developing countries

Dele's Research trip to Nigeria

On 7th Feb, I was delighted to travel to Nigeria to collect some evidence for our impact case study. I conducted interviews with government officials, principals, headteachers and teachers involved in the world bank’s DIGISTEM project in which Northumbria University was the research and evaluation partner. This was a 3-month pilot programme delivered by Stemres learning initiative using the model of science education and engagement designed by the NUSTEM and NUDLL teams at Northumbria. Details of the project are available on While I was there, I also organised a workshop for teachers in Ekiti and Lagos states. The workshop which was co-organised with Stemres learning initiative ( gave me an opportunity to talk about NUDLL’s research interests in digital game-based learning, information and digital literacy, STEM aspirations and widening participation.  Up until now, our work in Nigeria has been focused on Ekiti State, where we have engaged with over 3000 teachers in 4 years. However, working with teachers in Lagos state for the first time reinforced the importance of context in both our outreach and research work. After engaging with the teachers (n=85) for a couple of hours, it was apparent that they had different needs compared to teachers in Ekiti state. For example, most of the teachers I interacted with have functional email addresses and also appeared confident in surfing the web, although they still needed information about useful websites and resources for the CPD.  One possible explanation is the level of development available in Lagos (as the business capital of Nigeria) and the training teachers have access to compared to Ekiti State. The better internet penetration in Lagos as compared to other parts of Nigeria is also a possible reason for the difference observed. This understanding is particularly significant when evaluating impact. The concept of distance traveled helps to explain the baseline (start of engagement/intervention) and the ending as well as guide the design of interventions tailored to serve different audiences. We are now looking at building more engagement opportunities with teachers in Lagos state in order to better understand their needs and be better positioned to assist them in leveraging technology for and enhanced teaching and learning experience.



Open Call: UKRI GCRF Health and Context call 2019


The UKRI GCRF Health and Context call is seeking proposals for interdisciplinary research addressing wider contextual factors contributing to the burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These factors may include social, cultural, historical, and religious beliefs and practices, or wider biological, ecological and environmental factors. We want to fund consortia conducting ambitious research that:

  • goes beyond description to determine causal relationships between contextual influences and health

  • develops or tests feasible interventions that are sensitive to or mitigate contextual influences on health.

Via the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), UKRI will support impactful, three-year research projects of value between £1-2 million (at 80% FEC for UK costs, 100% FEC for overseas costs). This call is being led jointly by the Medical Research Council, Economic & Social Research Council, Arts & Humanities Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and applications may fall within the remit of any of, or across, these councils.

This call is led by the MRC, ESRC, AHRC, NERC and BBSRC with the GCRF Challenge Leader for Global Health. This is one of a series of UKRI GCRF collective calls of relevance to health. Information on the related calls, including themes on education, food systems, and conflict, can be found on the UKRI: GCRF Collective programme webpage.

This call seeks interdisciplinary approaches that determine the impact of contextual factors on the health of the community and/or develop interventions that take account of or mitigate these influences. Successful projects will involve the input of a variety of stakeholders, which could include members of the community where the research is conducted. Proposals are encouraged to cut across disciplinary boundaries to fully understand contextual influences that can promote or obstruct improvements in health (such as water and sanitation, agricultural practices, habitation and urban planning, religion, education, and gender).


UKRI has made up to £20 million available for the UKRI GCRF Health and Context call. PIs may apply for research grant funding for a duration of up to three years. In accordance with the funders’ objective to support ambitious, impactful research, individual projects should cost no less that £1 million and no more than £2 million. Awards are required to start before 31 March 2020.

Requested costs for UK activities should be at 80% full economic cost (fEC) in-line with standard UKRI rules. Please note that all funds will be administered through the lead research organisation. Costs for work undertaken at overseas research organisations are allowed and should be 100% of eligible costs. Please see the scheme specific Guidance for Applicants for more information. Where applicable, the lead UK research organisation must consider the financial controls and risk mitigations that will be put in place for the transfer of funding to overseas organisations.