We transform the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally, through our world-class research, learning and teaching.

Over the last fifty years, we have worked with governments, philanthropic foundations, academic institutions and civil society organisations to transform approaches to progressive social, political and economic change. We have done this in a number of ways:

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

In an era of unprecedented environmental, social, political, economic and technological disruptions, we are committed to understanding people’s lived experiences and the political, social and economic realities that shape these, and bringing them to bear on policy and practice that truly improves lives.

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

Our 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, we 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.

Supporting pro-poor economic growth and good governance

We have helped foster innovative new partnerships that have generated millions of dollars in additional tax revenues in Africa that can be reinvested in countries’ national development. Taxation is high on the agenda for policymakers as a central means of financing sustainable development. In Rwanda, for example, the government has prioritised strengthening tax collection in order to reduce dependency on foreign aid and increase public spending on key areas including infrastructure, education, agriculture, and health. Working in partnership with the Rwanda Revenue Authority, IDS researchers are contributing to more equitable and efficient taxation that is conducive to economic growth and good governance.

See more examples of our impact