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Global Health Research Centres

The Global Health Research Centres programme funds research-driven partnerships between institutions in low and middle income countries (LMICs) and in the UK. 

The centres undertake high quality research and strengthen LMIC institutional capacity to undertake, manage and disseminate high-quality applied health research. 

Guidance on impact of COVID-19 on NIHR funded and supported research

The Global Health Research Centres programme funds high quality applied health research in LMICs and supports the development of a critical mass of sustainable, competitive research capacity. 

By delivering high quality research evidence and strengthening research capacity at all levels, our Global Health Research Centres will improve health outcomes for people in LMICs and support sustainable growth of the LMIC research ecosystem.

The Global Health Research Centres programme funds ambitious, transformative, innovative and collaborative consortia of research institutions in the UK and in LMICs that are eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA). High quality research and research capacity strengthening in LMICs are equally essential components of the programme. 

Each funding call addresses an area where there is a need for coordinated, high quality research in LMICs to increase the global evidence base. The first funding call will fund and designate NIHR Global Health Research Centres in non-communicable diseases.

Centres also have a focus on capacity building and training in partner LMIC institutions, through:

  • strengthening career pathways for researchers, from masters students to senior academics
  • developing and retaining a trained and networked global cohort of experts and future research leaders
  • supporting the training and development of research managers and other non-academic staff.

Funding amount and duration

Funding awards of up to £10 million over five years (with an option to add two extra years) are available to consortia  led by a director based in an LMIC and made up of one UK institution and up to four LMIC institutions. 

How to apply

The Global Health Research Centres programme holds two-stage funding calls.

At stage 1, applicants submit an outline of the proposed research plan. Applicants who are successful at stage 1 are invited to submit a stage 2 application, which requires more detailed information.

An independent international Funding Committee reviews, scores and shortlists eligible applications at stage 1 and stage 2.

Research proposals should be submitted online through the Research Management System. We supply word document template application forms for stage 1 and stage 2 to help researchers prepare their proposal ahead of online submission.

Global Health Research Centres are consortia of up to five institutions, led by a director based in an LMIC lead institution in a country eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA). Consortia should have a UK joint lead administering institution. 

The lead LMIC institution and UK join lead are expected to have an established track record in the topic for the call. The LMIC partner institutions - of which there can be up to three - do not need to have a strong track record in the relevant research topic, but should be keen to build expertise in the area.

Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal meets ODA compliance criteria.

Find out more about ODA eligibility

The key criteria for Global Health Research Centres programme are:

  • Research capacity strengthening
  • Research excellence
  • Relevance
  • Leadership
  • Equity and equitable partnerships
  • Governance
  • Stakeholder and community involvement
  • Impact and sustainability

The Global Health Research Centres programme will support applications that:

  • Propose institutional level applied health research projects or programmes that address the challenges faced by people and patients in LMICs.
  • Incorporate research questions around gender, age, social barriers to health, economic impact and equity that are directly relevant to the LMICs involved in the consortium.
  • Include multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary applied health researchers from the UK and LMIC institutions, with relevant expertise and a track record (for the Joint Lead Institutions) of ensuring research is transferred into benefits for patients. 
  • Demonstrate equity and collaboration in programme leadership, decision making, capacity strengthening, governance, appropriate distribution of funds, ethics processes, data ownership and dissemination of findings. 
  • Include relevant engagement with policy makers and practitioners, patients, the public, civil society organisations, communities and charities.
  • Propose a coherent and sustainable plan for capacity and capability strengthening, at all levels and particularly at the institutional level, across centre institutions.
  • Demonstrate the strength of UK-LMIC institutional commitment to the research partnership.

The Global Health Research Centres programme will not support applications that:

  • Focus solely on research with no substantive focus on research capacity strengthening, or vice versa. 
  • Only include well-established research institutions.
  • Only include limited methodological approaches (e.g. randomised controlled trials, evidence synthesis, service evaluations) or limit their focus to: 
    • Observational research, secondary research or health policy implementation.
    • Basic laboratory/discovery research or experimental medicine
  • Replicate research already undertaken in high income countries – research proposals should be clearly relevant to the LMICs in which the research is to be undertaken
  • Do not consider career development and capacity strengthening for research-enabling functions
  • Do not consider the wider research environment
  • Do not consider how to strengthen systems of evidence use.

Applications to the Global Health Research Centres programme are reviewed by professional and public reviewers on an independent International Funding Committee.

The committees recommend which centres should be funded to the Department of Health and Social Care, which approves the funding awards. 

Members of NIHR committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. 

All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

The Global Health Research Centres programme will hold its first funding call in 2020. See the dates for our funding calls.

Call 1 - Non-communicable diseases (2020)

Call 1 will fund and designate NIHR Global Health Research Centres in non-communicable diseases. 

Call 1 launched on 14 October 2020. The centres awarded funding will be announced in Spring 2022.

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.

Tel: 020 8843 8057

Email: ghrcentres@nihr.ac.uk

Our operating hours are 09:00 to 17:00 GMT.

Latest funding opportunities for global health research

Global Health Research Centres Call 1 - Research and Institutional Capacity Strengthening in Non-Communicable Diseases

The first call of the Global Health Research Centres programme will fund and designate NIHR Global Health Research Centres in non-communicable diseases.

NIHR Global Health Research Presentation and Training Travel Award Pilot (GHR PTTA)

This award gives applicants the opportunity to plan a personalised presentation, training (skills/techniques/career development) and networking experience in another part of the NIHR (within the UK or a LMIC).

NIHR Global Health Research Units

These awards will provide funding to a well-established, equitable research partnership or network of universities and research institutes in LMICs and the UK with an existing track-record of delivering internationally recognised applied global health research.

NIHR Global Health Research Groups

These awards will provide funding to collaborations of specialist researchers within universities and research institutes in LMICs and the UK who wish to establish new programmes of applied health research.

Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation - call 4

The fourth call of the Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) programme will fund research on unintentional injuries, and urgent and emergency care, in low and middle income countries.

All global health research funding opportunities

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