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

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...
29 July 2013
The Wellcome Trust devotes a significant proportion of funds to health-related research conducted outside the UK through its international funding. It's strategy in global health research focuses on...
  • Capacity
  • Landscape analysis
  • Global health
  • Health and development
24 July 2013
In 2012, the UKCDS Secretariat convened a cross-Government group to explore whether UK engineering research is playing its full potential in enhancing the UK contribution to international development...
  • Capacity
  • Energy and engineering
24 July 2013
The UKCDS Secretariat supports and contributes to the Global Food Security programme. The UK’s main public funders of food-related research are working together through the Global Food Security...
  • Capacity
  • Food security
1 April 2013
The European Report on Development (ERD) seeks to play a catalytic role in feeding the development debate, enhancing and refining the EU’s perspective on development, and bridging the gap between...
  • Capacity
  • Collaboration
  • Post 2015
13 March 2013
The Secretariat prepared a paper in consultation with a number of key stakeholders to explore the opportunities for UK research institutions to increase their involvement in projects and programmes...
19 February 2013
On 19 February 2013 UKCDS and the Royal Academy of Engineering co-hosted a roundtable for academics in engineering research for development. Chaired by UKCDS Board Member Professor John Perkins, this...
  • Capacity
  • Landscape analysis
  • Energy and engineering