The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is the UK ministerial department responsible for foreign affairs and international development. We promote the interests of British citizens, safeguard the UK’s security, defend our values, reduce poverty and tackle global challenges with our international partners, projecting the UK as a force for good in the world.
Strengthening global health security is one of our top international health priorities and sits at the core of the UK’s International Development Strategy. UK expertise in public health has been at the forefront of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic: shaping multilateral approaches and using our research excellence to accelerate global access to COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments. We are supporting research to tackle some of the most challenging areas within infectious diseases. This includes developing new technologies but also strengthening and improving the resilience of health systems.
“FCDO’s global health R&D portfolio aims to build global health security, support healthier and more resilient populations. We do this through a range of R&D platforms which use the best of UK and global health research expertise. GloPID-R is a way for us to stay connected to the global R&D community, enabling us to quickly learn from others and prepare for new emerging threats.”
Dr. Jo Mulligan, Senior Health Adviser and Team Leader, Health Team, Research and Evidence Division
We are investing in the research and innovations needed to keep driving breakthroughs in health systems and health security. We fund the development of life-saving technologies (such as easy-to-use vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics) to respond to the changing burden of disease and health threats, including from COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and zoonoses.
Our applied research programmes and consortia aim to bring together leading institutions to tackle some of the most challenging questions on how to improve healthcare delivery. These programmes complement the work on new technologies by generating new evidence-based guidance and policy recommendations.
We also support several large multilateral initiatives and work closely with key partners, such as WHO, Wellcome Trust, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to drive forward pioneering work and collaboration on some of the toughest health challenges.
With the Wellcome Trust, we established the Joint Initiative on Epidemic Research and Preparedness (JIREP) which aims to provide better evidence about outbreak diseases to inform more effective preparedness and response interventions. We also support the WHO Research and Development Blueprint to accelerate R&D for outbreaks of priority severe emerging diseases.
As part of our response to COVID-19, we support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to develop vaccines for pathogens of epidemic potential. We also work with FIND, MMV and DNDi who are working to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases, including specifically for COVID-19. Part of our support was channelled through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (CTA).
Many of our other programmes have also shown they can pivot to address diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential when necessary. For example, Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) has funded 15-studies looking at the impacts of, and potential responses to, COVID-19 in particularly fragile contexts, as well as 14 looking at Ebola.
Among others, FCDO is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), CEPI, Wellcome Trust, the UK Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the WHO to drive forward the agenda on infectious disease preparedness.
The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874667.