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Dame Judith Macgregor appointed Chair of Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Strategic Advisory Group


Dame Judith Macgregor appointed Chair of Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Strategic Advisory Group

Dame Judith Macgregor has been appointed as the new Chair of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Strategic Advisory Group. She will take over the role from Professor Sir Mike Aaronson, University of Surrey.

The Strategic Advisory Group advises on the development and delivery of GCRF, a UK government initiative which funds research and innovation on global development challenges. The group provides independent expert advice to ensure GCRF addresses the problems faced by developing countries.

Dame Judith brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. As British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2013 to 2017 and Ambassador to Mexico between 2009 and 2013, she spearheaded work to increase bilateral research and development programmes and extend post graduate scholarships, professional and educational exchanges for young people. From 2015-17, she represented UK Embassies overseas on the Whitehall Ministerial Committees Governing ODA Funding for International Research and Innovation. 

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and UKRI International Champion said: “I am delighted on behalf of UKRI to welcome Dame Judith to this vitally important role. The GCRF Strategic Advisory Group provides wise counsel and critical advice on the development and delivery of one of the UK’s flagship international research funds. With a career of distinguished service in the FCO, Dame Judith is ideally equipped to take over from Sir Mike Aaronson, to whom we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.”

Professor Richard Catlow, Vice President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, said: “The Strategic Advisory Group’s work alongside research and stakeholder communities is vital for identifying new opportunities and research priorities to tackle global challenges like the development of renewable energy technologies, environmental degradation and food security. We look forward to working with Dame Judith as we expand the group’s membership to ensure a wide range of expertise and representation from developing countries.”

Dame Judith said: “I am thrilled to take on this new role. GCRF is a fantastic initiative tackling urgent and complex development challenges and enhancing research capability worldwide. I look forward to working with the Strategic Advisory Group to shape the future of GCRF to maximise its impact and focus world class research and innovation on solutions to the most important issues faced by developing countries.”

The Strategic Advisory Group was set up in 2016 by the research councils in partnership with colleagues from DFID and BIS. UKRI is the secretariat on behalf all the delivery partners involved in GCRF.

The specific aims of the Strategic Advisory Group are to advise on:

  • engagement with research and stakeholder communities and the facilitation of new ideas and opportunities
  • the development of a strategic research agenda and prioritisation of challenge topics
  • the effectiveness of UKRI strategies and mechanisms, including mechanisms to build capability where it is needed to address existing deficits
  • integration of ODA and non-ODA challenge research, where this is sensible to do so
  • the allocation of research funding, consistent with the Haldane principle.

The Strategic Advisory Group is now recruiting new members. For further information, please visit GCRF Strategic Advisory Group Call for Nominations.

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