Brazil IDS Initiative

start date
10 June 2020

The Brazil IDS Initiative provides focus in a geography at the leading edge of development thinking and practice due to accelerating environmental, economic, political and social change. It recognises that tackling challenges such as climate change, poverty and injustice requires knowledge sharing, mutual learning and collaboration inclusive of diverse perspectives within Brazil and globally. 

The Brazil IDS Initiative creates space where researchers from within and outside of Brazil can share, learn and work with global researchers, governments, civil society and the private sector. By better understanding fast emerging perspectives, the Brazil IDS Initiative aims to strengthen development thinking and practice, moving beyond OECD country perspectives on Brazil to include multiple, diverse voices that can inform policy decision making and the generation of actionable solutions.  

The Brazil IDS Initiative includes a network of horizontal partnerships with research, learning, teaching and policy work underway. Its research focus spans development cooperation; social policy, health systems and inequalities; democracy, civil society and governance; food systems, agriculture and rural development; and inclusive business and value chains. It is part of an evolving global network of IDS International Initiatives that includes China, Europe, Ghana and Pakistan with emerging opportunities for global learning through shared experiences.

Country context

Brazil epitomises the contemporary conceptual, political and material shifts in the field of international development. Given that it has the world’s eighth largest economy, sixth largest population and fifth largest land area, Brazil matters enormously for the future of development. In recent years it has shown its ability to be both a beacon of inspiration and innovation for international development and an exemplar of some of the most severe global threats to sustainability and inclusion. Its role as a key site for grappling with some of development’s most intractable challenges gives the proposed deepening of IDS’ engagements with the country enormous potential for generating knowledge and impact that is of global as well as national significance.

Work with us

We are actively looking to develop networks of thought leaders and actors to joint fundraise for collaborations across the following activity areas:

  • Co-authored publications. See our OpenDocs sub-community for previous publications.
  • Development Studies curriculum development
  • Engaging our community (including alumni, Visiting Fellows, short course participants, and partners) to co-develop ideas and actions for the initiative
  • Evidence into policy action, for example through strengthening the capacity of bureaucrats for participatory public policymaking
  • Learning events, including seminars and conferences, and knowledge exchanges with other global partners, particularly our Pakistan, China and Ghana International Initiatives.
  • Postgraduate degree scholarships and Visiting Fellowships
  • Research, particularly across our strategic priority areas
  • Teaching and learning, including short courses, capacity building, guest lectures and webinars.

Contact Alex Shankland if you think you are interested in working with us.

Partnership examples in Brazil

CEBRAP (the Brazilian Centre for Analysis and Planning)

The link between IDS and CEBRAP researchers dates back to the 1970s. Institutional collaboration began with two major DFID-funded research centres led by IDS: the Centre for the Future State and the Citizenship, Participation and Accountability Centre. Both programmes involved academic exchange through Visiting Fellow and Visiting Student schemes. We then collaborated on the Centre for Rising Powers in Development, during which time Articulação Sul (ASUL), another key IDS partner, was incubated in CEBRAP. Under the Future Agricultures Programme’s workstream on China and Brazil in African Agriculture, CEBRAP’s Arilson Favareto co-authored the article, A New Politics of Development Cooperation? Chinese and Brazilian Engagements in African Agriculture with IDS Fellow Ian Scoones and researchers from the University of Ghana and the China Agricultural University. IDS (led, in Brazil, by Alex Shankland) and CEBRAP jointly developed a programme of work on The Politics of Accountability for Equity in Health Systems, which led to a set of flagship articles, the latest of which is the the Novos Estudos special issue (CEBRAP’s journal) and the IDS BulletinAccountability for Health Equity’. The publicationParticipation and Deliberation’ (Participação e Deliberação: Teoria Democrática e Experiências Institucionais no Brasil Contemporâneo), organized by CEBRAP’s Vera Schattan Coelho and Marcos Nobre, provided an important contribution to Brazilian debates about democratic innovations and was made possible by the IDS/CEBRAP partnership.

Under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (2016-2021) IDS and CEBRAP aim to strengthen the relationship further between the two institutions through exploring further avenues for mutually beneficial collaboration in their postgraduate teaching and learning programmes.

BRICS Policy Centre, PUC-Rio

Our relationship with the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), ranked fourth best university in Latin America by Times Higher Education, is centred around their Institute of International Relations, specifically the BRICS Policy Centre. Under a five-year MoU (2017-2022) IDS and PUC-Rio are committed to developing collaborations between researchers, including through research, teaching exchanges, conferences and seminars. We are also developing a ‘double degree’ in development that will enable selected postgraduate students to study at both institutions over a two-year period. The arrangement will help to expand learning and networking opportunities for both students and faculty in Brazil and the UK.

IDS and the BRICS Policy Centre have collaborated on the Rising Powers in International Development programme, including a project on Brazil and International Development Cooperation. IDS worked closely with Paulo Esteves and colleagues on the flagship State of the Debate study (led by ASUL) which analysed Brazil’s domestic policy debate on international development cooperation, to better understand Brazil’s evolving role as a development actor.

Fundação Getulio Vargas School of Business Administration (FGV-EAESP)

Our partnership with FGV-EAESP (the number 5 think tank in the world in 2019) is an emerging strategic partnership that we look forward to developing. We are finalizing an MoU that will facilitate research, teaching and learning collaborations around our shared thematic interests, which include sustainability, the role of businesses in the SDGs and sustainability, climate, rural livelihoods and local development.

National School of Public Administration, and the Institute of Applied Economic Research

IDS works with the National School of Public Administration (ENAP, with whom we have an MoU) and the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) on bureaucratic innovation and the use of evidence in policymaking. Besides co-producing research and exchanging visiting fellows, we contribute to teaching on ENAP’s masters programme and recently ran a short course for IPEA researchers on communicating policy research.

Other valued partners include: The Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro’s  (UFRRJ) Social Sciences Postgraduate Program in Development Agriculture and Society (CPDA); the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC); Articulação Sul; Federal University of São Paulo; Embrapa; Fiocruz; the University of Brasília and its Centre for Sustainable Development, HEKS and the Act Alliance civil society network


Jerker Edström

Research Fellow

Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow

Lidia Cabral

Research Fellow

Lies Lauwers

Partnerships and Fundraising Officer

Miguel Loureiro

Research Fellow

Rebeca Rocha



Gender Inclusion and Investing for Brazilian SGBs in the Creative Economy

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Jodie Thorpe of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) partnered together to deploy the 'ANDE/IDS Gender Inclusion and Investing for Brazilian SGBs in the Creative Economy' project. This project was funded by the British Council’s...

Recent work


“A breath of fresh air”? What Lula’s return means for development

Despite deep division in the country and close allies of the defeated president Jair Bolsonaro being elected to Congress, Lula’s return to power will see a shake-up of Brazil’s approach to development, leading experts said at a recent IDS event. This event featured a diverse range of...

5 December 2022


Brazil election result – implications for global development?

120 million citizens of Brazil have voted, and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva has been elected as Brazil’s next President.  However, in the tight run-off race held on Sunday, he only beat the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro by the tightest of margins, with the final result being Lula...

2 November 2022


The IDS International Initiatives: one year on

In the past year, the IDS International Initiatives have provided focus in five countries at the leading edge of development thinking and practice due to geopolitical change. IDS has been working with partners to launch five International Initiatives in Brazil, China, Europe, Ghana, and...

26 August 2021


New partnership launched for sustainable agriculture in Brazil

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) in Brazil. The MoU will open up new opportunities for collaborative research and policy impact across sustainable agriculture and food equity, building on IDS’...

28 April 2021

Impact Story

Strengthening international networks for development

In 2020 we launched a network of IDS International Initiatives focused on the geographies at the leading edge of development thinking and practice due to accelerating geopolitical change. These Initiatives are already having collaborative impact in strengthening mutual learning for development...

26 March 2021


Strengthening partnerships for public policy making in Brazil

The Institute of Development studies (IDS) has extended its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Brazilian National School of Public Administration (ENAP). Through the partnership, we will continue to collaboratively develop and deliver short courses and postgraduate programmes for...

23 March 2021