ODA Research Funding

Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded research activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list and is administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective. The UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 

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    Funding Opportunities

The Global Challenges Research Fund - GCRF

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a new five-year £1.5 billion funding stream, announced as part of the Government’s 2015 spending review. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance commitment, to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries.

The fund, administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies, will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, will strengthen capability for research and innovation within both UK and developing countries, and will 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).

Newton Fund

The UK's Newton Fund money is classed as official development assistance (ODA) and has been allocated under Section 1 of the International Development Act 2002. The Newton Fund’s aim is to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of collaborating countries. The Newton Fund is administered through Research Councils and national academies.

In addition to the Newton Fund, International Relations manage a number of international funding opportunities to promote international activities and research partnership. Funding via these opportunities can lay the foundations for future ODA-compliant research activities.

Department for International Development (DFID)

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty, building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all of us which is firmly in the UK’s national interest. DFID run funding opportunities in development research, often in partnership with other agencies.


Since 2005, the ESRC has committed a large amount of funding to development research, leveraging funding from DFID and other funders, including other UK Research Councils. ESRC-DFID joint schemes fund world-class research on a broad range of topics.

Other information

Funding for global development research is increasing. The UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) hub can be used to explore and understand the main funding opportunities in this arena within the UK. The UKCDS is a group of 14 UK government departments and research funders working in international development.