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GCRF Foundation Awards for Global Agricultural and Food Systems Research

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 Global Agriculture and Food Systems. 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 £16.3M available for this call subject to the quality of proposals received. BBSRC is leading and manging the call on behalf of the other funders.

The aims of GCRF Foundation Awards for Global Agriculture and Food Systems Research are to:

  • deploy existing UK research strengths and/or emerging capabilities in specific research area(s) relevant to agriculture and food challenges in Low and/or Middle Income Countries (LMICs)
  • promote multidisciplinary approaches in addressing the challenges
  • encourage, where applicable, research partnerships between UK research teams and LMICs
  • build on any existing UK-LMICs links
  • develop new or enhanced research capacity for addressing the agriculture and food challenges of LMICs

Funding is available for research activities with potential to rapidly advance knowledge that addresses the above aims. It is envisaged that, in many cases, foundation award funding will enable the building of necessary multidisciplinary research capability, at the same time as building towards the generation of relevant new knowledge.

Possible uses of foundation awards might include elements of, but are not limited to, the following:

  • exploratory or pump-priming research studies for investigation of new approaches and/or generation of preliminary data
  • developing new (particularly multidisciplinary) research collaborations or partnerships
  • extending the scope of existing research for wider application in LMICs
  • creating effective pathways to impact for the application of research in LMICs
  • sampling and/or data collection, where it includes some additional research analysis and integration
  • development or modification of relevant research tools or techniques
  • enhancing capability and/or capacity (e.g. placements and/or two-way exchanges)

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 in the region of 24 months duration.

The call document highlights five broad – interrelated and interconnected – research challenges as follows, each of which provides considerable scope for a variety of approaches:

  1. Systems that deliver safe and nutritious food for all (including interactions with local cultures of consumption)
  2. Resilience of the food system to climatic variability (including engagement with local stakeholders and traditional agricultural and food practices)
  3. Reducing losses throughout the agri-food chain and reusing unavoidable food waste (including participatory, social, cultural and service design innovation)
  4. Agriculture within the context of the wider landscape (including interactions with indigenous knowledges, practices, livelihoods and cultures)
  5. Urban agriculture (including connections with urban design and cultures)