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£16.3M Global Agriculture and Food Systems Foundations Award call now open

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a new 5-year £1.5Bn resource funding stream, announced as part of the 2015 spending review, to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries. The GCRF will deploy the UK’s world-class research capability to address the challenges faced by the developing world. 


About the funding
The BBSRC, MRC, ESRC, AHRC and NERC are working in a co-funding partnership to support multi-disciplinary Foundation Awards in Global Agriculture and Food Systems. Foundation Awards aim to be flexible, moderately sized, short to medium-term investments targeted towards novel research objectives – that address the challenges faced by the developing world. Up to £16.3M is available for the Global Agriculture and Food Systems Foundations Award based on the quality of proposals received. BBSRC is leading and manging the call on behalf of the other funders with an anticipated BBSRC budget in the region of £12M and funding support from MRC, ESRC, AHRC and NERC.

This BBSRC led call in Global Agriculture and Food Systems complements the MRC led Foundation Awards strategies in Global Health Science – Beyond Infections, and Global Infections – Vision and Strategy; these other calls are also being co-funded substantially by BBSRC, and also by ESRC, AHRC and NERC.

The aims of GCRF Foundation Awards for Global Agriculture and Food Systems Research are to:

  • deploy existing UK research strengths and/or emerging capabilities in specific research area(s) relevant to agriculture and food challenges in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs)
  • promote multi-disciplinary approaches in addressing the challenges
  • encourage, where applicable, research partnerships between UK research teams and LMICs
  • build on any existing UK/LMICs links
  • develop new or enhanced research capacity for addressing the agriculture and food challenges of LMICs

Uses of Foundation Awards

Possible uses of Foundation Awards might include elements of, but are not limited to, the following:

  • exploratory or pump-priming research studies for investigation of new approaches and/or generation of preliminary data
  • developing new (particularly multi-disciplinary) research collaborations or partnerships
  • extending the scope of existing research for wider application in LMICs
  • creating effective pathways to impact for the application of research in LMICs
  • sampling and/or data collection, where it includes some additional research analysis and integration
  • development or modification of relevant research tools or techniques
  • enhancing capability and/or capacity (e.g. placements and / or two-way exchanges – within appropriate immigration frameworks)

Foundation Awards are focused on early stage work during which research questions can be defined and partnerships formed and translational approaches explored. Where proposals are founded on existing well developed research and relationships, applicants need to make it clear what is novel about the research and/or partnership.


The total funding requested for each project is not expected to exceed £600k. The resources requested should appropriately reflect the specific requirements of the proposed activity.Awards are expected to start on 1 April 2017. Due to the pump-priming and preliminary nature of the proposals it is anticipated that many applications will be in the region of 24 months duration. Requests for support for shorter (e.g. 18 months) or longer periods (36 months) will also be considered.


Research challenges

The scope of the challenge and associated research opportunities for the call highlights five broad – interrelated and interconnected – research challenges as follows, each of which provides considerable scope for a variety of approaches:

  1. Systems that deliver safe and nutritious food for all

  2. Resilience of the food system to climatic variability

  3. Reducing losses throughout the agri-food chain and reusing unavoidable food waste

  4. Agriculture within the context of the wider landscape

  5. Urban agriculture


Further information

Outline proposals deadline: 4pm on 22 June 2016

For full details please see the BBSRC website:




1 person has had something to say so far

Hi Guys,

New to the group and would appreciate connecting with a relevant person who could provide additional information on the application process. Also, our team is growing and seeking relevant professional with genome editing and plant biology expertise. Reach out if you are interested,

Thank you,
Posted on 02/06/16 03:10.

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