University success in Global Challenges Research Fund grants

The University is involved in 7 research grants as part of the £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The first phase of GCRF funding results have been released from three separate calls. The Medical Research Council (MRC) Foundation Award process has funded 41 novel, ambitious and distinctive research projects in non-communicable diseases and infections. This process, led by the MRC, was  supported by the Arts and Humanities (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences (BBSRC), Economic and Social (ESRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The Foundation Awards aim to improve the health and prosperity of low and middle-income countries through harnessing the UK’s research expertise.

Funding success

The MRC has funded two University of Liverpool-led projects including Dr Benjamin Makepeace from the Institute of Infection & Global Health whose research will focus on the rapid diagnosis of onchocerciasis, commonly known as ‘River Blindness’, using urinary biomarkers.

Michael Begon,  Professor of Ecology  in the Institute of Integrative Biology, has also been funded by the MRC for a project on the optimal control strategies for diseases which can be transmitted from rodents to humans in Brazilian slum settlements.

The Royal Society awarded GCRF grants to both Professor Matt Rosseinsky and Dr Tom Hasell from the Department of Chemistry.  Professor Rosseinsky will use the grant on research for New materials for photocatalytic water decontamination, while Dr Hassel’s award is for research into sulfur polymers for mercury filtration.

Collaborative projects

The University of Liverpool is also involved as a partner on many other institutions’ successful GCRF grants The University of Liverpool is also involved as a partner on many other institutions’ successful GCRF grants.

Professor Eric Fèvre from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global is a co-on a Leeds University project led by Dr Rupert Quinnell with Dr Nadine Rujeni from the University of Rwanda to develop a strategy for cysticercosis control in Rwanda to reduce the burden of epilepsy.

Professor Matthew Baylis also from the Institute of Infection and Global Health is co-investigator on a project led by Dr Lisa Reimer from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine focusing on detecting pathogens in waste from vectors such as ticks or biting insects.

NERC funded 21 projects from its Building Resilience call. Dr Neil McDonald from the Universityof Liverpool’s Department of Geography is a co-investigator on a Newcastle University project investigating  drought resilience in ecosystem services and rural communities in China.

Professor Rachel Williams, Chair of the GCRF Strategic Planning Group, commented on the successes within thise first phase: “It’s a really positive start to the Global Challenges Research Fund, Liverpool has done well in our key theme areas of infectious disease and advanced materials.  Increasingly, funding calls require both collaborative and interdisciplinary working and we are focusing on offering advice and support for our researchers to do this well”

The GCRF was announced as part of the Government’s 2015 spending review and is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance Commitment. Information on future funding opportunities for the GCRF is available at:

For further questions or queries about GCRF, please contact Strategic Projects and Partnerships Manager (International), William Mitchell, or Liz Prendergast,


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