ARUA – UKRI GCRF Partnership Programme for Capacity Building

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) have agreed a partnership to address the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to strengthen Africa-UK research collaborations and enhance research capacity across African and UK research communities.

The partnership between UKRI, through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), and ARUA has three main objectives:

  • to build significant capacity for science and research across African universities
  • to provide opportunities for African research teams and GCRF grant-holders to co-create new projects that build on current investments by GCRF and ARUA
  • to build equitable collaborations to strengthen capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in both the UK and developing countries.

The partnership aligns with key pillars of the GCRF strategy: to promote challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research for development, and to build equitable collaborations to strengthen capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in both the UK and developing countries. It is intended to build coherence across current GCRF investments for greater impact and to develop new partnerships that can help GCRF amplify its reach as well as its effectiveness. It will enable GCRF to work with a pan-African network with the common aim of expanding and enhancing the quality of research carried out in Africa by African researchers. It will also enable the more research intensive universities in Africa to strengthen not only their capacity and research excellence, but also those of less research intensive universities. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in August 2018 between ARUA and UKRI.

As part of this partnership, a new research programme has been developed. The programme has two key strands: (1) the Capacity Building strand with the ARUA Centres of Excellence (CoEs) aiming to build capacity at the 13 Centres, and (2) The Research Excellence strand which will initially support up to six joint research projects addressing aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals. A GCRF call will be jointly developed by UKRI and ARUA under each strand, designed to maximise and accelerate the impact of on-going GCRF and other relevant projects.

The capacity building call

This call opened in February 2019 with an Invitation to Submit from each of the 13 ARUA Centres of Excellence and is by invitation only. Full proposals must be submitted via Je-S by 16:00 BST on 30 April 2019. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Key dates

February 2019

Call launched with Invitation to Submit

30 April 2019, 16:00 BST

Call closes

May 2019

Internal checking of applications

Late June- early July 2019

Expert assessment panel meets

Late July - Early August 2019

Funding decision is announced

1 September 2019

Awards start

Documents and guidance

The research excellence call

This call is currently being jointly developed by UKRI and ARUA. The date for when the call opens for submissions will be announced on this page in spring-early summer 2019.


For further information please email GCRF, or contact:

Anne-Mette Olesen, GCRF Policy Manager
Telephone: +44 (0)1793 44 4599

Wendy Bown, GCRF Support Officer
Telephone: +44 (0)1793 44 4421