‘Creating possibilities and giving hope’: on the GCRF frontline

UK Research and Innovation has announced a large cut to the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) as a result of the Government’s decision to reduce spending on international aid.

GCRF was established to target the best of Britain’s research effort at the big problems facing the world.

The University of Leeds has been involved in about 150 individual projects in more than 50 countries that have been funded by GCRF, or the associated Newton Fund. Both form part of UK Overseas Development Assistance. The projects have resulted in research collaborations around the globe.

One African scientist said: “GCRF creates an atmosphere of possibilities – giving hope to countless people.”

A farmer tending to his cropn Tanzania. Pixabay photo.

Tim Benton, Professor of Population Ecology at Leeds and Principal Investigator in the GCRF-AFRICAP project, said: “AFRICAP has co-developed interdisciplinary research spanning across agriculture and food systems, producing a comprehensive evidence base to help African countries reduce poverty and hunger whilst addressing the broader aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our achievements have relied heavily on relationships of mutual trust and respect, established through Africa-UK partnerships that Leeds has invested in since 2008. Cuts to GCRF funding will not only severely diminish our potential to deliver impact in our final year through iFEED, but will also be a devastating blow for international collaboration – especially in a year when the UK is claiming to be leading international efforts to combat climate change through COP26.”

Read the full story to see the impact of GCRF-funded programmes at the University of Leeds, including GCRF-AFRICAP.