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Grand Challenge Fund (GCF)

The Grand Challenge Fund (GCF) is a key element of the Higher Education Development in Pakistan Project supported by the World Bank and implemented by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The GCF is anticipated to promote research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, and will provide funds to selected institutions based upon a competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation of proposals.

GCF will support large, multisectoral/multidimensional research projects. Successful GCF projects are anticipated to be collaborative in scope, with research teams working cooperatively to accelerate research progress for societal impact. Projects are expected to use a systems-type approach in developing the research agenda, where separate projects come together to achieve a broad-based thematic research advance. Projects should include: relevant and cutting-edge research activities and postgraduate student training.

Research conducted in GCF projects must address specific challenges associated with the targeted priority thematic areas. A successful GCF funded project must clearly demonstrate a solution or significant progress in addressing a grand challenge of national importance and may result in development of a consensus and coalition for large-scale adoption, deployment, or scaling of the proposed solution in 3-5 years time from the point of award. Results should be disseminated in international peer reviewed journals, as well as to policymakers and stakeholders in relevant disciplines.

The portfolio of awards supported through the Grand Challenge Fund will address the broad range of priority thematic areas. It is anticipated that awards will be distributed at academic institutions across Pakistan, and that a significant proportion of the PIs will be female.‚Äč