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GCRF Foundation Awards for Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs)

The AHRC is partnering with the BBSRC, ESRC, MRC and NERC on a joint call as a part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to support multidisciplinary Foundation Awards for non-Communicable Disease. Foundation awards aim to be flexible, moderately sized, short to medium-term investments targeted towards novel research objectives – that address the challenges faced by the developing world. The five Research Councils involved have agreed to make up to £19M available for this call subject to the quality of proposals received. MRC is leading and managing the call on behalf of the other funders.

The aims of GCRF Foundation Awards for Non-Communicable Disease Research are to both address new research opportunities and develop capability and capacity to particular research areas.

Research Opportunities:

The call specifies that there are no areas of global NCD research which are so well developed that they are a lower priority for new funding. However, to illustrate the research opportunities, there are some overlapping areas where there are obvious gaps in knowledge and where UK research, in partnership, should be well placed to contribute. Areas of opportunity therefore include but are not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular and metabolic research
  • Cancers of high prevalence in LMICs
  • Mental health and neurocognitive development
  • Adolescent, maternal, and childhood health
  • Impacts of demographic/behavioural changes across the life-course (including food and nutrition, malnutrition, obesity and physical activity) and cultural factors, with a focus on maintaining health
  • Environmental change – urbanisation, rural change, climate change, environmental degradation
  • Technologies, designs and methods suited to LMICs – including opportunities for informatics, user-led service design in research and health policy support; biomedical technologies; new forms of data; research tools and methods

Capability Needs:

Research success will, in many cases, depend on sustained development of research capability in Low- or Middle- income partner countries around the research issue of focus. In many new research areas, initial funding support will often need to build capability at the same time as building towards new knowledge. Important areas are likely to include:

Foundation awards are moderately sized short-to-medium term investments. They are expected to vary in scale according to the nature of the research question and extent of the multidisciplinary aspects of the proposal. The total funding requested for each project is not expected to exceed £600k (80% FEC).

Awards are expected to start on 1 April 2017 and to in the region of 24 months duration.

  • Developing / enhancing longitudinal or cross-sectional population studies and sampling
  • Ability to study broader environmental exposures including Social and cultural influences and systems
  • Large scale data analysis
  • Capacity to join up data, align methods etc. across countries or regions to enable comparative studies or larger scale
  • Research collaborations, cross-cultural and public engagement and translational collaborations
  • Research skills and technical and management skills
  • Research instruments, standards and methods tailored to the culture, environment, or operational practicalities such as task shifting.