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UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) GCRF/Newton Fund Agile Response call to address COVID-19

Apply as soon as possible.

UK Research and Innovation is inviting funding proposals through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund which will directly address the negative impacts of COVID-19 across developing countries where communities are already vulnerable due to long-term conflict, food and water shortages and crowded living conditions.

This new call, which builds on the multidisciplinary partnerships formed through the two global funds to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, will consider proposals of up to 18 months for new funding as well as requests to re-purpose existing UKRI award funding on active GCRF grants.

COVID-19 is fundamentally a global crisis. The pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. While the epicentre of the pandemic is currently focused around Europe and the US, a growing number of cases are reported in Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South America and Asia with potentially serious social, economic and political consequences for these regions. Some of the poorest societies in the world will be the least prepared and most vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Other Low and Middle Income Countries may however have experiences, for example from TB / HIV / Ebola, of responding to epidemics from which they and the rest of the world can learn. 

UKRI will support excellent proposals which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear pathway to impact on policy or practice that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, response to, and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in a developing country context.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential for impact in developing countries.
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use.

The primary benefit of proposals should be to any Low and Middle income Countries (LMICs, Colombia is included) likely to be negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Applications for funding that do not, as their primary objective, benefit the welfare of low or middle income countries should apply instead to the UKRI open call for funding to address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

You will need to show that you can start work within 4 weeks of the funding being confirmed.

An individual can be Principal Investigator (PI) on only one bid at any one time. You may support others as co-investigator, as long as you have the capacity/bandwidth to do so without detriment to the project you lead.

You may be asked to become part of wider consortia or join with already existing efforts.

The organisers strongly encourage applicants from countries identified on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients (Colombia is included) to apply to and participate in this call. LMIC country Principal Investigators from an organisation that lead or have previously led and held UKRI grants and have undergone Je-S registration and due diligence checks are eligible to be lead applicants for this call. The LMIC-based organisation must be able to receive and manage funds from UKRI via a grant and must ensure their application complies with local regulations and has the necessary local approvals.

Researchers holding existing UKRI GCRF grants should in the first instance consider whether they could repurpose that funding to address the objectives of this call. You can apply to switch your existing funding here. Repurposing your existing grant is the quickest way to start the research.

There is no specific budget for this call. The organisers are interested in funding research of any scale that can demonstrate it will deliver impact during the lifetime of the project.

Support for applicants from outside the UK

This call will cover 100% full economic cost (fEC costs) for Principal and Co-Investigators from LMICs. This applies to Investigators from countries identified on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients (Colombia is on the list).

International co-investigators from countries not on the DAC list are permitted on proposals and this call will cover 100% fEC of costs for such collaborators. However, salary costs need to be clearly justified and their total cost of the proposal must not exceed 30% of fEC. International co-investigators from countries not on the DAC list are expected to make a significant contribution to their own research costs, including covering their own overheads.

Closing date: none – apply at any time

In parallel to this agile responsive call, a strategic ODA Cross-Departmental call is being explored by UKRI/DHSC/DFID for research proposals addressing COVID-19 in LMICs. This strategic call will be focused on specific health priorities outlined in the WHO R&D Blueprint COVID-19 Roadmap, addressing gaps identified in the current health research agenda through a consultative process that involved experts from across the world. For proposals likely to fit within this remit, please await further notice about this strategic opportunity before applying to the Agile UKRI call. Topics likely to be in scope are:

  • Epidemiological studies
  • Clinical characterization and management
  •  Infection prevention and control including health care workers’ protection
  •  Social Sciences in the Outbreak Response (access to health care services/vaccination, etc) NOT socio-economic generally

[Boletín SIUN 487, 21 de mayo de 2020]

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