Jennie Dodson describes how our new researcher and funding hubs will help researchers who want to use their knowledge and skills to tackle global development challenges.
UKCDS has just launched ‘Your Research: Science for Global Good’, a new researcher and funding hub encouraging researchers to consider how they could use their knowledge and skills to help tackle development challenges. From nanotechnology to behavioural science, we are highlighting the personal and societal impact of researchers who have re-orientated their cutting edge science for global development.
Professor Rachel McKendry, from the London Centre of Nanotechnology and Director of i-sense, is one of the researchers highlighted. Her team has partnered with the Africa Centre in South Africa to use their techniques for developing mobile phone-connected tests to link up people diagnosed with HIV with antiretroviral therapy services. The project has had a lasting personal impact and the tools are now also being used by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Having never worked in global development before, her first trip to the Africa Centre was a eureka moment:
“I came back [from South Africa] inspired to focus my future research on global health needs. I stopped worrying about publishing Nature papers, and started thinking about how my research could be translated to deliver impact in some of the poorest countries in the world, who suffer the greatest burden from infectious diseases.’
Alongside these inspiring examples the hub includes tips for building partnerships and FAQs for researchers starting out in global development. We’ve also created a funding hub with an overview of the major UK funding opportunities in research for development such as the Newton Fund, Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Wellcome Trust. It provides an overview of ODA criteria, countries each programme funds, major recurring funding calls and eligibility criteria enabling researchers around the world to navigate the UK funding landscape.
Development challenges are increasingly global and complex, from climate change and infectious diseases to the impacts of conflict and food security. These are some of the most intellectually challenging issues the world faces and to tackle them we need international collaborations, world-class research and input from all disciplines, working closely with local communities. We therefore need to widen the base of researchers engaging in global development challenges. In addition, the funding for research for development in the UK is increasing in size and variety. It is therefore an ideal moment for researchers who want to use their knowledge and skills to help tackle development challenges to engage.
What are we hoping to achieve?
By inspiring more scientists to consider how their research could be used to help solve global development challenges, supporting them to build partnerships and helping them to get funded, we hope this project will have a lasting impact on building the science for development community.
We are always looking for new case studies to highlight to inspire other researchers. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions.
Image credit: Maxim Berg via Unsplash