Whether linked to water or land, forests or food, urbanisation or disease, rapid environmental change is posing major challenges for development policy.

With social systems also changing rapidly, the core development challenges of alleviating poverty and inequity are increasingly complex. IDS research seeks to expose these new challenges and explore ways of meeting them. Our approach enables a distinctive contribution to sustainability debates, as well as to broader discussions of changing relationships between science, society and participation.

Our major areas of work include: climate change, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture and food, health and disease, sustainable livelihoods, the Rio+20 process and beyond, and the completion of a decade's work on environmental policy processes.

Photo of IDS researcher Amber Huff More details

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IDS staff or research student More details

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Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow in the IDS Rural Futures research cluster More details

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‘Seeing’ Conflicts at the Margins: Understanding Community Experiences Through Social Research and Digital Narrative in Kenya and Madagascar

In a context of unprecedented investment in natural resource developments, this project bridges the social sciences, the humanities and community-based participatory research to ask how different ‘communities’ of actors ‘see’ and experience resource conflicts in Kenya and Madagascar. We use social science alongside a variety of participatory multimedia methods to open up conflict research to more diverse framings and voices, which can offer new insights on the drivers of resource conflict and pathways to peace. More details

Climate Change, Uncertainty and Tranformation

This project sees uncertainty as a key barrier to efforts to support social transformation to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. More details

DFID Innovation Prizes for Environment and Development

Running innovation prizes that will improve poor people's resilience to climate change. More details

Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium

A STEPS-led consortium of researchers aiming to advance understanding of the connections between disease and environment in Africa, focusing on animal-to-human disease transmission.. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Environment and PRSPs

This research project was initiated and conceptualised in the framework of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP), an informal network of around 30-donor and non-governmental organisations that works on strengthening the nexus between poverty reduction and environmental protection in development cooperation. More details

Global Food and Farming Futures – Lead Expert Group

The Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures addresses the question: ‘How can a future global population of 9 billion people all be fed healthily and sustainably?' More details

GM Crops and Indigenous Management Skill

This project examines the effects of GM seeds on the ‘indigenous management skill’ (IMS) that is crucial to the productivity and sustainability of small-scale crop cultivation. More details

Market-Based Mangrove Afforestation and Reforestation in Kenya and India

This study aims to understand and compare processes and relationships associated with the ‘marketization of nature’ – how nature-based commodities and markets for trading them are brought into being – in the context of mangrove afforestation, reforestation and restoration projects in Kenya and India. More details

Pro-Poor Electricity Provision

This programme will develop and promote evidence-based policy and programme guidance on low carbon energy investments to benefit poor people, especially women and girls. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

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IDS Working Paper

Hybrid Activism: Paths of Globalisation in the Brazilian Environmental Movement

IDS Working Paper 332 (2009)

Focusing on two case studies of environmental activism in Brazil, this paper argues against theories that consider local and global activism as two separate realms. More details

Front cover of Bulletin 39.4, Poverty in a Changing Climate

Poverty in a Changing Climate

IDS Bulletin 39.4 (2008)

Climate change gets attention across the world. IPCC findings call for radical limits to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations responsible for human-induced climate change. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Biotechnology and Biodiversity Debates and Policies in Africa

International Journal of Biotechnology 10.2/3 (2008)

This paper characterises debates, considers policy and discusses the rationale for proactive GM technology policy (as in South Africa) and precautionary ones (such as in Ethiopia). More details

Cover of Displaced by Development book

Displaced by Development. Confronting Marginalisation and Gender Injustice

Mehta's book applies gender analysis to development induced displacement and resettlement in the Indian context. It highlights the need to focus specifically on how processes of displacement and resettlement affect social groups differently with regard to axes such as gender, class, caste and tribe More details

Front cover of Bulletin 38.5, Understanding Participation Through Science and Technology

Understanding Participation Through Science and Technology

IDS Bulletin 38.5 (2007)

Science and technology need society. But does society need science and technology? This is one of the questions posed in this issue of the IDS Bulletin, which brings together insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Development Studies (DS). More details

IDS publications on international development research

When Social Movements Bypass the Poor: Asbestos Pollution, International Litigation and Griqua Cultural Identity

Journal of Southern African Studies 33.4 (2007)

This article examines citizen mobilisation and activism in relation to asbestos disease and litigation. More details

IDS Working Paper

'I've Got the Dust as Well': Asbestos Disease, Litigation and Laggers

IDS Working Paper 287 (2007)

Asbestos diseases are closely associated with cancer and death. They are therefore widely recognised for their insidious, fearsome and tainted nature. Through an examination of stress associated with disease, the paper explores the medical and legal framings of asbestos disease in the UK and complements them with an investigation of laggers? More details