Things to consider before applying

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Due Diligence Short Questionnaire


All third-party organisations that may receive funding from the University of Oxford to collaborate in externally funded research projects (funded by the UK Research Councils (UKRI) under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)) must complete the Due Diligence Questionnaire. It is designed to provide assurance to the Research Councils that any potential collaborator or sub-contractor is eligible to receive funding and has policies on management of financial risk.

Please liaise with your departmental Research Services contact for approval before submitting an application.

For funding such as GCRF, applications must meet eligibility requirements in order to be considered. ODA requirements are defined as working towards the economic development and welfare of a country on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. This list of countries is determined by the OECD and can be found on the OECD website.

The key documents for the GCRF ODA requirement are the UKRI pages on GCRF

Refer to the ODA factsheet created by Oxford University or see our ODA background pages and useful ODA flowchart from ESRC.

Applications for GCRF must include a statement of ODA compliance. This is a stand-alone document used to decide whether to pass the application on for review. If this statement does not meet the requirements, the proposal will not go for review. Please make sure that you are clear on how to write an ODA compliance statement. For more guidance, check the 'Writing a Compliance Statement' information sheet.

Please note, there is no "correct" way to write an on ODA statement and this will vary depending on your project, if you would like specific advice please contact

There are also general ODA resources in the SharePoint GCRF Library.

Where we intend to collaborate with organisations based in high risk countries, additional work will be required around due diligence to ensure that the University has considered and mitigated risks effectively to continue the working relationship. It is advisable to seek further advice from Finance Division prior to application, if you think that the proposed country might create financial difficulties.

The FATF website gives an indicator of high risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions.

You can also check the corruption index on Transparency International's webpages.

Payments to Iran and North Korea are particularly difficult and no payments to these countries should be attempted.

Payments to Cuba, Syria, South Sudan, Sudan and Crimea require extensive pre-approval from the bank of any payments. Funds sent to the University from these countries will be intercepted and there is a risk that these are not returned to the sender or forwarded to the University.

The University needs to ensure that we do not enter contracts with individuals or entities that we will not be able to honour.

Please consult with Treasury and speak to either Jan Smith or Sean Anderson before entering into any contracts that will involve any of the countries above.

A shortlist of countries are currently flagged for concern and the University cannot transfer funds to collaborators in these locations. These countries are: Iran, North Korea, North and South Sudan, Cuba, Syria and Crimea.

Please contact the Treasury team if you have concerns about the country in which your operations will be based.

Note: UK government sanctions against Iran were lifted in March 2017 but issues with transferring funds to Iran may still exist. The UK government has a guide to doing business in Iran. However, please note that the University is currently still unable to make financial transfers to Iran due to banking constraints.

There are also limitations on some overseas organisations regarding the receipt of funds from organisations other than their own government. Please confirm with the prospective collaborator that they are able to receive payments from the University of Oxford by bank transfer.

Please see the dropdown above on financial risks.

For safety and travel restrictions, see the FCO site.

Working with divisions and departments, Research Services has produced a list of problems experienced by researchers in their project countries. If you would like to add to or correct this list, please contact .

For GCRF, the Research Councils terms and conditions require thorough due diligence of collaborators to be undertaken. Please contact your Research Services divisional team who will be happy to advise on the terms and conditions which may be applicable to your project, and also on any financial due diligence which may be required under these terms.


The Social Sciences Division have produced guidance on facilitating and supporting large and multi-partner meetings, as well as for pulling together grants. These resources can be accessed through the Social Sciences SharePoint.

Departments and divisions offer different resources and specific research support. Please check with your relevant department or division for specific support available.



RCUK have produced guidance on 'Funders observations on preparing your proposal' for GCRF. One of the key criteria is that it is ODA-eligible. RCUK have stated that proposals that cannot demonstrate ODA compliance will not be considered.

Writing an ODA compliance statement is a key part of GCRF applications. Research Services have put together an information sheet on writing an ODA compliance statement.

This will depend very much on the context and nature of your research, for example whether you are working in a fragile state, with indigenous or other marginalised groups, on sensitive political or social issues, etc. The University is committed to promoting the highest possible ethical standards and expects all researchers to give full consideration to the ethical dimensions of their research by engaging with these issues early in the research process.

The University has appointed a dedicated ethics advisor, with a university-wide remit to provide ongoing support to development-related research in a number of ways: 

  • Complex ethics applications
  • Design of ethically sound protocols, including consent forms, information sheets and community engagement strategies. 
  • Bespoke training
  • Drafting of guidelines and policies
  • Design of ODA-compliant capacity building programmes
  • Setting up ODA-compliant equitable partnerships. 
  • Research and analysis of comples ethical/development issues - e.g. through desk-reviews, qualitative/mixed methods, theoretical analysis. 
  • Monitoring and evaluation

Researchers preparing a funding application to the GCRF or other ODA-related funding schemes are expected to contact Dr Maru Mormina to ensure that ethical considerations are adequately addressed and embedded in the proposal. 

The University has also produced the following document to prompt thinking around some of these ethical issues.