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GCRF Strategic Advisory Group Call for Nominations

GCRF Strategic Advisory Group Call for Nominations

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is part of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA). Its aim is to support cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues affecting developing countries.

The GCRF is led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which operates across several delivery partners, including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the devolved higher education funding bodies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency. 

The GCRF Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) provides external advice to the GCRF delivery partners and BEIS, reaching across the disciplines of all the delivery partners.

The Secretariat of the SAG is hosted by UKRI on behalf all the delivery partners and BEIS. Current membership of the SAG can be found here

Call for nominations

This is a call for nominations for new members to the SAG, and we are looking to recruit up to three new members to start at the end of March 2020. To ensure balance in the current membership of the SAG we are seeking applications from those people who: 

  1. represent international academics and international non-academics; 
  2. have personal experience of working in a developing country context;  
  3. understand the translation and impact of research, particularly into developing countries; 
  4. have previous experience of sitting on committees and knowledge of the UK research funding landscape; 

We are looking in particular to fill gaps in the following expertise areas: 

  • Climate Change and Resilience
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Cities and Infrastructure
  • Digital Innovation

We particularly welcome overseas candidates from DAC recipient listed countries.

Role and person specification

The primary purpose of the SAG is to advise on the strategic development and delivery of the GCRF, and specifically: 

  • 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 delivery partner 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; 
  • advise on the consistency of GCRF funding in line with the Haldane principle; 
  • advise on and review the GCRF portfolio across delivery partners, highlighting opportunities for integration, gaps and emerging needs and opportunities; 
  • help to define success measures for GCRF, with consideration of evaluation and pathways to impact. 

The responsibilities of the SAG members are to: 

  • act within the 7 Principles of Public Life1 (Nolan principles), in particular to provide independent, informed advice, avoiding actual or perceived conflicts of interest by taking a collegiate approach to policy and strategy development; 
  • act as “generous generalists”; 
  • validate and challenge constructively the delivery partners’ perspectives drawing on the available evidence and their own experiences; 
  • take individual and collective ownership of the advice they provide, whilst recognising the separation of that advice from responsibility for the decisions made, which rests with the delivery partners; 
  • use their own networks to gather intelligence that can be brought to bear in policy development and to disseminate delivery partner policies and strategies;  
  • provide positive advocacy for the GCRF in the public realm.

Equality, diversity and inclusion:

The delivery partners have an aspiration to increase the breadth and diversity of the Group, and as such the membership of the GCRF SAG should: 

  • Reflect the breadth of disciplines across the delivery partners. 
  • Diverse across career stages and life course.  
  • Drawn from academia, government, business, third sector and other stakeholders. 
  • Include an international/global perspective.


Appointments will be for three years (with the possibility of ending after two years). All appointments will begin with effect from the first meeting. 

Members are paid a fee for each activity they are involved with and, when attending physical meetings, are reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses (in accordance with UKRI policy). 

The Group will meet quarterly with the first meeting of the new appointments planned for the end of March 2020. There may be additional work required outside of the formal SAG meetings and it is expected that members will need to commit between 2 and 4 additional days to SAG work per year.

Nomination process

Nominations should be made through SmartSurvey by 16:00 on Friday 21st February 2020.

You can self-nominate or be nominated by another person. In cases where nominations are being made on behalf of someone else, that person must be aware of and agree to the nomination. When nominating another person, the details of the nominator will be required.

In both cases, the following information is needed:

  • Nominee details: Basic information and contact details for the nominee, including title, name, current position, organisation, telephone numbers and email address. 
  • Personal qualities and experience: Free text to support why you or the person you are nominating would be suitable as a member of the SAG including: 
    • Evidence of the skills and experience the applicant/nominee would bring to the role and how they meet the requirements of the role [500 words]; 
    • Description of the personal motivation, attributes, competencies and other experience that would make them a suitable SAG member [500 words]. 
  • Current Curriculum Vitae: A CV (no longer than two sides) containing details of the nominee’s professional qualifications, research, work experience and/or other relevant experience.  
  • Diversity information: We aim to ensure that all applications are treated regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin or disability. Individuals are asked to supply equal opportunities information, which is not seen by the Selection Committee. This should only be completed by the nominee. 

Selection process 

The selection process will consist of three steps: 

Step 1 – a long-list of candidates will be developed based on the following considerations: 

  • At the level of the Individual: 
    • Match to the requirements in the person specification, based on the evidence provided;
  • At the level of the overall SAG:
    • Ensuring diversity of membership;
    • Securing an appropriate spread of expertise;
    • Achieving an appropriate distribution of membership from academia, industry, civil society and international stakeholders;

Step 2 – A panel made up of representatives from BEIS and the delivery partners will meet to select a shortlist of candidates to interview and to ensure that the appropriate processes have been followed. 

Step 3 – Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview to discuss their interest in the role and what qualities they will bring to the SAG. The interview panel made up of representatives from BEIS, the delivery partners and the SAG will make final recommendations on the successful candidate.


  • Call opens: December 19th 2019 
  • Call closes: February 21st 2020
  • Interviews: March 5th 2020    
  • First Meeting: End of March 2020


If you have any questions about the role or the nominations process please email gcrf@ukri.org and include ‘GCRF SAG Recruitment 2020’ in the subject heading.