Frontiers of Development Symposium

Monday 12 - Wednesday 14 February


Outstanding UK researchers who are in the most productive phase of their research career often will not have had the opportunities to build the networks and relationships necessary to support high-impact research around development challenges. In particular, neither will they have had sufficient opportunity to network and engage with their peers outside their disciplinary silos on problems and themes which cross those traditional boundaries, nor will they have been able to build the connections with development professionals and researchers from the Global South that will support them in understanding the contexts and routes to impact. In the long-term, the various other strands within GCRF that build UK capacity around Global Challenges research will address this issue. However, in the short-term, there is a need to develop those at the cutting-edge of UK research activity, but who were trained outside an international development context.

The Programme

Frontiers of Development is a cross-Academy programme, building on the success of the Frontiers of Engineering events held by the Royal Academy of Engineering.  Applying a similar format, the Frontiers of Development meetings aim to bring together individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to form collaborations addressing global challenges. We aim to create an interdisciplinary atmosphere  by inviting academics and industry professionals from engineering and non-engineering backgrounds. 

Attendance at the symposia is by invitation only following a rigorous selection process. Attendees should nominate themselves, or someone else, using the following links:

Expression of Interest form

Nomination of Colleague form

We strongly welcome expressions of interest from eligible candidates or nominations from appropriate senior individuals, such as heads of department, Fellows of the Academy or CEOs.

There is no set mould for a participant, however we imagine candidates to have the following characteristics:

  • Be 5-20 years post-doctorate, or have equivalent experience in industry
  • Have an established interest in working for international development purposes, or be keen to apply existing work to a development context
  • Have the potential to be a future leader of their academic/industry community


The Royal Academy of Engineering will cover expenses, travel and accommodation for succesful applicants. If you meet the above criteria, find out more about how to get involved here.

This programme forms part of the Joint Academies Resilient Futures Programme, with a view to making the Frontiers of Development symposia into a space for deep, cross-discipline collaboration; to create an event which brings future profession leaders and outstanding minds together to use their expertise to complement others' in the hope of finding solutions to today's many development challenges. 

The timing of the first symposium in Rwanda has been brought in-line with the second round of the GCRF Networking Grants, due to open in late January 2018, and we hope that collaborations formed at the meeting will apply for funding through this scheme.

For more information, please contact Russell Lamb at (+44) 20 7766 0738 , or

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