Speaking at the Grand Challenges Conference in London, hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), International Development Secretary Priti Patel launched the first-ever Department for International Development (DFID) Research Review and highlighted Britain’s global leadership in this field.
The Research Review sets out how the UK will focus £390 million per year over the next 4 years on research and innovation to help address the great global challenges of the 21st Century.
It sets out that improving humanitarian responses, combating infectious diseases and tackling child exploitation globally are to be the focus of major UK investment into research, science and technology.
The Review responds to the objectives in the UK Aid Strategy which deliver in the UK’s national interests. These include strengthening resilience and crisis response, promoting global prosperity, tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.
The investment includes £357 million funding for research on infectious diseases through the Ross Fund, which aims to develop medicines, tests and insecticides to limit the threat of diseases.
double research and innovation into humanitarian responses
scale up research on combatting infectious diseases
increase investments in research on climate, energy and water
treble research funding on education so we can create more virtual classrooms for the millions of children with no safe route for school - laying the foundations for a country’s economic development
develop research in areas which have previously been neglected, such as migration, taxation, political accountability and human trafficking and child exploitation – the areas which hold back growth, peace and development.
At the conference the International Development Secretary also announced the extension of the research partnership between DFID and BMGF, which supports researchers to develop health, nutrition and agricultural technologies and approaches.
Priti Patel said:
The UK is a research super-power whose global leadership is changing and saving lives across the world.
British innovation in fighting extreme poverty is more important than ever. That’s why I am determined to put top-quality research and evidence at the heart of UK aid. The UK in partnership with world-leading organisations can help address the great global challenges of today.
Global Britain’s commitment to innovative research will mean we can act faster, reach more of the world’s poorest people - and get the most out of every pound we spend on behalf of the UK taxpayer.
This is the first time the BMGF-hosted conference has been held in the UK. It celebrates the Grand Challenges programme, which asks the world’s brightest minds to focus on the biggest challenges in health and development.
At the conference the International Development Secretary also reaffirmed DFID’s commitment to continue investing 3% of its budget in high quality, high impact research.