Sustainable development is essential if basic human needs are to be met without compromising global resources and the quality of life for future generations.
UKCDS member organisations fund research that addresses the underpinning requirements of sustainable development, from predicting climate change and protecting natural resources for food and water security to developing low carbon energy.
The UKCDS Secretariat works with UK funders to share information, showcase their work and facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to address the complex challenges of sustainable development.
Energy and engineering
Energy and engineering are crucial for sustainable development, and underpin a significant part of UK aid, whether it is building new primary schools in Pakistan or generating renewable energy in Nepal. Academic research can provide new knowledge to improve the way we do all of these things. This can enhance the UK contribution to sustainable development, and the knowledge can also be used by others, from rural farmers to the World Bank or Shell, to improve how they tackle shared challenges.
DFID are likely to spend £110-120m on engineering research between 2013 and 2019 to enhance the UK’s poverty alleviation efforts and other UKCDS Members also fund engineering research relevant to international development. A number of UKCDS member organisations (primarily DFID, EPSRC, DECC and ESRC) fund research relevant to energy and development, often refining new technologies or studying why people make the energy choices they do.
The UKCDS Secretariat began to focus on this area after reacting to concerns that UK research may not be having the maximum possible impact in development: funders are not as joined up as they are in other fields, and pathways to policy and practice are not as clear as they could be.