Key discussions and outputs

1. UKCDR strategy: Secretariat and executive arm of the SCOR Board  

The UKCDR Executive Director Maggy Heintz presented a detailed strategy for UKCDR covering the time period from April 2022 to March 2025. She set out key changes from the previous strategy, including the development of a new Theory of Change and a clearer role for activities around the ‘collective voice’ of UK development research funders. 

She also described UKCDR’s ambition to help bridge the gap between “what” is funded and “how” funding is delivered and managed, leading to UCDR becoming a Resource Hub within the transdisciplinary research ecosystem for international development research. Dr. Heintz then presented her strategic objectives in terms of track record, membership, neutrality, stakeholder network and access to data, and key enablers. 

UKCDR provided a brief update on an ongoing initiative to revisit its operating model in light of the impact of current spending restrictions on UKDDR’s operations. It also presented a new Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) approach for the strategic period which will focus on effective tracking of outcomes and impact. 

The SCOR Board commented positively on the strategy which will be implemented by UKCDR over the coming months. 

Strategic priorities for the SCOR Board and UKCDR – 2022-2025 

UKCDR presented a proposed work plan and priorities for the three-year strategy period. Dr Heintz led a discussion to identify how the Board and UKCDR would be supporting the implementation of the new International Development Strategy, with a focus on providing evidence-based information, convening stakeholders in a neutral space, and supporting the development and dissemination of good practice.  

UKCDR presented a workplan for the financial year 2022/23 which outlined ongoing and already planned activities in the areas of Climate Change, Health and Pandemic Preparedness, transparency of data on ODA-funded research, joint impact evaluation, research capacity strengthening and equitable partnerships. Key milestones for the current financial year will be: 

  • The launch of an equitable partnerships report and practical guidance, with funders expected to sign a joint statement on the topic 
  • The publication of a comprehensive learning report on UK-funded research capacity strengthening programs 
  • COVID-19 Research Coordination and Learning Program (COVID CIRCLE) activities, including continued mapping of global COVID-19 research project funding and publication of a learning report 
  • A project to identify trends, gaps and opportunities in the impact of international development research through REF2021 
  • A project to distil lessons learnt and best practice from evaluation studies conducted on the GCRF and Newton funds. 
  • An event to facilitate UK research funder collaboration in delivering on the new International Development Strategy 

The Board then discussed several areas where UKCDR could have a tangible impact with longer-term projects over the coming 2 to 3 years: 

  • Building on the success of the COVID CIRCLE project, a partnership with GloPID-R to apply a similar funding tracking and analysis methodology to improve collaboration and coherence of future research responses to epidemics and pandemics 
  • Delivering a second phase of the Mapping ODA Research and Innovation (MODARI) project with a focus on further developing an innovative database of ODA funded research and promoting use of available data in planning, policy and in-country engagement. 
  • Establishment of a Climate Change Research Funder Group to support research funder coherence in this area 
  • Building on UKCDR’s equitable partnerships work through a project on building resilient funding relationships with LMIC partners and exploring the role of private donors in development research 
  • Analysing data on the impact of ODA funded projects to build a narrative around the value of development research to the UK 

AttendeesMarie Staunton, CBE (Chair), Independent; Prof. Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor, FCDO; Harriet Wallace, Director, International Research and Innovation Directorate; BEIS; Prof. Christopher Smith, Executive Chair, AHRC (UKRI representative); Prof. John Iredale, Interim Executive Chair, Medical Research Council (UKRI representative); Prof. Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC; Prof Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies (Independent member); Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Executive Vice President, ACET, (Independent member); Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary General, African Research Universities Alliance (Independent member)
ApologiesJeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust 
OfficialsTristan Eagling, Science, Technology & Innovation advisor, FCDO; Val Snewin, Head of Global Health Research Partnerships, DHSC
UKCDRDr Maggy Heintz, Executive Director; Henrike Grund, Head of Operations; Mimoza Murati, Executive Assistant (Minutes)