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Richard Longhurst

Research Associate

Richard Longhurst trained as an agricultural economist at London and Cornell Universities. This started a long standing interest in food policy, nutrition and child health, and after two years working at the World Bank on nutrition policy, he completed a doctorate in development economics at Sussex University in 1980 with field work in northern Nigeria, studying the dynamics of the family farm operation, household allocation of labour and food and child undernutrition.

Thereafter he worked for FAO and the Ford Foundation and as a freelance consultant on agriculture, rural development, child health and humanitarian programmes until the mid-1990s. He then became a manager and implementer of evaluations at the Commonwealth Secretariat and International Labour Office.

Evaluation work took him into a broader range of issues including aid policy, UN reform, gender, child labour, mainstreaming human rights and performance management, leaving him with a realistic approach to the results based agenda. He has also worked as a consultant for various international organisations, being DFID, IFAD, IMO, UNAIDS, UNCTAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO.

More by accident than design, he has divided appointments between international organisations and universities including the Centre for International Child Health at London University and two periods at IDS where he now works as a Research Associate. These experiences have enabled him to integrate agency experience and policy with research in several areas.

At IDS he has been IDS team leader for the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) research programme, co-manager for Co-manager, Impact Evaluation of DFID Nutrition and Livelihoods Programme, Bangladesh; Senior advisor, Evaluation of DFID-ESRC Joint Research Fund for Poverty Alleviation and Evaluation of DFID Young Lives Research programme; and team member of IDS/Gates Foundation Project on Agricultural Learning and Impact Assessment Strategy; Operations Research and Impact Evaluation component of Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria, and Tackling the Drivers of Child Labour Programme. These assignments have allowed him to re-engage  with his earlier work on policy approaches to eradicating child undernutrition.  Other assignment include Development of Analytical Framework and Tanzania Case study, Sustainability studies, ILO-IPEC; and Evaluability Framework for Impact Evaluations, ILO-IPEC. He advised ILO and UNAIDS on the implementation of external organisational evaluations and was a manager of global and country evaluations in ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC); and Technical Adviser for Second Independent Organisational Evaluation of UNAIDS. His current research interest is promoting universal development.



Centre for Development Impact

The Centre for Development Impact (CDI) contributes to learning and innovation in the field of impact evaluation. The Centre aims to improve the assessment of impact on the poor, particularly through the use of appropriate, mixed method, and robust evaluation designs.

Programme and centre

Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA)

Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) is an international research partnership. We are working together to discover how agriculture and food-related interventions can be better designed to improve nutrition, particularly for children and adolescent girls.


Centre for Social Protection

Supporting a global network of partners working to mainstream social protection in development policy and encouraging social protection systems and instruments that are comprehensive, long-term, sustainable and pro-poor.



Looking at UK issues through an international lens

It still remains a surprise – well, to me at least - that the divisions in research and practice between UK domestic affairs and international development remain so marked today.  Despite extensive discussions on ‘the role and future of development studies’ it appears that most people...

7 May 2019


Journal Article

Introduction: Universal Development – Research and Practice

IDS Bulletin 48.1A

Development policy, practice and research have largely adhered to a North–South, geographic and aid-driven view of the world. Over the last ten years the approaches of South–South cooperation have also come to prominence. However, more attention is being paid to universal development based...

16 August 2019

Journal Article

How do the State’s Organisational Capacities at the Micro-and Macro-Levels Influence Agriculture-Nutrition Linkages in Fragile Contexts?

Food Policy Special 82

This paper systematically reviews the evidence on what capacities the state requires to leverage agriculture for nutrition in fragile contexts, maintaining a focus on state in South Asia (especially India). It uses the framework of what the state ought to do (in terms of pathways), can do (in...

14 February 2019

Journal Article

Has Universal Development Come of Age?

IDS Bulletin 481A

This IDS Bulletin reviews research previously published in IDS Bulletins and other, selected research on universal development, with examples of practice, and looks ahead to suggest how ideas could be applied generally to make development studies and practice more universal.

3 October 2017

Richard Longhurst’s recent work


Rural Futures

Through our research, policy engagement, teaching and training, we support the emergence of development pathways that deliver both greater social justice and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognising their important interconnections with urban areas and the links between...


Has Universal Development Come of Age?

A timely new IDS Bulletin entitled ‘Has Universal Development Come of Age?’ explores how South and North approaches to development can be interlinked and argues that in order to achieve development for all more needs to be known about the nature of learning from South to North.

4 October 2017