Research Commissioning Centre

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Research Commissioning Centre (RCC) has been established to commission and manage research to enhance development and foreign policy impact.

Led by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), the University of Birmingham, and an unmatched consortium of UK and global research partners, the RCC aims to commission different types of high-quality research in FCDO’s key priority areas.

About the RCC

The RCC provides support to FCDO teams for commissioning and delivering high-quality and impactful research. It addresses challenges associated with research bureaucracy, as highlighted by the Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy, by providing a streamlined process for commissioning and delivering FCDO-funded research.

How we work

The RCC aims to reduce administrative burden, accelerate access to world class academics and strengthen the ability to deliver rapid and responsive research commissioning, all with a focus on impact. The RCC will start with a limited number of projects in the proof-of-concept phase, and then scale up significantly within a few years. A central role of the RCC will enable stronger coordination across FCDO research and investments, including identifying opportunities for cross-sectoral research. Inclusion and equitable partnership principles will be at the heart of the RCC to drive high-quality and impactful research.

How to apply

If selected, RCC funding recipients will be required to comply with several guidelines and policies to ensure high standards of research and programme delivery. Shortlisted funding recipients will be assessed for compliance during the due diligence process. Potential funding recipients are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the following resources, which will be used throughout the delivery of RCC-funded projects.

Note: In case of any discrepancies between the FCDO’s PrOF guidance and 3ie’s policies, the PrOF guidance will prevail.
*Applicants are not required to fill in the risk register template at the Calls for Proposals stage. This resource is included for information only.

Research programmes

Understanding the impacts of El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole in the Indo-Pacific

As part of an RCC-commissioned project, 3ie is leading the development of a systematic review to examine the evidence on the effects of El Niño and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole on health, economics, conflict migration, food and security across low- and middle-income countries in the Indo-Pacific Region. The protocol for this review and additional information on this project is available here.

Job opportunities

  • Director – FCDO Research Commissioning Centre: 3ie seeks an outstanding candidate to lead the Research Commissioning Centre. The Director will be responsible for providing strategic direction, leading the secretariat and operations of the RCC, liaising with FCDO, overseeing research commissions, engaging and collaborating with key stakeholders and partners, and reporting to 3ie's leadership and the RCC steering committee. Read more
At the moment we don’t have any open opportunity

Call for proposals: Systematic review on the impact of climate change on rail operations in Turkey

On behalf of the FCDO Research Commissioning Centre, 3ie invites proposals from organisations or consortia to conduct a systematic review of the impact of climate change on rail operations in Turkey.

Call for proposals: The use of artificial intelligence in food and agriculture

On behalf of the FCDO Research Commissioning Centre, 3ie invites proposals from organisations or consortia to produce a landscape study on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in food and agriculture.

Call for expressions of interest: Russian information operations in the Baltics

On behalf of the FCDO Research Commissioning Centre, 3ie invites expressions of interest from organisations or consortia to conduct a systematic review of the effects of policies tackling Russian information campaigns and an evaluation of the ban on Russian propaganda channels in the three Baltic countries. The full terms of reference for this funding opportunity require applicants to hold at minimum ‘SC’ security clearance. For more information, see detailed call for expressions of interest.

Call for proposals: Systematic review on shadow economy in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, Cyprus and Malta: evidence on policy actions

On behalf of the FCDO Research Commissioning Centre, 3ie invites proposals from organisations or consortia to conduct a systematic review of the shadow economy in the Baltics. The aim of this research is to identify evidence-informed policy options to tackle the shadow economy across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Cyprus, Georgia, and Moldova.

Upcoming opportunities

In this section, we will provide information about upcoming opportunities, also known as prior information notices, coming from the RCC. These opportunities will cover a range of development and diplomacy topics.

Evidence on Evidence Use Programme

While the case for evidence use in policymaking is difficult to refute, with more than 40 years of research and drive to increase evidence uptake in policy, barriers to evidence use remain and governance around evidence use remains weak. Barriers are particularly strong in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Most of the current research on the use of evidence in policymaking has engaged in a limited manner with the political and institutional nature of decision-making. Improving the use of evidence in policy will require the establishment of principles of what would constitute good evidence to inform policy, along with good use of evidence within a policy process.

We will issue a call for proposals for research to understand and generate evidence on the barriers, facilitators, politics, institutional factors around evidence use and to identify effective policies, interventions and institutions that have helped bridge the gap between evidence and policy. This will focus on evidence use and uptake within developing countries, with a particular focus on evidence use within policymaking for economic development.

Platform for Political Economy Research: Politics of Infrastructure Megaprojects

Across the world, governments embark on ambitious infrastructure megaprojects, costing from tens of millions to billions of dollars. While megaprojects are intended to have transformational effects on growth and development, their size, scale, longevity, and technical and institutional complexity make them inherently risky. While there are many examples of high-return megaprojects, others remain unfinished; fail to improve quality of life and access to services; have led to forced resettlement; aggravated conflict; been associated with grand corruption scandals; or have resulted in debt distress or default. This call for proposals will fund research that aims to address the evidence gap on the politics of infrastructure megaprojects framed around i) politics, ii) governance, iii) financing, and iv) technology and new data. It will generate operationally relevant evidence to improve the prioritisation, costing, design, procurement, and tendering processes that underpin megaprojects.

Technology and Governance Evidence Platform

On behalf of the Politics, Conflict and Humanitarian (PCH) and Technology Innovation Units at FCDO’s Research and Evidence Directorate, we will commission a new evidence platform on emerging technologies' impact on governance, local communities, and global issues, including service delivery, authoritarian regime, elite capture, violence, organised crime, climate concerns, and transnational uses of technology.

The platform will serve as a hub for mobilising expertise and research on tech and governance, generating evidence on ‘what works’ for building technology governance across a range of priority areas and geographies.