IDS Fellow appointed Challenge Leader for Global Challenges Research Fund

16 April 2018

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed IDS Fellow Jaideep Gupte to one of nine ‘Challenge Leader’ posts to help direct the work of a £1.5bn government fund dedicated to addressing the economic development and social welfare of developing countries. 

INDONESIA Jakarta. Man in a wooden boat navigating a polluted waterway backed by wooden slum housing, in contrast to the high rise appartment buildings visible behind.
Credit: Mark Henley / Panos.

The nine Challenge Leaders will direct Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) portfolios in: Global Health, Food Systems, Conflict, Resilience, Education, and Sustainable Cities.

The leaders will ensure that the GCRF Fund has the greatest possible impact on global development and move the world closer towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

IDS’s Jaideep Gupte was appointed to lead the Sustainable Cities portfolio. He said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as the challenge leader for the Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure portfolio of the Global Challenges Research Fund. Understanding cities is crucial to our quest for sustainable development not least because half of humanity now lives in urban areas.”

The Challenge Leaders will work across UK Research and Innovation, the National Academies and the UK Space Agency to coordinate their GCRF programmes, bring together GCRF researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, and enable GCRF science and research to generate innovative solutions to development challenges that will improve the lives of people around the globe.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Executive Champion for the GCRF and Newton Fund, said: The appointment of these nine Challenge Leaders will ensure that the GCRF can connect with those on the frontline of global development and respond to the needs and ambitions of developing countries through cutting edge disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. Working with international agencies, development funders, industry and the GCRF research community these new Challenge Leaders will identify and develop research opportunities across different interfaces and maximise real-world impact.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the National Academies representative on the GCRF Strategic Advisory Group secretariat, said: “The Challenge Leaders announced today have an excellent opportunity to work with a range of academic and other stakeholders across research disciplines to identify important synergies and enable coherent approaches and solutions to development challenges. 

“The Royal Academy of Engineering, and our sister Academies the Royal Society, the British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences, work together closely to further the ambitious aims of the GCRF and welcome the consistency, both within and across the GCRF portfolios that the new appointments will enable.”

Professor Sir Mike Aaronson, Chair of the GCRF Strategic Advisory Group, said: “The GCRF is a novel and exciting initiative that brings the strengths of different disciplines and approaches to bear in tackling complex development issues. The Challenge Leaders will enhance those contributions by making sure opportunities to work across boundaries are not missed and that the underlying issues that cut across different development challenges are addressed.”

See our website for further details about IDS work on sustainable cities.

Image: Panos / Mark Henley