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Global Health Research Groups


The Global Health Research Groups programme awards funding to specialist departments within UK universities or research institutions not currently active in global health that want to use their existing skills to build capacity to extend into this field.

The Global Health Research Groups programme funds research to address locally-identified challenges in LMICs, by supporting equitable research partnerships between researchers and institutions in the UK and those in low and middle income countries (LMICs) eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Global Health Research Groups programme aims to generate the scientific evidence that can improve health outcomes for people in low resource setting through improving practice and informing policy. The programme also strengthens research and research management capacity and capability to support future sustainability of research in partner countries.

Global Health Research Group funding is available to research groups either new to delivering applied health research globally or that wish to expand an existing partnership.


Global Health Research Groups are defined as a partnership of specialist researchers within universities and research institutes in LMICs and the UK:

  • either new to delivering applied health research globally, or expanding to new global partnerships to deliver applied global health research addressing unmet needs in new health areas or geographies in ODA-eligible countries
  • who, through a planned start-up phase, will develop or expand equitable research partnerships and networks, to undertake LMIC-led needs analysis designed to refine relevant research questions and priorities through engagement with policy makers, evidence users and local communities, as appropriate
  • who will establish a new programme of applied health research delivered through ambitious, structured plans for e.g. scoping studies, needs analysis, economic analysis, pilot studies and potentially trials
  • who are able to develop the strength of the partnership to improve practice and inform policy based on scientific evidence
  • who will set up and deliver a focused programme of capacity and capability strengthening at individual and institutional level appropriate to the respective goals.

Funding amount and duration

Awards up to £3 million over a period of up to 3-4 years are available. 

What we fund

The Global Health Research Groups programme funds research proposals from researchers in UK-based (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) higher education institutions and research institutes. 

Applications must include a co-applicant or joint lead applicant from a country eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding and relevant to the research proposal. 

Applications must demonstrate how the research proposal meets ODA compliance criteria.

Applications in any field of applied global health research for the direct and primary benefit of people living in one or more ODA-eligible country/ies will be considered. 

You can find out more in the call specific remit and guidance notes below.

 The selection criteria used by the Global Health Research Groups Funding Committee are:

  • two joint-lead applicants (LMIC and UK) with funding and contracting via the UK administering institution
  • plans for engagement with key stakeholders such as policy makers, communities, patients and researchers, to facilitate locally relevant research priority setting, needs assessment and a strategy for appropriate research uptake and dissemination
  • Quality of the research design and work plan (i.e. clear research questions/objectives, sound design and detailed methodology to address the questions/meet the objectives; clear milestones, identification of possible risks and factoring in of ethical considerations).
  • Strength of the Global Health Research Group’s research team (i.e. depth of relevant interdisciplinary expertise, including social science, and the respective track record of applicants in the specified area).
  • Quality of the proposed management and governance arrangements (i.e. clear definition of roles, risk management arrangements and how the efforts of individuals will be coordinated)
  • Impact of the proposed work (i.e. likelihood of significant contribution to the evidence base in the relevant area, pathways to improvement in health, wellbeing, lives saved and economic, social and cultural benefits in ODA-eligible countries) and plans for engagement with policy makers, communities and the public at an early stage.
  • Strength of plans for Community Engagement and Involvement.
  • Value for money provided by the application.

Our people

Applications to the Global Health Research Groups programme are peer reviewed by professional reviewers, then considered by a funding committee.

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

Committee Co-Chairs

The Global Health Research Groups Funding Committee is co-chaired by Professor Moses Chimbari and Professor Dame Tina Lavender.

Committee members

View the full membership of the Global Health Research Units - Call 2 Funding Committee and Global Health Research Units - Call 3 Funding Committee.

View the full membership of the Global Health Research Units and Groups - Call 1 Funding Committee and Global Health Research Units and Groups - Call 2 Funding Committee.

Meeting minutes


To date, the Global Health Research Groups Programme has held five funding calls.

Call 5

The fifth call for NIHR Global Health Research Groups opened in August 2023 and closed in November 2023.

Call 4

The fourth call for Global Health Research Groups opened in August 2022 and closed in November 2022.

Call 3

The third call for Global Health Research Groups opened in June 2020 and had two closing dates in Autumn 2020 and Summer 2021. 

Funding decisions for this call have now been made and are detailed in the Funding Commitee minutes.

Call 2

The second funding call for Global Health Research Groups launched in 2017. A total of 20 new groups were awarded £40 million of funding.

Call 1  

The first funding call for Global Health Research Groups took place between November 2016 and March 2017. Funding was awarded to 20 groups.

Contact us

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

Email: operating hours are 9am to 5pm.

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