Making science work for development

Making science work for development

UKCDS members collaborate when funding research in similar topics or around multidisciplinary problems. The UKCDS Secretariat works on improving the processes of science funding, uptake and communications, and runs a group on capacity strengthening, to maximise the impact of UK research in development.

Untitled Document

Capacity strengthening

Capacity strengthening encompasses a range of activities that seek to enhance the ability of developing countries to support and make proper use of research and other outputs of science and engineering.

The activities take place across three interconnected levels:

  • Individual: e.g. PhD training to increase a country’s human capital
  • Organisational: building the infrastructure and skills of a university to conduct and manage research
  • Institutional: addressing the incentive structures, and political and regulatory context in which research takes place and is used

UKCDS members fund a number of programmes that include capacity strengthening, ranging from research programmes where it is a minor component, through to £30 million initiatives where it is the main objective. Amongst UKCDS Members, DFID, MRC, ESRC and the Wellcome Trust are the biggest funders of scientific capacity building, with DFID alone having a £200m portfolio.

The UKCDS Secretariat convenes the UKCDS Research Capacity Strengthening Group which brings together the major UK players in this area, both funders like DFID and ESRC, and organisations that deliver programmes, such as INASP, the ACU and the Royal Society. This Group is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to share information to aid alignment and highlight opportunities for collaboration; to share lessons to promote best practice; and to discuss shared challenges like monitoring and evaluation of capacity strengthening interventions.

If you have any questions about Capacity strengthening, then please feel free to contact Robin Toomey
27 August 2015
UKCDS was asked by DFID to undertake a rapid mapping exercise of UK and international donors' priorities in research capacity strengthening (RCS).  The project involved a short survey sent to...
  • Capacity strengthening
15 June 2015
UKCDS is carrying out a survey for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and other UKCDS members on international funders’ approaches to strengthening research capacity in low and...
  • Capacity strengthening
9 February 2015
UKCDS has completed a mapping of over 300 global initiatives which aim to strengthen health research in low- and middle-income countries. This exercise was undertaken to inform discussions of the MRC...
  • Global health
  • Health and development
  • Capacity strengthening
11 April 2014
Evidence-informed decision-making requires excellent and rigorous research, but also evidence that can be understood and used. In the field of capacity building there is an increasing focus on...
  • Capacity strengthening
26 September 2013
In September 2011 the UKCDS Secretariat held a two-day workshop on research capacity strengthening at the Wellcome Trust.  The workshop brought together the UKCDS Research Capacity Strengthening...
11 September 2013
UKCDS has compiled some information on various schemes aimed at improving research and innovation capacity in low and middle income countries. These pages are not comprehensive but are a starting...