Networks launched to identify solutions to global challenges

Twenty networks will bring together UK researchers with collaborators from across the developing world to tackle global challenges.

The Global Engagement Networks will develop practical solutions to address issues such as the prevalence of single-use plastic in Kenya, hurricane recovery in the Caribbean and water management across Africa.

Each network, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund, will work on problems and solutions identified within the countries themselves and will bring together a diverse range of organisations and skillsets.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI International Champion, said: “Equal partnerships are the cornerstone of the Global Challenges Research Fund – with researchers from the UK working alongside researchers from developing countries to share ideas and expertise to solve global challenges.

“These new Networks have equitability at their heart and are led by researchers from across Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. They’ve been driven by the challenges faced across these regions and bring together diverse teams to identify practical, sustainable and scalable solutions that will improve the lives of many disadvantaged communities worldwide.”

The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network, led by Professor Nicholas Oguge of the University of Nairobi in Kenya, will explore all aspects of plastic use, from the composition of plastics that are imported across Africa to the slum communities who make a livelihood from selling and cleaning discarded plastics.

The network will explore how plastic waste can be better managed across the continent, and how it could be integrated into a circular economy that uses and reuses waste products to deliver economic benefits.

Professor Oguge said: “We are getting the right people together to bring the problems and potential solutions to the surface. We will then work together to develop plastic waste governance at all levels.

“By looking at plastics as part of the circular economy, this GCRF network offers an exciting and important chance to join academics, industry and community groups to improve social structures for our citizens. If plastic waste can be incorporated into a circular economy, then it is no longer waste but part of a sustainable solution that can provide employment.”

Watch the video on The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network (credit: First Business Creative), view the transcript here (PDF, 65KB).

The network demonstrates the global, collaborative scope of the Global Engagement Networks, as researchers will be working with academics and businesses from across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi, as well as in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and the Caribbean.

The GCRF Global Engagement Networks:

GCRF Anaemia Network (ANET)
Led by: Professor Kamija Phiri, University of Malawi

GCRF Andean Network for Venezuelan Migrants
Led by: Dr Juan Arroyo Laguna, Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia

GCRF Building Cultures of Peace in Rwanda Schools Network
Led by: Dr Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo, University of Rwanda

GCRF Caribbean Resilience and Recovery Knowledge Network
Led by: Dr Donovan Campbell, University of the West Indies

GCRF Clean Environment and Planetary Health in Asia (CEPHA) Network
Led by: Professor Shiva Nagendra, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

GCRF Community, Science and Education Network
Led by: Dr Armando Solares-Rojas, Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico

GCRF Gender and Violent Extremism Network
Led by: Dr Fatuma Ahmed Ali, United States International University

GCRF Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA)
Led by: Dr Romola Adeola, University of Pretoria

GCRF Global Health and Clean Water Network
Led by: Professor Jacquie McGlade, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi

GCRF Groundwater for Resilience in Africa Network
Led by: Dr Karen Grothe Villholth, International Water Management Institute

GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network
Led by Associate Professor Jennifer Broadhurst, University of Cape Town

GCRF Open Network for Water-Related Diseases (ONWARD)
Led by: Dr Milton Kampel, Division for Remote Sensing (Divisão de Sensoriamento Remoto) at the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Brazil

GCRF Partnerships for Resilience through Innovation and Integrated Management of Emergencies and Disasters (PRIMED)
Led by: Dr Adelina Mensah, University of Ghana

The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network
Led by: Professor Nicholas Oguge, University of Nairobi

GCRF Resilience to Coupled Human-Natural Multi-hazards Network
Led by: Dr Nguyen Quoc Dinh, Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources

GCRF Resilient Silk Route Cultural Heritage Network
Led by: Dr Elmira Köchümkulova, University of Central Asia

GCRF Slavery Free Communities Network
Led by: Dr Silvia Pinheiro, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

GCRF TB Epidemic in the Post-Soviet Countries Network
Led by: Dr Kateryna Bornukova, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC)

GCRF Urban Violence & Climate Change Network
Led by: Dr Nausheen Anwar, Institute of Business Administration

GCRF Vector-borne disease control in Venezuela Network
Led by: Dr Mario Grijalva, Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador

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