Research and knowledge clusters

Our international development research is organised into closely linked multidisciplinary research and knowledge clusters.

Business, Markets and the State

Investigating how and under what conditions businesses and market systems enable or constrain pathways for positive development, and the role of the state in these processes, and is currently developing its programme of work through the IDS Business and Development Centre.


A focus on the circumstances of poor and vulnerable people and explores ways in which different forms of inequalities interact to produce both good and bad outcomes for people in cities.

Conflict and Violence

Developing new insights into how people live and interact in contexts of conflict and violence, and what institutions best support them.

Digital and Technology

The Digital and Technology Cluster research will challenge prevailing technocratic views by highlighting inequalities that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) may cause.

Gender and Sexuality

Our research strives towards a world free of social and gender injustice, where unequal gendered power relations are transformed and the rights of all human beings are upheld in ways that both challenge and transcend axes of social difference, including sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, religion and disability.


The Governance Cluster identifies the following sub-themes of research to ensure citizens are represented and governed fairly in a world of changing state authorities.

Green Transformations

Accelerating sustainability is a priority theme of IDS. The undeniable search for more material prosperity by more and more people undermines the sustainability of human life on our planet. The newly established Green Transformations Cluster concentrates on this dilemma and the name seeks to bring this out.

Health and Nutrition

The Health and Nutrition Cluster pursues programmes of research and policy engagement on health systems, nutrition and understandings of zoonotic diseases.

Participation, Inclustion and Social Change

Participation Cluster research focuses on issues of systematic social exclusion facing women, people living in extreme poverty, people with disabilities, slaves and bonded labourers and others.

Power and Popular Politics

Power and Popular Politics Cluster focuses on the governance struggles of non-elites. We rearticulate understandings of society and government from a popular perspective.

Resource Politics

Resource Politics Cluster believes accelerating sustainability needs to go beyond current ‘think global, act global’ thinking, which emphasises the need for large-scale responses to resource challenges and the uncertainties brought by global environmental change.

Rural Futures

The Rural Futures Cluster seeks to support the emergence of pathways that deliver both greater social justice and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognising their important interconnections with urban areas.

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