Governance and funding
The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) was founded in 1966 as an independent research institute based at the University of Sussex. IDS has close links with the University, but is financially and constitutionally independent.
How we are funded
IDS receives no core funding. Funds are secured from a range of organisations and represent a combination of research grants and fees from advisory work, teaching, and publication sales and some donations and legacies.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) is the Institute's largest funder. IDS also receives funds from the European Union, various UN agencies, and a wide range of aid agencies, trusts and foundations. Many of these funds are won competitively and a significant proportion is transferred to partners, including research organisations, in developing countries.
Funding ethics and transparency
Our funding ethics policy sets out the parameters and principles for the Institute to accept (or reject) funding and donations. Our approach to funding transparency has the following components and, taken together, these should provide a high degree of confidence in how we reach decisions and the information we share about this aspect of our work:
Of particular relevance to debates around transparency, the policy makes a public statement about the Institute’s approach that will be accessible to potential funders and those who want to understand how we operate in this area of our work.
It also makes a number of important commitments to transparency. The Institute:
- will not accept funding that is wholly anonymous (i.e. where the donor will not make their identity known to the Institute even on a confidential basis)
- will only accept funding brokered by a third party with the approval of the Funding Ethics Panel
- requires full disclosure of any known connection between a potential funder and a member of Institute staff; a Trustee, or a student currently or recently registered for an academic award receiving tuition or supervision from the Institute
- will maintain a register of interests recording any such connections
- will extricate itself from the relationship immediately should it accept funding in good faith and subsequently discover that any of the exclusions apply
- reserves the right to publish information about major funders
Largest five donors and the % of IDS income they contributed in 2015/16
- UK Department for International Development (36.7%)
- Economic and Social Research Council (9.1%)
- Hivos (6.1%)
- PATH (5.1%)
- International Food Policy Research Institute (3.3%)
Funding over $5,000
See a complete list of all funders who have directly supported IDS with funding over $5000 from April 2015 to March 2016 (pdf).
How we are governed
Our Board of Trustees
As an independent charity, IDS is governed by a Board of Trustees, who are responsible for agreeing our overall strategy, setting policy, monitoring performance and promoting the interests of the Institute.
Our Board of Trustees consists of people from UK and overseas organisations with expertise in international development, research and policy. It includes two staff trustees and one trustee nominated by IDS alumni. The Board's Nominations Committee consults widely about membership and aims to appoint according to a range of expertise and characteristics that support and reflect the Institute's work.
The Board meets three times a year, in March, July and December, and IDS' Director of Strategic Operations serves as Company Secretary. See a list of IDS' current Board of Trustees.
Strategic Leadership Group
The Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) is the executive decision-making body of the Institute. Its function is to take strategic decisions, and it's supported by a number of sub-Committees that look at issues in the areas of risk management, research strategy, ICT, resources and space.
It is chaired by IDS Director, Melissa Leach and comprises: