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Gender Equality and International Development Research and Innovation

“...the desirability of providing development assistance that is likely to contribute to reducing poverty in a way which is likely to contribute to reducing inequality between persons of different gender”.

International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014

UK Research and Innovation is updating its policies and processes for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund calls to ensure that funded research and innovation projects are fully compliant with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014.


Besides legal compliance, consideration of gender equality in UKRI official development assistance (ODA) funded research and innovation should be a priority in order to achieve the goals of poverty alleviation, economic development and welfare of developing countries. By empowering women and girls through research and innovation, UKRI can help promote lasting peace and stability and work towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is also widely recognised that working in a development context, including through research and innovation, can affect gender equality and gender relations, and it is important that UKRI ODA research and innovation considers this and ensures that research does not negatively impact gender equality.

What is Gender and Gender Equality?

Gender equality means that women, men and other genders should have equal rights and entitlements to human, social, economic and cultural development and an equal voice in civil and political rights. However, equality does not mean that everyone has to be the same. Women and others have the right to define for themselves the objectives of development and to seek outcomes which are not necessarily identical to those sought and enjoyed by men. UKRI wants to ensure that through GCRF and Newton Fund funding, inequality is not perpetuated; that the different rights and needs of all genders are recognised and addressed; and that women and men share the benefits of research and innovation projects.


It will be mandatory for all applications to UKRI GCRF and Newton Fund calls/competitions announced and published after the 1 April 2019 to provide a Gender Equality Statement. This statement must outline how applicants have taken meaningful yet proportionate consideration as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities, as required under the International Development (Gender Equality) Act. This should be no longer than one page, and should be attached as a ‘non-UK Component’ through Je-S. It is expected that some projects will have less impact on gender and gender relations and professional judgement of the applicants should be exercised to ensure appropriate consideration of the context and intended aims of the project. Applicants are able to reference other parts of your application within this statement, if relevant. Applicants are required to address the below criteria, with an understanding that, depending on the nature of their research and innovation, not all questions will be applicable.

Criteria to address while considering gender impact:

  • Have measures been put in place to ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people of different genders to be involved throughout the project? This includes the development of the project, the participants of the research and innovation and the beneficiaries of the research and innovation.
  • The expected impact of the project (benefits and losses) on people of different genders, both throughout the project and beyond.
  • The impact on the relations between people of different genders and people of the same gender. For example, changing roles and responsibilities in households, society, economy, politics, power, etc.
  • How will any risks and unintended negative consequences on gender equality be avoided or mitigated against, and monitored?
  • Are there any relevant outcomes and outputs being measured, with data disaggregated by age and gender (where disclosed)?

Please see links below for accompanying Gender Equality Statement Guidance Document.

GCRF funding from Research England

Research England GCRF funding is administered differently to other UKRI GCRF funding. It is allocated to universities eligible to receive Research England funding, via a formula, in proportion to their mainstream quality related research (QR) funding allocations (including London weighting). Current funding, from academic year (AY) 2018-19 – AY 2020-21, will only be provided to institutions who have QR GCRF three-year institutional strategies that have been assessed as ODA compliant. This strategy process was completed in 2018.

As far as possible, Research England will collect further information on how far universities QR GCRF strategies align with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act through standard monitoring procedures. Future QR GCRF strategies will be required to demonstrate compliance with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act as well as ODA compliance requirements. Further guidance on the process for future strategies will be developed at an appropriate time. For further information, please contact Global Challenges.

GCRF funding from Innovate UK

As part of the GCRF, Innovate UK will run competitions that enable businesses to participate in finding solution to the global challenges highlighted through the UN’s SDGs. The application and assessment process for Innovate UK led GCRF competitions/calls varies from other Research Councils. Innovate UK will ask applicants to consider the Gender Equality Act as part of a EDI focused question on the application process. Further call specific details will be provided on the Innovation Funding Service.

Further materials can be found below

For further information, please contact Gender Equality.

You can learn more about incorporating the gender dimension into your international development research and innovation proposals in the following video: