We believe passionately that cutting-edge research, knowledge and evidence are crucial to achieving the transformative changes that will bring about more equal, sustainable and safe societies where everyone can live secure, fulfilling lives free from poverty and injustice.

This belief is based on the real contribution that IDS' work over the last fifty years, with partners, has made towards improving the lives and wellbeing of people across the globe. We have done this in a number of ways:

  1. By contributing to changes in policy and practice.
  2. By helping to shift attitudes and behaviours around issues.
  3. By helping to build the capacity of academics, practitioners and policy makers to generate, access and apply research and knowledge.
  4. By developing and strengthening the networks which are critical to research and knowledge being shared and mobilised and ultimately making a positive difference.

Responding to crises

Our ability to rapidly mobilise decades of existing knowledge and convene networks of experts in response to the Ebola outbreak helped save thousands of lives across West Africa by improving the targeting of humanitarian efforts and inform national governments, charities and communities on how they can be better prepared for future pandemics.

Contributing to long-term development

IDS' research has also helped contribute to long-term development in countries such as Bangladesh. Bangladesh is seen as an example of progressive, pro-poor and country-driven development, which well-connected research and policy networks have assisted in achieving. For example, through a long-standing partnership with BRAC, IDS helped shape ground breaking development programmes including BRAC's Targeting the Ultra Poor Programme which as of 2015 had helped 75,000 people graduate out of extreme poverty.

Development through Engaged Excellence

At IDS we work towards realising this type of impact through our distinctive engaged excellence approach which means working in partnership with governments, NGOs, academics, community groups and citizens to construct, mobilise and operationalise knowledge, and to facilitate teaching and mutual learning for development.

Together with our global network of partners, IDS is helping to address some of the world's most pressing development challenges including disease such as ebola, hunger and undernutrition and violent conflict, as well as nurturing a new generation of global leaders through our teaching and learning programmes.

Our stories of impact

Cartoon Movement, Open Data

Using Open Knowledge to improve development outcomes

IDS is a global leader in knowledge mobilisation for development. This impact story illustrates how our Global Open Knowledge Hub has led to increased efficiency, better sharing and reduced duplication in the sharing of knowledge; increased visibility, use and ultimately impact of research evidence in policy and practice; and increased opportunities for innovation in the presentation of knowledge to make it more appropriate and engaging for audiences in different contexts. More details

Medics in Guinea. Credit: European Commission DG ECHO

A ‘real-time’ and anthropological response to the Ebola crisis

The Ebola epidemic that began in the Guinea-Sierra Leone-Liberia border region in December 2013 spread fast through the villages, cities and trade routes of this highly-peopled, economically unequal region. The initial international response by donor and humanitarian agencies faced resistance from many communities because it failed to take account of local customs and practices such as burials. More details

Participate Initiative - MEND

Making ‘leave no-one behind’ a reality

The Participate Initiative wanted to shape a different process around the creation of the SDGs. It was established in 2012 and was initially co-convened by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Beyond 2015, a global civil society movement with over 1500 organisational members in 152 countries. It was funded by the UK Government. More details