Making science work for development

UKCDS mapping supports DFID Research Advisory Group’s discussion on infrastructure

28 May 2014

As described in the last engineering update, the UKCDS Secretariat has been working with DFID to map the engineering for development research base. This mapping analysed who was winning competitive research calls, complementing this information with qualitative data from a survey and semi-structured interviews with research leaders.

It shows that research on infrastructure is currently undergoing a renaissance in DFID: in 2013 the Research and Evidence Division (RED) invested an estimated £45m in infrastructure research, representing a threefold increase since 2000 and 15% of the 2013-14 Division’s budget.

Within infrastructure research, energy has seen the most significant increase in research spend, rising from just over £0.5m in 2008 to an estimated £15m in 2013. WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) research has also seen a dramatic rise, from around £2m in 2008 to £11m in 2013.
The increasing investment in infrastructure reflects DFID’s emphasis on sustainable economic growth as a route to long-term poverty reduction, in line with the new economic development strategy and directorate.
This increase in funding for infrastructure research (traditionally primarily engineering) has been accompanied by a shift towards larger, more multidisciplinary projects which integrate engineering with the physical, natural and social sciences. There is a growing awareness that interconnected pillars of infrastructure need to be considered holistically.
The report, put together over four weeks in April 2014, was used as one document underpinning the recent DFID Research Advisory Group discussion on infrastructure. It has been published (see below) in case of wider interest.
An explanation of the rationale behind the mapping can be found on our blog titled 'Mapping the strengths and weaknesses of engineering research for sustainable development'
  • Energy and engineering

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