Internal Research England GCRF support fund – call for small-scale projects

This call is for research projects aimed at pump-priming and pilot activities. Preference will be given to innovative and transformative projects. Workshops, conferences and capacity building activities may form a small part of proposals but should be supplementary to research. Specific calls for these activities will be launched in May (for events and activities scheduled between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021) and September (for events and activities scheduled between 1 February 2021 and 31 July 2021).


James Watkins, ODA Research Co-ordinator, EU & International Team


Monday 27 April 2020


Normally £30,000 to £75,000

Project timeframe 

Projects to start 1 August 2020 and finish by 31 July 2021 (maximum 12 month duration)


All activity must be ODA compliant, any proposals that do not meet this criterion will not be assessed by the panel. The application form includes several questions that will allow this to be assessed. However, applicants should consider this at an early stage. Full details of ODA compliance can be found on the Global Research website

If you are unsure of this, or wish to discuss your project informally before submission, please contact with a brief (150 word) lay summary of your proposal, and answers to the three ODA compliance questions:

  • Which DAC list countries are involved?
  • What development challenge/s have been identified in the DAC country/ies?
  • What are the economic or welfare benefits that the project will bring to the DAC countries (and beyond)?

The PI(s) must be a current employee of the University of Oxford, holding an academic post, or PI on a current research contract which continues beyond the duration of the proposed project.

Please note: Many departments have internal eligibility criteria, approval processes and other guidelines which applicants should follow.

College-based academics at the University of Oxford wishing to apply as PIs must apply via a department/faculty.
Please seek the endorsement of your head of department (or equivalent approval authority) before submitting the application. 

Application must be made through IRAMS

Eligible costs include directly incurred costs only (100% of costs including staff, travel, and consumables).



Application guidance

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Please provide details of project title, start date and end date. Please note that the maximum duration for projects under this call is 12 months (starting 1 August 2020 and finishing 31 July 2021). Shorter projects that fall within this time scale and the funding levels (£30,000 to £75,000) are also eligible. Any projects exceeding this duration will be automatically rejected.


Please provide details of all academic applicants from within the University of Oxford. External academics from other institutions should be included as 'Co-Investigators and Partners' in Section 3. 


Please provide details of all external parties involved in the project. These may be participants from other UK institutions, institutions in other countries, or participants from civil society, government or NGOs. Please also note if participation of these parties is confirmed. Please add details of further parties on additional sheets as required. Please indicate whether the partners are giving a direct or indirect contribution to the project. You should also indicate the role that these parties have played in developing the research proposal.


Please provide a brief summary of your proposal in lay terms that can be understood by a wide audience. You should avoid technical terms and focus on the development issue that your project seeks to address and the solutions (or contribution to solution) that the proposal provides.


Please provide details of the DAC countries that will be direct beneficiaries of your project (ie those countries where activities are based and where immediate impacts will be seen) and those DAC countries that are potential indirect beneficiaries (ie those countries that have similar problems where your solutions may also be applied).

The current list of countries can be found on the OECD website.


Please outline the development challenges that have been identified in the DAC countries. Benefits may not be immediate from the proposed project, but long term changes beyond the direct activities should also be described. Where possible you should indicate how potential stakeholders have contributed to identifying the challenges.


Please outline the economic or welfare benefits that will be created by the project. You may want to consider how the knowledge generated will be of benefit to different stakeholders. Benefits may not be immediate from the proposed project, but long term changes beyond the direct activities should also be described.


Projects should make a contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many projects may address multiple SDGs. Please indicate all that apply. 

Full details of the SDGs can be found on the UN website


This section should outline the context of the issue that is being resolved. Pay particular attention to explaining the specific problems affecting the country (or countries) on the DAC list.

You should also identify any previous work or studies that inform the proposed project (including activity carried out by the applicant, co-applicants and partners as well as any work carried out by third parties).

You should also explain what steps you have taken to ensure full and equitable participation of all relevant stakeholders (co-investigators, collaborators, participants, etc) in the development of this proposal.


Please state the aims and objectives of your project. These should be realistic and achievable both in the timeframe associated with the award and within the size of the funds requested.


This section should include a full description of your proposed activities towards addressing the development needs outlined in Section 6 and meeting your project’s aims and objectives described in Section 10. Please include all relevant elements of work that will contribute to the project.

Given the current situation regarding Covid-19 we encourage projects to seriously consider the appropriateness and necessity of travel as part of project proposals. If alternatives such as virtual meetings are possible these should be proposed in place of travel where appropriate.



Please include details of how your project will be delivered. You should describe the activities that you will undertake. This should include justification of significant project costs including staff time, travel and consumables. It is strongly advised to include milestones or a timeline that demonstrates how the project will be delivered on time. For example this may include how staff will be recruited where necessary, how equipment will be procured. Projects cannot be extended so it is important to ensure that project plans are realistic and there is an achievable plan to deliver what has been proposed.


Please describe what will happen beyond the life of the project. For example this may include plans for further funding bids to external funding bodies, plans for wider dissemination or replication in other countries. If this project is a stand-alone project then please also state this clearly and why this is the case, and explain how you will utilise/disseminate findings so that the impacts reach the beneficiaries described in Section 8.


Please provide details of any ethical review requirements. Even projects that do not include a formal ethical review may have ethical implications arising from their proposed activities, or the potential benefits arising from them. These considerations may include negative impacts on people or the environment. Where ethical issues are identified you should indicate how these will be mitigated. If there are no ethical implications of your project please indicate this.


UKRI now requires that all GCRF project proposals include a gender equality statement in applications. Your statement should outline the meaningful yet proportionate consideration you have made as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities. This may include:

  • measures that have been included to ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people of different genders to be involved
  • the expected impact(s) of the project (both positive and negative) on people of different genders
  • any impacts that the project will have on relations between people of different genders and people of the same gender
  •  how any risks and unintended negative consequences for gender equality will be avoided or mitigated against, and monitored
  • whether any relevant outcomes and outputs are being measured, and with data disaggregated by age and gender where disclosed

Where these issues do not arise from your project, please state this and clearly explain why this is the case.


Applicants are asked to include consideration of the risks that may affect successful delivery of their projects. While this is not designed to be a formal risk assessment process, applicants are encouraged to consider issues which may limit the capacity to deliver successful projects. These issues may include:

  • environmental factors
  • activities that may be threatened by external factors such as conflict
  • risks associated with partners / collaborators (such as financial due diligence limitations)


Please provide detailed costings of the elements that you are requesting from this fund for your project. 

Please note that projects will be assessed on value for money, so costs should be both directly relevant to your proposed project and realistic in relation to the contexts where project elements will be delivered. You are encouraged to indicate large areas of expenditure in your project description (Section 11).


Please include any other information on budgets for this project, including elements that are not funded as part of this application, such as PI time, departmental contributions or contributions in kind.


Projects should have received endorsement/approval. Please ensure that this is the case and that the project and involved activities have been endorsed by the appropriate head of department or chair of faculty.

For early career researchers you are encouraged to include a statement of support from a senior researcher.


Please indicate any conflicts of interest or other areas of concern for your project.


Internal funding