photo collage r4d programme

The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme) supports excellent scientific research that contributes to the solution of global problems. It aims at reducing poverty and global risks and at making public goods available in developing countries. The research is organised in five thematic modules and a thematically open module.

​The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme) is a joint funding initiative by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The r4d programme supports research aimed at solving global problems with a focus on least developed, low- and middle income countries. A total budget of CHF 97.6 million is available for the duration of the programme from 2012 to 2022 with a contribution by SDC of CHF 72 million and by SNSF of CHF 25.6 million.

The r4d programme consists of five thematic modules and a thematically open module. 57 transnational research partnership projects are carried out by research groups of more than 290 grantees in 50 countries. 13 Transformation Accelerating Grants initiatives are implemented on the basis of the research results of 10 r4d projects in 16 countries.

  • ​Objectives

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    The r4d programme is embeded in the sustainable development discourse. It has the following objectives:

    • to generate scientific knowledge and research-based solutions for reducing poverty and global risks in least developed, low- and middle income countries;
    • to offer national and international stakeholders methods and options for finding integrated, holistic approaches to solving problems;
    • to enhance scientific skills and know-how in dealing with the complexity of global problems for the benefit of societies in developing and emerging countries.
  • Research foci

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    Research within the r4d programme is either thematically open or focuses on the following five themes:

    • Causes of and solutions to social conflicts in contexts of weak public institutions
    • Employment in the context of sustainable development
    • Innovation in Agricultural and Food Systems for Food Security
    • Sustainable Management of Ecosystems for the Provision of Ecosystem Services
    • Provision systems and financing mechanisms in the public health sector

    The selection of themes reflects the strategic priorities of the SDC (2013-2016). The formulation of calls in the five thematic modules was jointly elaborated by the members of the respective Review Panel, the SDC and the SNSF.

  • Development relevance and impact

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    The criteria of scientific quality and development relevance are of equal importance for the selection and evaluation of projects.

    All projects are carried out within transnational research partnerships. The r4d programme strongly supports the adherence to the KFPE Principles ( A Guide for Transboundary Research Partnerships - 11 Principles (PDF)). The elaboration of a results framework and a pathway to impact are requirements for all projects. 10% to 15% of the funds must be used for communication and application. A share of 50% of the academic personnel (person months) must be employed in the partner countries and a minimum of 40% of the total project budget must go to the partners in least developed, low and lower middle income countries.

  • Synthesis work

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    The r4d programme and the thematic modules conclude with synthesis products targeted at various communities in science, policy, practice and civil society.

    The Steering Committee mandates the programme synthesis work. The respective Review Panels mandate the module syntheses work.

    For more information please visit the r4d synthesis page .