In 2016, the then-government introduced a new approach to funding science and research targeted at urgent problems being faced by people the world over: the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which the MRC helps to deliver. Rachael Sara-Kennedy, Head of International Partnerships at Universities UK, says we must look beyond the face value of overseas research funding to see how it benefits us all.
The GCRF enables our universities and world-class research base to access resources drawn from the government’s overseas aid budget – the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to help fight global challenges. The fund represents a not insignificant slice of the government’s commitment to spend 0.7% GDP on overseas aid.
Watching funding decisions being made at MRC board or panel meetings is an opportunity we offer to early career researchers to learn about how the peer review process works. With transparency the theme of this year’s Peer Review Week, MRC Peer Review Programme Manager Rachel Prosser asked some recent observers to share what they learned from the experience.
Julia Mueller, an MRC-funded PhD student at the University of Manchester, reflects on how a three-month Policy Internship with the MRC has changed her appreciation of Researchfish and the work done by research funding bodies.
Before I began my three-month internship at the MRC, my idea of the role of research funders was pretty simple. They have the money. We (the researchers) must get the money from them. The end. Actually working in the head office of one of the main funding bodies of medical research gave me a slightly more nuanced insight.