David O’Brien manages research programs at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada supporting the application of science to address economic, social and environmental challenges.
He is a Senior Program Specialist with expertise in research policy, the funding and organization of international cooperation, humanitarian action, human and social capital. David O’Brien develops large-scale research programs that catalyze research groups to tackle development challenges – on both a national and international level.
Before joining IDRC in 2006, O’Brien held senior management, advisory, and research positions at the University of Saskatchewan, New York University, University of Sussex, and Rights and Democracy. He has published on the workings of international aid, human rights, and humanitarian systems. O’Brien has conducted field research on how the organization of private sector and community actors impacted political transformations in Central America and Russia.
O’Brien holds a PhD in social science from Wageningen University (Netherlands) and master’s degree in development studies from University of Sussex (United Kingdom).