GCRF Network Plus call

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We're holding town hall meetings in Birmingham, Edinburgh and London to explain all three of of our GCRF Collective Programme calls. Fill out our smart survey if you're interested in attending.

As part of the UKRI GCRF Collective Programme, AHRC will be announcing three calls in January 2019 for large-scale, Network Plus, collaborative awards for international development. The calls will be inviting proposals targeting the following areas:

  1. Preventing Conflict, Building Sustainable and Inclusive Peace
  2. Protection in Contexts of Conflict and Displacement
  3. Education in Conflict and Crisis Research.

These calls are designed to be a part of an interdisciplinary programme delivered by UK Research and Innovation and steered by the GCRF Challenge Leaders. Whilst the AHRC is leading on these three calls, the Network Plus model is intended to support cross-disciplinary working and applicants from all relevant disciplines are encouraged to apply. Proposals will be expected to be challenge-led, internationally collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature.

These three calls will deploy the ‘Network Plus’ funding model, similar to that used under AHRC’s Area-Focused Network Plus call with funding of up to £2 million and up to 4 years duration available for each Network Plus award.

Awards will be administered by a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding but will be expected to involve international co-investigators and/or equitable partnerships with developing countries and to run calls open to LMIC-led research applications.

A number of Network Plus awards will be supported under each call and all the funded Network Plus awards supported will be expected to work together collaboratively, within and across themes, and with other relevant research awards in the relevant research portfolios.

The Network Plus model provides opportunities to develop strong and equitable partnerships with low and middle countries and to bring together expertise across disciplines and research organisations to address a set of integrated development challenges. Once established each Network plus award will be expected to issue open calls for research projects bringing in wider expertise and partnerships to support the development of their research agenda.

The Network Plus awards will be expected to support approaches which reflect specific cultural and development contexts, are responsive to local research, policy and practice needs, and provide the foundations for sustainable capability development and impact. Visit our GCRF Network Plus programme page for examples.

The application process is expected to be in two stages with the deadline for Outline proposals in March. There will then be further engagement with those invited through to full submission stage, expected to be in summer or early autumn 2019. Successful Network Plus awards will be expected to start in early 2020.

Network Plus applications under these calls may only be submitted by a UK research organisation eligible to manage Research Council grants, but can involve international co-investigators and should involve extensive international partnerships and collaborations. Applications must be ODA compliant.

In addition to these Network Plus programmes there will also be a number of research programmes delivered by UKRI and other partners (such as DfID and the British Academy).

Further details of these research programmes will be published in due course.

Preventing Conflict, Building Sustainable and Inclusive Peace

Addressing a key priority within the GCRF conflict and forced displacement portfolio, this call forms part of a collaborative programme with the British Academy and other Research Councils. This call will seek to strengthen the evidence base for effective and contextually sensitive policies and programmes that promote conflict prevention, and enhance positive peacebuilding. It will focus on the need for prevention approaches that address long term drivers of conflict and instability in Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations (FCAS), as well as on the potential transformational effects that prevention strategies can have on individuals and groups who have the propensity to mobilise towards violence.

Key research themes under this call are expected to include:

  • integrated risk assessment, including understanding the drivers of conflict, and risk based approaches to prevention (e.g. targeting, early warning systems etc.)
  • people and community centred approaches and building societal prevention capabilities, including role of civil society organisations (CSOs), citizen engagement, community co-production and local actors, and empowerment of under-represented groups
  • addressing grievances from difficult pasts, access to justice and understanding structural factors underpinning grievances as well as innovative approaches to mediation, dialogue processes, restitution, reconciliation, rehabilitation of combatants, and transitions from conflict
  • tackling horizontal inequalities as a part of prevention and peace building, including interactions with issues around gender and other inequalities, sustainable livelihood development, building resilience, voice, governance and access to power.

Key cross -cutting themes are likely to include:

  • developing a better indicators and methodologies for understanding and monitoring success
  • building on learning from the past
  • supporting more effective translation from the local to the global, including between diverse conflict, cultural and language contexts etc.
  • fostering inter-connections & integration, exploiting synergies, understanding how approaches and initiatives work in combination, avoiding misalignment or unintended consequences.

A key feature will be to explore the interactions and inter-connections between key factors in the development and dynamics of conflict which cut across the GCRF portfolios- such as urban exclusion, health inequalities, unemployment, food insecurity, environmental stresses, low literacy levels and gender inequality.

Protection in Contexts of Conflict and Displacement

Developed as a part of the GCRF conflict and forced displacement portfolio, this call forms part of a collaborative programme with DfID, ESRC and other Research Councils. This call will support the building of an evidence base on humanitarian protection of people affected by conflict, with an emphasis on the protection of the most vulnerable. The call will invite contextually-informed research addressing the challenges of how to effectively affirm protective rights and avoid/reduce/mitigate physical or psychological harm to conflict-affected people, including displaced populations, in need of assistance.

Key interconnected themes for this call are expected to include:

  • exploring the social, political, economic and cultural factors that are conducive to restraint from violence amongst different actors
  • understanding the impact of local protection mechanisms and the opportunities and challenges faced by affected communities in protecting people, property, services, human rights and identities, and wider social, cultural, linguistic and heritage capital and assets in times of armed conflict
  • impact of legal recognition and regimes on protection
  • role of targeting, assessment of protection risks and effective protection of vulnerable communities
  • changing dynamics of protection in protracted conflicts, including how protection conditions, triggers, and activities change over the course of a protracted conflict
  • interactions between protection and South-South displacement including prior to displacement, along the journey, and at the destination.

The call will seek to fund a portfolio of Network Plus awards that encompass a wider range of humanitarian contexts, geographical locations, social, cultural and historic contexts and conflict/humanitarian settings, allowing for comparative perspectives and learning, ‘south to south’ capability development and knowledge exchange and policy relevant outcomes. As a part of this collaborative programme in partnership with DFID the AHRC also expects to issue a targeted call early in 2019 for smaller scale research projects (projects expected to be for up to £0.5 million and up to 24 months in duration).

Education in Conflict and Crisis Research

Developed as a part of the GCRF portfolios in both education and conflict and forced displacement, this call forms part of a collaborative programme with DfID, British Academy, ESRC and other Research Councils. The purpose of this call is to build evidence on the role and delivery of education in diverse contexts of conflict and protracted crisis, to ensure quality education opportunities.

Research themes for the call are expected to address a range of issues around:

  • education delivery, access and quality during conflict and emergencies, including responding to the needs of children, women and girls and other specific crisis affected groups (e.g. displaced, ex-combatants,  injured, orphaned, traumatised, marginalised, etc.), the potential opportunities offered by innovations in service re-design, digital and other technologies and interactions with issues of humanitarian protection
  • the role of education in building future peace and stability and addressing issues such as cultural identity and indigenous knowledge development, empowerment, difficult or conflicted heritages/pasts, behaviour change and sustainable livelihoods.

Key cross-cutting aims for the Network Plus call will include: building in-country research capacity in this field; diversifying and amplifying local voices involved in debates about education; strengthening the Education in Conflict and Crisis research community globally, including support for early career researchers; and building evidence that will inform policy and practice with the ultimate goal of more children and learners gaining access to better quality education in contexts of conflict and protracted crises.

Town hall meetings

AHRC will be holding a series of town hall meetings to explain the ambitions for these three specific Network Plus calls in more detail and discuss how they fit within the wider GCRF Collective Programme.

The town hall meetings to discuss the three network plus calls will take place on the following dates:

If you are interested in attending one of these meetings, please complete the following survey detailing your interest in attending and relevant expertise. Please note each town hall meeting will discuss each network plus call and consist of the same agenda. Attendance at the Town Meetings is not a requirement for applying. AHRC will make any materials presented at Town Hall meetings available and will publish an FAQ document if significant issues of clarification emerge from these meetings.

AHRC will inform those who have who been allocated a place at one of the Town Hall meetings through the EOI process during the week commencing 28 January 2019. In the event of oversubscription, AHRC may limit the numbers attending from particular institutions or teams and will prioritise expressions of interest from researchers who express a strong interest in submitting a Network Plus application under the three calls above.

Please note that the AHRC is not able to provide travel and subsistence or other funding support for attendance at these Town Meetings.

UKRI will be holding additional town hall meetings in early 2019 covering the wider Collective Programme. Details will be published on the UKRI GCRF Collective Programme page as they become available.

Opening Dates

Call Opens: TBC

Closing Dates

Open - No Deadline

More details to follow.

How to make an application

More details to follow.

Further Information

More details to follow.


The AHRC work with the UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS) to deliver all of our funding activities. All queries regarding eligibility for funding and applications in progress and also queries regarding current awards, should be directed to the SBS team dealing with your subject area using the contacts page

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