Researchers awarded funding to address global issues through collaborative projects

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

GCRF logo

Researchers at Oxford Brookes have been awarded funding to work on international, collaborative projects as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The GCRF is a five-year £1.5bn fund and a key component in the delivery of the UK Aid Strategy: tackling global challenges in the national interest.

The fund aims to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries.

It is an initiative led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which operates across a number of delivery partners, including the UK Research Councils, UK Higher Education Funding bodies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Global Partnerships said: “As part of our commitment to supporting research-active academics within our research strategy and Researcher Development Framework, we are pleased to have been able to offer five awards to promote international collaborations that fit within the GCRF.

“The funds will support researchers to undertake pilot studies or initial engagement activities with collaborators that will lead to applications for more substantive funding in the future.”

The successful researchers are:

Dr Simon Underdown, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology

Simon will be collaborating with the University of Pretoria in South Africa to develop and expand research into the co-evolution of human infectious disease. They aim to further develop a pilot project aimed at increasing understanding of the origins of infectious diseases in an urbanising world, especially Africa, which in recent years has seen outbreaks of Ebola and the Zika virus.

Dr Caroline Davis, Senior Lecturer in Publishing

Caroline will also be collaborating with the University of Pretoria to address the challenges facing the Southern African print culture since the end of colonial rule and apartheid. It will support new research in publishing studies to help tackle entrenched racial, linguistic and geographical disparities in knowledge access and production.

As part of our commitment to supporting research-active academics within our research strategy and Researcher Development Framework, we are pleased to have been able to offer five awards to promote international collaborations that fit within the GCRF.

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Global Partnerships

Dr Esra Kurul, Reader, School of the Built Environment

Esra will collaborate with the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, Shanghai and Tsinghua University in Beijing. The team aims to help communities to significantly reduce their energy demand. They will conduct pilot case studies, and hold workshops in China and the UK on how communities can become ‘technologically smart’ by improving their awareness of Distributed Renewable and Interactive energy systems (DRIs) and by developing their skills in managing these systems. 

Dr Joe Williams, Lecturer in Physical/Environmental Geography and Dr Wes Fraser, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Joe and Wes will be collaborating with The Geophysical Institute (Instituto Geofísico) of the Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador. Together they’ll be investigating environmental, landscape scale responses to rapidly declining glaciers in the Andes, and linking these to future impacts on the social/economic vulnerability and livelihoods of the growing Andean populations. 

Dr Youngha Cho, Senior Lecturer and Professor Ramin Keivani, School of the Built Environment

Youngha and Ramin will be collaborating with the University of Nairobi; Ardhi University, Tanzania; University of Witwatersland, South Africa; the Copperbelt University, Zambia; the University of Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique; the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and CoLab Consulting Group, UK.

They are looking to develop a ‘Housing and Employment Research Network’ to better understand the dynamics between housing and labour market in the Southern African region and to maximise the benefits of housing delivery by devising, upgrading and implementing appropriate housing policies aligned with employment.

More information about the GCRF can be found on the initiative’s website.