Research impact

IDD's research activities challenge and contribute to contemporary debates in development studies and policy. Since 1968, IDD has been committed to research that is ground-breaking, interdisciplinary and policy-relevant. Our goals for our research are to challenge existing paradigms and to help shape theoretical and policy debates in development studies.

IDD has been known for many years for research on governance and development, with particular strengths in local government and corruption. In recent years, we have also developed strength in research on state-building and security, the relationship between Religions and Development, Service delivery, natural resource management and aid management. These are reflected in two key thematic areas of research in IDD:

We are committed to working closely with the end users of our research and in working in partnership with Southern academics. We have strong networks of researchers in East and West Africa and South Asia, in particular, and we have worked for many years in many countries around the world.

Our research is supported by a range of funders, especially the ESRC, British Academy, NERC, European Union, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and other multilateral and bilateral aid agencies. It is presented to academic audiences all over the world, contributes to major international debates about development policy, links with our policy advisory work, and informs the education and training we offer.

Research culture

IDD has an active research culture that has provided the bedrock on which we have established an international reputation as one of the UK's leading academic institutions in the field of development studies. Our students join an active research community, including both members of staff and other research students. We host a wide range of seminars and have established a new Visiting Fellows programme to bring internationally renowned scholars and policy-makers to IDD.

More research projects throughout the department

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) latest research

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) aims to promote interdisciplinary research by combining expertise from across the breadth of the University to address major cross-cutting themes that are important, relevant and timely.

Saving Humans: Risk, Intervention, Survival
'Saving Humans' is an innovative and timely theme which consolidates existing University research agendas, provides opportunities for creating novel and exciting partnerships, transcends divides between arts, social sciences and natural sciences and, most importantly, addresses broader issues of social, political and moral concern for humanity’s future.
Theme Leaders: Professor David Hudson  Professor Paul Jackson and Professor Nick Wheeler 

Policy Briefs

IDD publishes a series of Policy Briefs to support evidence-informed decision-making in international development. These present the policy implications of IDD research in a concise and accessible format. Topics covered so far include statebuilding, peacebuilding, anti-corruption, transitional justice and environmental mainstreaming.

See Policy Briefs at IDD.


IDD is proud to host GSDRC, which provides applied knowledge services on demand and online. GSDRC's specialist researchers synthesise the latest evidence and expert thinking on governance, social development, humanitarian and conflict issues to inform policy and practice. Read more - GSDRC: policy-oriented research.

Developmental Leadership Program

IDD is also home to the highly-regarded Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), an international research initiative that aims to increase understanding of the political processes that drive or constrain development. DLP’s work focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate institutions that promote developmental outcomes.  Read more – DLP: research on leadership and the politics of development.