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

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
  • 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...
12 August 2013
The Framework Programme is the EU’s main way of funding collaborative, research and development across different countries. The Framework Programme (FP) is the EU’s primary funding mechanism for...
  • Capacity
  • Collaboration
  • Making science work for development
  • Funding and collaboration
3 April 2014
Typhoon Haiyan was a powerful cyclone that devastated the Phillipines in 2013 - killing thousands of people and instigating a global relief effort. Through the Science in Humanitarian and Disasters (...
  • Capacity
  • Natural disasters
18 March 2014
In 2013, the UKCDS Secretariat and the Royal Academy of Engineering commissioned a mapping of the UK research base in engineering for international development (see this update). The 2013 mapping –...
  • Capacity
  • Collaboration
  • Energy and engineering
1 August 2013
In Western Kenya putting additional teachers on temporary contracts in public schools significantly raised pupils’ score in maths and English (as one would hope and expect). However, when this same...