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GCRF Demonstrate Impact Programme

UK Research and Innovation Launch New Demonstrate Impact Programme under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

This Competition is now closed: GCRF demonstrate impact in developing countries: round 2, phase 1.

Thank you for taking part in our information and briefing events. KTN will keep you informed about phase 2. To receive related newsletter updates, select ‘Sustainability’ and sign up for our newsletter here.


Our briefing on Round 2 was streamed on 10th March: you can watch the recording on YouTube here.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) will invest up to £9.3 million in demonstration-stage projects. The projects must have the potential to transform lives in developing countries, through market-creating innovation.

Projects had to demonstrate they were relevant to one of the following 10 Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 3: good health and well-being
SDG 4: quality education
SDG 6: clean water and sanitation
SDG 8: decent work and economic growth
SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12: responsible consumption and production
SDG 13: climate action
SDG 14: life below water
SDG 15: life on land
SDG 16: peace, justice and strong institutions



This funding was split into 2 phases:

Phase 1: Discovery – enabling businesses to gain insights into local market feasibility for the innovation prior to prototyping. To ensure that your innovation has the highest chance of being successfully adopted, you will need to understand cultural expectations, attitudes and local context in the developing country you are focusing on. Up to £60K grant funding per project.

Phase 2: Prototype –  to test, validate and improve a prototype of the innovation in a developing country market. Up to £500K grant funding per project.

Funding has been allocated from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion fund to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. GCRF will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and innovation, and will strengthen capability for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries, also providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need. GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and will be awarded in a manner that fits with ODA guidelines.

This funding is part of UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund delivery under the commercialisation and innovation strand of activity. It is built on the premise that there are appropriate and affordable commercial solutions to key development challenges that could potentially be applied, but for various reasons including – businesses’ reluctancy to enter new markets due to financial risks, customers’ reluctancy to buy unproven technology, lack of appropriate connection and collaboration on R&D for new innovations, investors reluctant to take on both technology and new market risk – they are not yet in place.

This Demonstrate Impact programme aims to overcome some of those reasons and support new innovations to get to market quicker, so that:

As a primary outcome:

– Poor and disadvantaged people within developing countries access and benefit from innovative and affordable products and services developed and deployed from new business partnerships. These include:

– Direct benefits gained by consumers from the availability of a new product or service itself

– Benefits from creation of markets, the related infrastructure and value chains attached to those, and job creation within the partner developing country.

As a secondary outcome:

– Businesses are able to test the applicability of processes, products or services in new markets, find new R&D partners in developing countries and potentially new markets for their products and services.


Funding Competition Information

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.3 million to demonstrate market-creating innovations in lower income countries and emerging economies. This funding is Official Development Assistance from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The competition has two rounds: The first round closed on 13th November 2019.

Round 2 Phase 1 opened on the 2nd March 2020 and closed on the 10th June 2020 at 12.00pm (UK time).

To watch the recording of our briefing event, click here.

To read about the first series of events, click here. (or see article below).


We have recently published video interviews as part of the GCRF Demonstrate Impact Programme. The interviews highlight the partnership with Innovate UK and the innovative solutions that have taken place in developing countries which have addressed the challenges that people face and how it has changed their lives. Please see below for links to each video in the series.

Dr David Sarphie, AquAffirm

Dr Elin Haf Davies, Aparito

Jake Larsson, KTN

Bhavin Engineer, b.e. Design

Professor Helen Fletcher, UK Research and Innovation


For general questions, contact


Related Events

You may be interested in the following series of online missions:


Our events are now online!

Virtual missions are taking place as part of the GCRF AgriFood Africa programme. The dates for the regions are as follows, and further details will be forthcoming. If the event date has passed you will find a link to the round-up review which also includes links to the webinar recordings. Registration now open for Week 4! 

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