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The Division's seeking new proposals for research incubators aligned with the Global Challenges Research Fund themes (GCRF). The incubators will be led by academics with permanent academic/research appointments, interested in driving the development of interdisciplinary research collaborations with colleagues within and outside their own department at Oxford, and in other universities.

Robert Hope

The division will make between one and three awards for incubators lasting for 12 months. Funding of between £40,000 and £60,000 is available per GCRF-themed Incubator, this funding will be used to support coordination, networking and development activities.

The GCRF is a new five-year £1.5 billion funding stream which aims to harness the UK’s scientific expertise to tackle some of the world’s most pressing development challenges.  It is therefore strategically important to enable Oxford’s Social Sciences researchers to position themselves optimally to respond to these calls, enabling multi-disciplinary and multi-partner research activity on this scale. For this reason, the division will use the Fell incubator theme funding to develop research capability and collaborations in this area, to maximise benefit from the GCRF funding stream.

The GCRF themes are being developed in consultation with the DfID, reflecting feedback from international partners, other global stakeholders and experience working within developing country contexts. Crucially, as GCRF aims to address development challenges, the research undertaken and delivered through this funding must fall within the definition of Overseas Development Assistance, defined as “research directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. The costs may still be counted as ODA if the research is carried out in a developed country.”  The GCRF themes will be confirmed later in the summer but the areas currently include:

  • Health: To tackle diseases, strengthen health systems and reach the worlds’ most vulnerable.
  • Clean Energy: To provide access to clean energy, including new technologies and the behavioural insights required for successful introduction to developing countries.
  • Sustainable Agriculture: To improve nutrition and food security, support technological innovation, and increase resilience to climate change.
  • Conflict and humanitarian action: To provide new insights and approaches for preventing conflict and violence, build stability and strengthen humanitarian action.
  • Foundations for Inclusive Growth: To understand what works best for developing countries to build the foundations for economic development - macroeconomics, institutions, innovation and private sector growth, cities and infrastructure, education systems, jobs and skills.
  • Urban Living: To enable future cities to support strong regional and national economies, in order to be resilient, with the ability to adapt and thrive in response to environmental, economic or social change.
  • Resilient Systems: To provide new insights into resilient systems for adapting to climate change, natural hazards, and future disaster anticipation.

The application process will be run through the next termly John Fell Fund round. Further information is available at: www.socsci.ox.ac.uk/services/research-and-impact/incubator-themes