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Global health research: achieving international impact

The MRC’s global health research aims to discover solutions to the major burdens of disease globally, and to understand how best to translate those solutions into practice. To achieve a truly global impact it is important to fund research, which specifically addresses health challenges that arise in low and middle income countries.   

Global health scope

The MRC has a flexible and open approach to global health research. Our remit includes a longstanding focus on global infections, as well as topics such as chronic non-communicable diseases (eg. heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, kidney and liver diseases); cancer, mental health; reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health.

We welcome research that requires a multidisciplinary and multisectoral focus, and that addresses the wider determinants of health.

MRC Global health research: from fundamental science to health systems

To be classed as global health research a project must focus on health challenges in low and middle income countries (LMICs). MRC global health projects can include:

  • Basic, clinical and translational research across our remit
  • Population health and the impact of environmental factors, including the social environment, on health and development across the life course
  • Aetiology and epidemiology in low and middle income settings
  • Development and testing of prevention, detection, diagnostic, treatment and management strategies
  • Methodology research: the study of how best to design, conduct, analyse and evaluate medical and health research
  • Phase 1 and 2 global health trials

All the above are funded in response mode, meaning that applications can be submitted at any time. Please read more about how we fund research.

In addition, we often issue calls for proposals to address strategic global health topics, or to work with specific countries. For more information please browse our funding opportunities page or contact international@mrc.ukri.org

We welcome applications for global health research across a wide range of research types and health issues. If you have a research idea that has potential to improve health globally, and are not sure whether your idea can be considered by us, or you have questions about how to submit an application please contact us at international@mrc.ukri.org to discuss further.

Official Development Assistance/research principles

All our Global health research is funded through the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Projects must be primarily relevant to near-term or long-term benefits to the health or prosperity of Low or Middle Income Countries.

The OECD Development Assistance Committee’s list of Official Development Assistance recipients defines the sets of countries whose health needs (individual or collective) are relevant. The research strategies and the approach to partnership and capability development will vary significantly, depending on whether research is oriented towards / conducted with Middle-income or Low income Countries.

Research should promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective.

Further guidance on ODA definitions and interpretation is available in a UKRI guidance document

Regulation and ethical issues will vary across different countries and should be considered from the outset. We expect grant holders to work within applicable international and local guidelines, and to obtain ethical review in the local country and in the UK.