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UKRI/AHRC GCRF Urgency Grants Scheme Highlight Notice for Innovation Awards / Case Studies on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities

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UKRI/AHRC GCRF Urgency Grants Scheme Highlight Notice for Innovation Awards / Case Studies on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), working in partnership with the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Multi Partner Trust Fund (UNPRPD MPTF) is pleased to announce a new funding initiative for Innovation Awards / Case Studies on the impacts of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This call aims to bring together UK and Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC) cross-disciplinary research expertise with UNDP and UNPRPD members country offices as relevant, governments, civil society (in particular those representing persons with disabilities) and persons with disabilities to co-produce a cluster of innovation awards / research case studies.

The aim of these awards / studies is to build the evidence base about the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on persons with disabilities, to explore the development of new participatory, co-produced and other mixed research methods and approaches drawing across disciplines for undertaking situational analysis in developing countries and to inform the development of strategies for disability inclusive recovery from the pandemic and ‘building back better’ to a more disability inclusive world.

Discussions with UNPRPD have identified that as the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global public health emergency, there is a need for collaborative research that can help LMIC countries develop national frameworks for disability inclusive recovery. This research need includes supporting innovative research approaches to enhance situational analysis, reflecting local cultural contexts and co-produced with persons with disabilities, on the status and experience of persons with disabilities and how they have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and its wider societal impacts, for example, on sustainable livelihoods, delivery of services, human rights, cultures, and behaviours. This includes the repercussions of responses to the pandemic on persons with a wide range of disabilities, the intersections with gender, age and other inequalities and the strategies for supporting disability inclusive recovery within the medium to long term.

Applicants may apply for funding of up to £100,000 (fEC) over a period of up to 6 months in duration.  Eligibility and funding for this highlight notice is the same as for the AHRC GCRF Urgency Grants Pilot scheme. The Principal Investigator must normally meet standard AHRC eligibility criteria and awards will normally be made to a UK research organisation eligible to receive AHRC funding. Proposals may only be accepted from LMIC country Principal Investigators from an organisation that leads or has previously led and held UKRI grants as the lead research organisation. All applications led by organisations outside of the UK must be able to provide a UKRI grant reference for a grant led and held by the organisation or they will not be eligible to apply as the lead research organisation under this highlight notice.

Proposals for innovation awards /case study research must focus on at least one LMIC/DAC List country amongst the 39 countries with which UNPRPD has established a joint national programme as detailed on the UNPRPD website, with the exception that we do not expect to fund projects focused primarily on China or India. We wish to fund innovation awards/research case studies addressing a range of different continents and LMIC contexts. Where appropriate, in addition to innovation awards /case studies focused on a single country,  awards/ studies could address regions within countries, cross-border areas or compare/ contrast several countries (this can include other LMIC countries as long as at least one of the countries of principal focus is a country with which UNPRPD has established a national programme).

In addition, we would particularly welcome proposals addressing any of the following three LMIC countries below with which UNPRPD has agreed inclusive country-specific COVID 19 response and recovery plans and situational analysis, to which the innovation awards /case study research funded through this highlight notice would enhance, complement and add value: 


2. Nepal

3. Zimbabwe

Projects funded under this highlight notice are expected to inform inclusive future planning at a national/regional level for recovery from the pandemic and to contribute to shared learning, experience and expertise across contexts to develop broader frameworks for building disability inclusive recovery and futures.

The AHRC is leading on this collaboration with UNPRPD MPTF on behalf of UKRI but this highlight notice is open to applications across all relevant disciplines and cross-disciplinary/ cross-Council proposals are welcomed. 

Full details on how to apply can be found in the highlight notice below which should be read in conjunction with the AHRC GCRF Urgency Grants pilot scheme call documents, particularly with regard to the eligibility requirements and guidance on costing outlines in that call documentation.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 22/09/2020

Closing Dates:

The deadline for Expressions of Interest for proposals under this highlight notice is 16:00 22 September 2020.

The deadline for full proposals for invited full proposals following the submission of an EOI is expected to be 16:00 10 November 2020

Timetable for Highlight Notice:

31 July 2020

Launch urgency highlight notice


22 September 2020

Closing date for submission of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) via Smartsurvey


w/c 29 September 2020

Feedback on EOIs / invitations to submit full proposals

10 November 2020

Closing date for invited full proposals to be submitted through UKRI Joint Electronic Submission Service (Je-S)

w/c 14 December 2020

Expert Panel meeting considers proposals

w/c 4 January 2021

Notification of outcomes of full applications


1 February 2021 (inclusive)

Projects start


February 2021

‘Inception meeting’ (virtual) for projects organised by co-ordination team

April 2020

Interim Reports / workshop (dates to be confirmed to award holders)

June- July 2021

Workshop to share results of projects. Projects end / report.

August 2021

Synthesis / Dissemination activities led by co-ordination team


How to make an application

Full details of this highlight notice are available below.

Interested applicants will be required to submit an Expression of Interest using this Smartsurvey Form. If the Expression of Interest is considered to fall within the scope of the scheme and this highlight notice, applicants will then be invited to submit a full application through Je-S (deadline 10 November tbc) for consideration through an accelerated peer review process (expert panel meeting).

Should applications be invited to submit a full application through Je-S, instructions on how to apply will be provided.

Further Information

Full details of this highlight notice are available here (PDF, 208KB).

AHRC GCRF Urgency Grants pilot scheme call documents are available here.


For more information please contact enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org


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