Making science work for development


Our Research Capacity work encompasses a range of activities that seek to enhance the ability of countries to support and make proper use of research and other outputs in international development.



The activities take place across three interconnected levels:

  • Individual: e.g. PhD training to increase a county'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 

Our members fund a number of programmes that include capacity strengthening, ranging from research programmes where it is a minor component, through to multi-million pound initiatives where it is the main objective.

What we do:

UKCDS brings together our members and key UK players in this area to:

  • Share information on aid alignment.
  • Highlight opportunities for collaboration.
  • Share lessons to promote best practice.
  • Discuss challenges such as monitoring and evaluation of capacity strengthening interventions.
  • Conduct mapping into research capacity strengthening priorities.

UKCDS Outputs:

  • Research Capacity Strengthening Group (RCSG) - we convene this group twice a year to discuss current trends in this area. The group includes both funders such as DFID, Wellcome and ESRC, and organisations that deliver programmes, such as INASP, the ACU and the Royal Society.
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Latest updates

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
  • 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
  • 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...
  • Capacity
  • Landscape analysis
  • Global health
  • Health and development
  • Capacity strengthening
22 December 2014
This report summarises the themes of discussion at an international workshop in February 2014 on the role of science in ‘good-enough’ disaster risk assessment. UKCDS, in partnership with the...