ODA research and innovation and NERC

12 July 2016

The Chancellor's 2015 Autumn Statement announced that over the next four years there will be progressively more funding allocated to research for international development, termed Official Development Assistance (ODA) research.

Western Ghats mountains, India

Funding for ODA research will be principally through the new cross-research council Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), an expanded Newton Fund and the research funds of the Department for International Development (DFID).

The Global Challenges Research Fund provides a powerful and exciting opportunity for the UK research community to address major challenges facing the developing world. The UK environmental science community are well placed to compete successfully for these new international development funds. Only small amounts of the UK's ODA environmental research funding will be identified and allocated within NERC's strategic research budget. The majority will be funded from sources outside of NERC's budget. Researchers considering submitting ideas for NERC highlight topics and strategic programme areas should consider carefully whether ODA-eligible research ideas may be better directed to the GCRF and Newton Funds in the first instance. Further advice from NERC on this can be sought from .

NERC is looking to maintain an overall breadth of environmental research and innovation funding across UK, global and international development priorities within this changing research landscape. NERC Boards will be asked to take account of these new sources of ODA research funding when considering the overall balance of strategic research and innovation across NERC's national and international remit.

NERC Council has confirmed that Discovery science proposals will continue to be judged solely on science excellence. After all funding decisions have been made in Discovery science schemes, NERC will also now assess whether any successful discovery science proposals should be classified as ODA research, but this will not be a funding criteria.

Further information

Julia Maddock
Head of communications
07785 459139


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).