UCL Research


Global Research Funding

These pages detail how to identify and develop strong research proposals for global research funding in Low and Middle income countries. This includes support and advice for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded research activity.

Sign up to our Global Research Funding Bulletin


Covid-19 and Global Research

Find out more about the support available for UCL's research community to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on grants involving partners in LMICs.

Discover if your research is ODA compliant

Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded research activity focuses on outcomes which promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

ODA is administered using the promotion of the economic development and welfare of low and middle income countries (LMICs) as its main objective. To be counted as ODA, all activities (research or otherwise) must qualify under rules set down by the OECD.

To be ODA-eligible, the OECD states that research projects should be 'directly and primarily related to the problems of developing countries'.  ODA must be embedded in your project from the beginning, and not added as an afterthought.

Key questions to consider when determining whether your proposal is ODA compliant:

  • Is the project or activity addressing the economic development and welfare of one or more LMICs?
  • Is this its primary motivation?
  • Is the LMIC in question on the OECD-DAC list?
  • Is the primary beneficiary either developing countries or developing and developed countries?
  • Is the country likely to be remain on the DAC list for the entire timescale of the funding?

Which countries are eligible for funding?

Only countries which are listed as Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries on the OECD DAC list are eligible to receive ODA funding. The DAC list is compiled by OECD, based on per capita GNI. DAC locations graduate from the list if they remain high income countries for three years.

Planning and conducting international research

Overseas Research Roadmap

This roadmap sets out the processes involved in planning and conducting international research. The roadmap highlights the potential problems researchers might come across and where to find the relevant policies, requirements and appropriate advice within UCL. This is not meant to be an all-exhaustive compendium; rather it serves to highlight the most imporant processes and issues.

UCL LMIC Toolkit

The UCL LMIC Toolkit collates UCL operational information relating to overseas research for the UCL community. This resource will support both academic and professional services staff who undertake work in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), and those with partners based in LMICs. It aims to guide staff when they apply for, set up, run, and close research projects.
Working in an overseas context generates additional issues not faced when working with UK partners.  This toolkit provides an understanding of the research lifecycle and guides readers to research support resources available at UCL. It is aimed at departmental professional services staff and academics who do not work in this context on a regular basis.

Feedback: This guide was developed by a small working group comprised of staff from across the institution with a range of job roles and consultation was sought from across a wide range of UCL departments and teams. We acknowledge that there may be additional information or other feedback you have about the information included and therefore we plan to produce an updated version of this tool in the 21/22 academic year taking account of any feedback.
Please send feedback to us using this online form.

UCL Research and Innovation Services (RIS) Researchers' Toolkit

A portal for research management information for applying for and managing research funding.

Gender Equality and International Development Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is updating its policies and processes for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund calls to ensure that funded research and innovation projects are fully compliant with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014.

Please contact the Global Research funding team if you require guidance or examples of gender equality statements for your research application.

Guidance documents

UCL Guidance Documents 

Please contact your relevant school research facilitator if you would like to see an example Pathway to Impact or ODA compliance statements.

ODA/GCRF project categorisation on Worktribe 

It is important that applicants now capture ODA funding sources selecting the relevant tag in worktribe.

Information on overseas partners must be now recorded in the Risk Assessment section. 

    Additional Information in order to decide if your project is ODA compliant

      Funding opportunities

      UCL Institutional Emergency Global Research Fund

      In light of the unprecedented cuts made by UKRI to ODA Research Grants, UCL has made available an Institutional Emergency Global Research Fund of up to £2m to eligible UCL Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-Investigators (Co-Is) to spend by the end of the UCL Financial Year, 31 July 2021.

      Find out more about the UCL Institutional Emergency Global Research Fund

      Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

      FCDO is the department of the UK government that manages UK's aid to developing countries and aims to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.  To view current funding opportunities, please visit FCDO’s online portal.  


      The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

      The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five-year £1.5 billion funding stream which will run from 2016-2021. It was announced as part of the Government's 2015 spending review and is a key component in the delivery of the UK Aid Strategy. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries.

      The GCRF is an initiative led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which operates across a number of delivery partners, including the UK Research Councils, UK Higher Education Funding bodies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.

      The GCRF will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. It will strengthen capability for research and innovation within both UK and developing countries, and will also provide an agile response to emergencies and opportunities.

      GCRF research should clearly demonstrate that the primary purpose is to promote the economic development and welfare of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and funding will be awarded in a manner that fits with official ODA guidelines.


      Newton Fund

      The Newton Fund aims to promote the economic development and social welfare of either a) the partner countries or b) through working with the partner country to address the well being of communities. It will do so through strengthening partner country science and innovation capacity and unlocking further funding to support this work. It is part of the UK's official development assistance (ODA). 

      The Newton Fund is administered through Research Councils and national academies.


      NIHR Global Health Research

      The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) fund health and care research and translate discoveries into practical products, treatments, devices and procedures. They involve patients and the public in all their work. 

      The NIHR have a limited number of ODA-eligible calls each year.


      Ross Fund

      Ross Fund is a £1 billion programme which will run between 2016-2021. The programme will will develop, test and produce new products to help combat serious diseases in developing countries. 

      Over the period of the programme, approximately £400 million will be used for research, managed by the Department of Health (DH) with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID). 

      The key focus areas of the fund are:

      • Anti-microbial resistance
      • Infectious diseases with epidemic potential
      • Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).


      UUKi Gateway to international opportunities

      The Universities UK 'Gateway to international opportunities' is a regularly updated​ depository of funding opportunities for international research collaboration and knowledge exchange, aimed at UK based researchers/institutions.


      Sign up to our Global Research Funding Bulletin

      Due diligence

      Recipients of ODA funding and those working with overseas organisations based in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are required to carry out appropriate due diligence checks on third parties who undertake activates funded by a grant (overseas partners). Visit our Due Diligence page to find out more.


      Global Health at UCL

      UCL's work in Global Health has incredible breadth and depth - spanning all the schools, faculties and departments of the University. Details of the prominent centres of global health research within UCL can be found on the Global Health at UCL website, along with other useful related resources and information.


      Global impact of UCL research

      As London’s Global University, UCL is not only recognised for its academic excellence but in particular, its global impact. Find out how UCL research is making a difference to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.


      External support and information

      UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR)

      The UKCDR hub can be used to explore and understand the main funding opportunities in this arena within the UK. The UKCDR is a group of fourteen UK government departments and research funders working in international development.


      Universities UK International (UUKi)

      UUKi is the international arm of Universities UK, representing UK universities and acting​ in their collective interests​ globally. They​ actively promote universities abroad, provide trusted information for and about them, and create new opportunities for the sector. 


      Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)

      All UK aid spending for international development is scrutinised by the ICAI which contributes to the accountability of UK ODA spend by examining whether it is delivering value for money.



      If you would like further information on preparing a specific ODA application (including Global Challenges Research Fund) or on ODA in research in general, please contact your relevant school research facilitator.

      SLASH / IOE

      Henriette Bruun (Director of Research Facilitation) - h.bruun@ucl.ac.uk
      Jacob Leveridge (Deputy Director of Research Facilitation) - j.leveridge@ucl.ac.uk
      Steve Morrison (School Research Facilitator) - s.morrison@ucl.ac.uk

      Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/research/slashioefunding  |  Twitter: @UCL_SLASHIOE_RF


      Dr Becca Burns (Strategic Research Facilitator) - b.burns@ucl.ac.uk


      Kristina Kertova (Global Research Partnerships Officer) - k.kertova@ucl.ac.uk

      Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/slms/ovph/rco  |  Twitter: @rco_slms_ucl