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2019: Grand challenges

The Research Fortnight news team previews the turbulent year ahead, as researchers are confronted with the spending review, Brexit and more.

For UK researchers, uncertainty will hit its peak as Brexit becomes a reality on 29 March, barring any unexpected additional political earthquakes. But Brexit is just one of the tremors shaking research in 2019.

The government is gathering evidence for a comprehensive spending review this year, which will set departmental budgets and the framework for future funding programmes for beyond 2020. If the government cannot use the review to outline significant steps towards achieving its goal to increase total R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, voices questioning its commitment to that ambition will get even louder. The review should also shed light on whether the Newton Fund and the Global Challenges Research Fund, two large funding schemes for development research, will continue beyond 2021.

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