The report is a synthesis of 11 evaluation documents that were published before July 2022, looking at the GCRF and Newton Fund. In addition to taking stock of lessons learned from the two funds, this report provides forward-looking policy pointers to support future decision making on Official Development Assistance (ODA) research among UK development research funders.

Key insights from the report’s policy pointers include: 

  • The UK research-funding landscape is historically complex. This calls for consistent efforts to provide coherence within large-scale investments like the GCRF and the Newton Fund, as well as among the wide range of organisations involved in managing and delivering other funding schemes.

  • It is essential to formulate an overarching vision for what a fund wants to achieve, how it wants to achieve it, how progress towards objectives will be measured, and who is accountable for driving priorities forward.

  • A fund’s ability to deliver its intended impact can be seriously hindered by a failure to account for adequate time frames for money to be allocated and spent and for programmes to be rolled out.

  • Funders and delivery partners have a role in supporting evidence-informed decision-making processes in establishing future large funds.

The report also identifies the embedding of Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) principles and the establishment of a framework for monitoring the fund’s performance, impact and Value for Money (VfM) as core pillars that should shape future initiatives from the onset.