Making science work for development

Health is one of the key challenges for international development, with one child a minute dying from malaria, and many other lives ruined by infectious and non-communicable diseases.

UKCDS member organisations fund hundreds of millions of pounds of health research every year, from fundamental genetics to clinical trials and the study of how health systems could be improved. Some of this research is funded by single Members, but increasing amounts is funded in partnership, like the joint Global Health Trials Initiative (MRC, Wellcome Trust and DFID).


Sustainable development is essential if basic human needs are to be met without compromising global resources and the quality of life for future generations.

UKCDS member organisations fund research that addresses the underpinning requirements of sustainable development, from predicting climate change and protecting natural resources for food and water security to developing low carbon energy.

The UKCDS Secretariat works with UK funders to share information, showcase their work and facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to address the complex challenges of sustainable 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.

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Latest updates

2 March 2017
The Research Excellence Framework is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies to assess the quality and impact of research in UK higher education institutions. It was used to inform...
  • Making science work for development
  • Research uptake and impact
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
29 October 2015
The first meeting of the Advisory Group for the Assessing Business Impact for Development project took place on 14 October. The Group includes seven public funders and ten companies. The meeting...
  • Working with businesses
31 July 2015
Priorities, priorities The Secretariat’s work bringing together UK health funders with interests in international development continues. We have been involved in discussions about the shape of the...
  • Global health
  • Health and development
8 June 2015
As part of our work exploring UK research's impact on development, we commissioned an analysis of the impact case studies submitted to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).  The analysis,...
27 April 2015
The Research Excellence Framework 2014 is now a fading memory in the minds of many researchers and research managers, with the results having been published in December 2014. However, UKCDS is...
  • Research uptake and impact