Prestigious research programme makes its home at IDD

Posted on Wednesday 9th April 2014

dlpA prestigious international research initiative, the Developmental Leadership Program, is to make its home at IDD with funding in place to continue its work for the next three years.

The new research grant, from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), marks a first step towards the consolidation of the Developmental Leadership Program as a global partnership. It establishes the research team’s hub at IDD, where DLP’s recently appointed Director of Research, Dr Heather Marquette, is Reader in Development Politics. 

Within the next six months, the DLP team will establish partnerships with other leading academic institutions around the world. DLP is already working closely with senior researchers at University College London, where DLP’s Deputy Director of Research, Dr David Hudson, is based, and La Trobe University in Melbourne, where Chris Roche, DLP’s senior research partner in located, among others.

Welcoming the new funding, Dr Marquette said: “It is a real privilege to lead this next stage of DLP. We have an exciting work plan ahead and look forward to continuing DLP’s long-standing programme of high quality, high impact research that is relevant to today’s development policy challenges.”

DLP was founded by the late Dr Adrian Leftwich in close association with Steve Hogg, senior governance specialist at what was then AusAID. The aim was to produce a body of research to fill an important gap in international thinking and policy about the crucial role played by leaders and coalitions in the politics of development. It has already gathered significant evidence on the role and importance of leadership and coalitions in developmental outcomes in sectors ranging from education to climate change.

In the year since Dr Leftwich’s death, his colleagues have been working to preserve and build on his legacy. DLP’s home at the University of Birmingham will give it greater stability and room for growth.

DLP’s work has been widely praised. According to Max Everest-Phillips, Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, DLP is “one of the most innovative research programs in international development”.

And DLP’s research has proved its worth in the field. Its findings have influenced more than AU$ 1 billion of aid programming since 2006, and it has been described as one of the Australian aid program’s flagship research initiatives. The DLP team is working with agencies including the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme, and the UK Government’s Department for International Development.

Commenting on the new agreement, DFAT said:

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is proud to be involved in supporting a research initiative that has a niche understanding of the critical role of leaders and coalitions in forging legitimate institutions to promote inclusive economic growth, social development and stability. 

We look forward to working with DLP to progress the practical application of its research findings and generate new ideas about what works for aid investments targeting governance reforms and institutional change.