City scape Kathmandu

Cityscape of Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: v2osk / Unsplash 

This UKRI GCRF Collective Programme funded project brings together scholars and practitioners in different disciplines from the UK, Nepal and Thailand to facilitate joint learning between local research capacity and those from, or working with, least powerful communities in order to generate new knowledge and new alliances of science and people. The collaboration will draw on critical insights into:

  1. equity in the governance of urban resilience;
  2. the role of science and expertise in narratives of urban resilience; and
  3. the interplay between relational knowledge, social learning and resilience.

The team inform the process by offering analytical tools focused on different aspects of the urban context: the systemic production of risk; governance and accountability; and physical infrastructure design.

New tools will be developed and applied in Nepal and Thailand to reveal two critical urban phenomena. First, how narratives of risk and resilience rely on and reinforce expertise, infrastructure and institutions, sustaining inequality in access to services. And second, how the complexity of material and political relations in urban systems creates risk of failures in service provision with uneven impacts on residents.

The tools will enable those working with marginal communities to identify strategic alliances and entry-points for engagement, opening spaces for dialogue in the city that generate new knowledge and narratives, securing decision making power for marginalized groups and anchoring resilience in the complexity of urban risk creation.

Five phases of research and action are to be undertaken to:

  1.  Reveal new understandings of the problem context;
  2. Co-develop new tools for analysis with marginalized groups and the organizations that work with them;
  3. Identify new strategic alliances and alternative infrastructure development pathways in the study cities;
  4. Open new political space, building and reinforcing new alliances of science and people, laying the ground for more equitable material outcomes and political relations;
  5. Enable regional learning between Thailand and Nepal to support engagement with national and regional decision makers.


This project is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Global Challenges Research Fund. The GCRF Collective Programme brings together a wide range of researchers and experts from across the UK and developing countries to:

  • generate innovative solutions to intractable development issues
  • contribute to enabling healthier and safer lives, sustainable development and prosperity for all.

The Programme is an investment of £147 million across 18 funding opportunities. It is designed to enhance the overall impact across UKRI’s six strategic GCRF challenge portfolios in:

  • global health
  • education
  • sustainable cities
  • food systems
  • conflict
  • resilience.

Read more about the programme (pdf).