GSDRC: policy-oriented research

GSDRC Applied Knowledge ServicesFor over a decade, IDD has led a cutting-edge research and knowledge management centre, GSDRC. This supports many aid agencies, synthesising the latest evidence and expert thinking to inform policy and practice. GSDRC provides applied knowledge services on demand and online, specialising in issues of governance, social development, humanitarian response and conflict.

GSDRC services

GSDRC is best known for its 'Research Helpdesk', which provides rapid-response research on questions from donor agencies and partner governments in developing countries. Each year, GSDRC produces approximately 100 Helpdesk Research Reports reviewing current evidence and knowledge in specific subject areas. Over 350 of these reports are available online. Other key GSDRC services include:

  • Topic Guides: reviews of the evidence, debates and key issues on over 20 topics
  • E-library: a searchable repository of over 4500 quality publications, with summaries
  • E-bulletin: a monthly digest of new resources on GSDRC topics
  • Professional Development Directory: online directory of quality training courses

Ongoing expansion

GSDRC’s high quality, innovative services have attracted an increasing number of donor agencies and NGOs: clients include DFID, AusAID, the European Commission, the OECD and the World Bank. The project has expanded significantly over the past decade, and IDD currently hosts 11 GSDRC staff members. Three more GSDRC researchers are based at IDS and the University of Manchester.

GSDRC began in 2001 as the Governance Resource Centre, established by the UK government’s Department for International Development. In 2005, it expanded to become the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, also covering conflict issues. GSDRC began providing research services to the Australian Government in 2009, and in 2012 added humanitarian issues to its areas of focus.

In 2012-13, GSDRC gained two partners, further support from UKaid and AusAID, and a major new client – the European Commission’s Instrument for Stability. Longstanding GSDRC partners IDD and IDS have been joined by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, and by ODI. GSDRC is now providing more services, including professional development resources, on a wider range of topics.