The Joint Fund was set up in 2005 to commission world class social science research to address the goal of reducing poverty among the poorest countries and people globally. Part of a broader strategic partnership between the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID, now FCDO) and ESRC, the Joint Fund aimed to fund research to provide a robust conceptual and empirical basis for development with strong potential for impact on policy and practice for poverty reduction. After 16 years, the programme came to an end in June 2021.

Funding was awarded in three phases, with research calls generating a portfolio of more than 180 grants across a broad range of topics. These have provided a rich source of development research evidence, both from individual grants and their Pathways to Impact, as well as through research syntheses and other programme-level impact activity that pulls together learning from across the Portfolio.

An evaluation of Phase 3 of the Joint Fund (PDF, 2.3Mb) was carried out by LTS International Ltd and Cloud Chamber during 2020. The aim of the evaluation was to show whether this phase of the Joint Fund has delivered in its objectives and how successful it has been in achieving impact at both project and programme levels.

The Impact Initiative

In addition to building high quality evidence, the programme also aimed to ensure that the research is used and has an impact on policy in developing countries. The Impact Initiative was contracted in spring 2015 through to May 2021 to support the uptake and impact of research funded under the Joint Fund and the ESRC-FCDO Raising Learning Outcomes Programme. Visit the Impact Initiative for more information.

Useful links