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Dr Shanks appointed GCRF Challenge Leader

We are delighted to announce that our own Dr Kelsey Shanks has been appointed as one of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Challenge Leaders.

The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Kelsey’s role will be overseeing the Education portfolio, helping to guide the research outputs and ensuring real world impact.

Eight other ‘Challenge Leaders’ have been appointed alongside Kelsey. They will direct the portfolios in Global Health, Food Systems, Conflict, Resilience, and Sustainable Cities.

The Challenge Leaders will work across UK Research and Innovation, the National Academies and the UK Space Agency to coordinate their GCRF programmes. They will also 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. Collectively, the team’s goal is to ensure the GCRF has the greatest possible impact on global development by moving closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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.”

Speaking about her appointment Kelsey said:

“I am honoured to be appointed the GCRF Challenge Leader for Education. The role is already proving to be very rewarding. Ensuring the right to education globally is essential to addressing the challenges that developing nations face. I am delighted to be able to work with the GCRF to ensure that education is at the heart of future research in the field of sustainable development.”

Kelsey has worked extensively in the past with UNESCO Chair and Centre Director, Professor Alan Smith. She will continue in her role as a Research Associate with the UNESCO Centre alongside her new responsibilities.

Read more about the Global Challenges Research Fund

Find out about Dr Shanks’ work