Development studies is an uneasy discipline. It has a relatively short history that is linked particularly to decolonisation and the rise of overseas aid. It is associated almost exclusively with certain geographical locations and a political economy of resource transfer, rather than with a particular body of knowledge or theory.
It is thus founded on the very dichotomies it seeks to overcome – of North and South and the massive imbalances in access to resources that produce ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in the knowledge economy. This article draws on discussions at the IDS40 Roundtables and conference to outline the key elements of a vision for the future role of development studies institutions which would begin to address these inequities and challenges.