We are pleased to invite proposals for a new Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) research grants call which is focussed on the human-infrastructure interactions of the world’s most marginalised urban residents, specifically in the context of the wide variety of crises and changes that they face.

The aim of (Re)Thinking the Off-Grid City call is to support the next generation of cutting-edge inter-disciplinary research with a view towards creating practical policy and programming alternatives, engineering solutions and/or social innovations. Conceptually the call also offers the opportunity to re-think and explore the concept of cities, especially in the context of growing urban populations that are not fully on the formal grid.

Research funded by this call is intended to lead to the generation of new approaches, practical policies, and innovations in governance, design and technology. The emphasis of this research call is on improving access to essential services for the most marginalised urban residents.

Applicants will need to ensure that proposed interventions are equitable, accessible, affordable and appropriate.

GCRF is a £1.5 billion funding stream to support research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, and funding under this call will be awarded in a manner consistent with ODA guidelines.

Proposals must be led by a researcher at an eligible UK research organisation and should be submitted through the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. 

How to apply

A short ‘Intention to Submit’ should be completed by those intending to apply to this call by 16:00 UK time on 30 May 2019. 

An information webinar for potential applicants took place on 2 May 2019. 


All proposals must be submitted through the Je-S system by 16:00 UK time on 24 July 2019. Grants are expected to start by 1 February 2020 at the earliest and 1 April 2020 latest.

Call documents