Edinburgh researchers are tackling some of the biggest global development challenges – from the demands on urban infrastructure caused by climate change and poverty, to improving healthcare and rights among displaced populations – with new funding from the UK Government.
Experts at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science (SPS) have received a slice of a new £147million investment package from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for various projects.
The awards – from UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme – bring together a wide range of researchers from across the UK and developing countries. The aim is to generate innovative solutions to intractable development issues and contribute to enabling healthier and safer lives, sustainable development and prosperity.
The funded projects run across UKRI’s six strategic GCRF Challenge portfolios: global health; education; sustainable cities; food systems; conflict; and resilience. They are aligned to the UK Government’s aid strategy and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The SPS awards include:
GCRF Challenge portfolio: Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure
Project theme: (Re)thinking the off-grid city: Human infrastructure interactions in the context of urban crisis and urban change
- Cool Infrastructures: Life With Heat in the Off-Grid City
PI – Professor Jamie Cross
This project aims to benefit people with partial or limited access to electricity in low-income urban settlements across Yaoundé (Cameroon), Karachi (Pakistan), Hyderabad (India), Jakarta (Indonesia) and beyond. Its objectives are to improve access to affordable, sustainable cooling, and reduce the impact of heat waves for these groups.
- Navigating the grid in the ‘world-class city’: poverty, gender, and access to services in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
PI – Professor Jonathan Spencer
This project sets out to reduce urban poverty in South Asia by providing workable, context-sensitive solutions to the problems poor communities encounter in accessing key infrastructural services. The team will work with partners in three cities – Lahore, Colombo and Mumbai.
GCRF Challenge portfolio: Security, Protracted Conflict, Refugees and Forced Displacement
Project theme: Development-based approaches to Protracted Displacement
- Improving healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement amongst Somali and Congolese refugees and IDPs
PI – Professor Laura Jeffery
This project aims to help people affected by displacement in Eastern DRC, Somalia, Kenya and South Africa to access appropriate healthcare for long-term physical and mental health conditions associated with protracted displacement, conflict and gendered violence.
- Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights (MADAR) Network Plus
PI is based at Keele University. SPS lead – Professor Laura Jeffery
The MADAR project aims to directly impact the lives of those affected by displacement and to enhance the research and advocacy capacity of civil society organisations in the Maghreb and other South-South displacement contexts.
Professor Tobias Kelly, Co-Director of Research at the School of Social and Political Science, said:
“Researchers at the School of Social and Political Science in Edinburgh have long addressed some of the world’s most enduring challenges, providing critical and important insights, as well as supporting practical responses.
"These latest projects funded under the GCRF Collective Programme focus on urban development and forced displacement, and will help improve access to healthcare, energy and government services in multiple places across the globe.”
Full details about UKRI’s GCRF Collective Programme are available in this brochure.