The UK Department of Health and Social Care’s aid-funded global health research and innovation

A review assessing the use of Official Development Assistance to fund research on global health.

  1. Status: In progress
  2. Last updated: 26 February 2024
  3. Type: Full review
  4. Subject: Cross-government aid spend, Global health
  5. Case study: Brazil, India, Malawi
  6. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton
  7. SDGs covered:Good health and wellbeing, Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Latest news

We have published the approach for our forthcoming review of the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s aid-funded global health research and innovation.

We expect to publish the findings in June 2024.


Aid-funded global health research aims to improve health equality and outcomes, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. A collaborative and multidisciplinary field with the World Health Organisation (WHO) central to its operation, global health research grew in scale and importance globally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK committed Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the global health agenda initially through the then Department for International Development (DFID). But in 2015, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) received its first aid-funded allocation for global health research through the 2015 UK aid strategy.

Despite the potential benefits of global health research for partner countries, some face significant barriers to research uptake, for example their health systems may lack the resources to deploy updated guidelines or new technologies. DHSC’s funding has targeted a variety of areas such as programmes to develop new vaccines, research on health policy and strengthening local capacity.

This review will build on previous ICAI reports such as the 2018 review of the UK’s response to global health threats, shining light on an area of ODA that has so far received little attention from scrutiny bodies.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good health and well-being
  • Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


Approach publication

26 February 2024

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Expected June 2024