THE FIRST PHASE of awards for the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) has been announced with a focus on funding projects that will tackle non-communicable diseases and infections affecting people in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
Led by the Medical Research Council (MRC), these awards are designed to foster partnerships between the UK and LMICs in global health research. In partnership with four other research councils, the MRC has allocated over £20 million to 41 short-term projects that reach across 39 different UK research organisations. The other councils are: The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Declan Mulkeen, Chief of Strategy at the MRC, stated: “The five research councils involved in the Foundation Awards have been working collectively to provide new and broader approaches to meet global research challenges. It is encouraging to see these projects tackling the broader environmental and economic factors affecting health as well as using new technologies to bring cost-effective treatments within reach.”
The University of York are among the UK research organisations awarded funding. Their project will be in partnership with Brazil, Sri Lanka, and India to understand the variability of leishmaniasis and why treatment fails for certain patients and in certain geographical areas. The University of Southampton, UK have also received funding to work in partnership with Cancer Research Malaysia to develop new immunotherapies for oral cancers that are common in Malaysia.
The next phase of awards from the GCRF will be announced in early 2017 and will be led by the BBSRC. This phase will focus on funding research in global agricultures and food systems.
Jack Redden, Reporter