Are you planning to do research in developing countries?

Then plan for the risks involved – to help ensure quality, excellence & maximise impact

Post-BREXIT, the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) offers the promise of a really significant new chunk of research funding and, as the UK Gov. Department of Business Industry & Skills indicates below, GCRF funding is forecast to rise.

GCRF is designed to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. GCRF-funded research must meet the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance rules – i.e. focus on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries that are included in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development’s list of developing countries.

Research collaborations that cross national, institutional, disciplinary & sector boundaries are complex enough but the challenges for those operating in developing countries can be of a different nature and more pronounced. Each developing country will pose a different set of opportunities and challenges for researchers but some generic risks are worth reflecting on and, where appropriate, planning for:

1. Health and safety of researchers and those affected by or involved in the research
2. Consulting the UK Foreign and Commonwealth advice on the country concerned
3. Respectful, responsible early engagement of relevant local stakeholders in the research
4. Ethical issues to do with research involving human participants in developing countries – cultural, religious, psychological, physical
5. Relevant local legal and regulatory compliance requirements
6. Ability of local infrastructure (e.g. access to electricity) to enable the collection, storage and analysis of research data in accordance with expected standards
7. Risk of compromising anti-bribery legislation when following local customs or traditions
8. Risk of misunderstandings due to language and/or cultural differences
9. Adequate University insurance cover and visa, where relevant

Consult the British Council: for greater cultural understanding

Worth a read:
Researcher responsibilities in ‘Cross-Boundary Collaborations – the one page ‘Montreal Statement’:
UK Anti-Bribery Act:
University GRIP Policy’s pages 26-27:



ad6resinAre you planning to do research in developing countries?