaborative research which addresses the challenges defined for developing countries in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The University has secured funding through the Scottish Funding Council for academic year 2020-21 as the third and final year of a 3-year strategy for projects to support cutting-edge research that promotes the economic development and well-being of countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. (The OECD DAC list is available on:  http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/daclist.htm)

The University is committed to supporting projects that are intended to make a real difference to the lives of people in ODA countries, particularly in countries on the Least Developed, Low Income and Lower Middle-Income DAC list[1].

The aim is to develop strong and enduring partnerships between the University and developing-country researchers to enhance the research and innovation capacity of both and to deliver substantial impact on improved social welfare, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

This funding will be open to new and existing applicants to SFC GCRF funding from all disciplines.

Projects can be up to £80k to cover the period early September 2020 – July 2021.

Applications are welcome from researchers who may not previously have considered the applicability of their work to development issues.

Please note that applications will not be accepted if pre-award due diligence has not taken place for monies outgoing to ODA collaborator(s). All due diligence paperwork has to be signed off by FAS and Research Integrity ([email protected]) before submitting your online application.

Priority umbrella themes are:

  • Energy and innovation
  • Global health and inequality
  • Sustainability and environmental change
  • Culture heritage and development (added in 2019)

Sustainable livelihoods, promoting justice and humanitarian action, and secure and sustainable food systems are relevant to each theme and, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities, cross-cutting issues of gender equity and rapid urbanization should also be considered.

Covid-19 is acerbating and making more visible the global challenges that our funding strategy seeks to address. It is part of the evolving context that will influence what individual projects are able to achieve in the 2020-21 funding round. Researchers should bear this in mind when designing research agendas, activities and drafting proposals.

Acceptable use of funds, as long as ODA compliance is met, includes:

  • Challenge-led interdisciplinary and collaborative research activity;
  • Capacity and capability building in the UK and developing countries (including strengthening partnership across Scotland with DAC countries);*
  • Visiting fellowships for colleagues from DAC listed countries (including those from academic, third sector, commercial and policy-focused institutions);*
  • Pump-priming activities to under-pin GCRF bids to other funders, including relationship building;
  • Small-scale equipment which will remain in the ODA-listed country;
  • Generating impact from research both within and beyond the sector;
  • Rapid response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

PhD studentships are advertised separately under a University of St Andrews scheme as they are not eligible for funding under the GCRF scheme.

*2020-21 we actively encourage projects that have built collaborative trajectories through previous rounds to generate opportunities for ODA award holders to share their experiences about new ways of facing global challenges. Proposals that give dedicated and extended time for ODA colleagues to build and develop their capacity by closely engaging with St Andrews colleagues are welcome.

Interdisciplinary applications and Scotland-wide collaborations will be particularly welcome. Please consult the RIS_GCRF team for advice on the joint funding agreements currently being developed across Scotland.

Projects led by post-doctoral researchers based at St Andrews are welcome but need to indicate the following elements: their own idea; one output as a result; engagement with St Andrews permanent staff; longer-term plans for sustainability of the research agenda.

Attention should also be given to the balance between St Andrews-based salary costs[2] and the costs and spend in the ODA country context. If appropriate, the overhead rate for DAC list country co-investigators is up to 20% of salaries and other staff-related costs (i.e. statutory contributions analogous to UK National Insurance or Superannuation contributions).[3].

Activities should be challenge-led and align with the GCRF Strategy and BEIS ODA Statement of Intent which were published at the end of June 2017:

Applicants are encouraged to consult the UKRI ODA Global Challenged Research Fund Guidance.

The UK Aid Strategy recognised that research and innovation has a critical role to play in tackling global challenges which most significantly impact upon developing countries. The report identifies the following major drivers of today’s development challenges:

  • The youth bulge
  • Urbanisation
  • Global health security
  • Fragility and conflict
  • Climate change

Funding will prioritise those areas where there is the strongest demonstrable expertise to deliver maximum benefits to the global poor and have the strongest pathways to impact. Applications should include anticipated outcomes and project aims and explain how these are directly and primarily relevant to addressing the problems of developing countries.

We encourage applicants, especially those applying for the first time to GCRF funding, to seek advice from members of the St Andrews Global Challenge Forum by contacting [email protected] in the first instance.

The deadline for applications is 20 July 2020 although rapid response applications can be made at a later date provided the spend date of 31 July 2021 can be met.

All spend on the grant must be completed by 31 July 2021.

[1] https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/DAC_List_ODA_Recipients2018to2020_flows_En.pdf

[2] The fund is not intended to support the following costs:

  • Salary costs for St Andrews’ permanent academic or professional staff
  • Non-ODA estates and indirect costs
  • PhD / Masters fees
  • Publisher Open Access

[3] Indirect costs may not be charged on non-staff related direct costs, e.g. equipment, consultancies and conferences or travel and subsistence. Please note that only DAC List Country Co-Investigators are eligible for 20% of international salary related costs as overheads/indirect costs and that this does not apply to non-DAC list country Co-Investigators. If a co-investigator is from a country flagged as likely to graduate from the DAC list during the course of the project this should be treated as a country NOT on the DAC list.’