Governance, Power and Participation

Our research on governance, power relations, participation and citizen engagement, informs change processes in pursuit of social justice and social change. With power and politics central to our analysis, we support the generation of new evidence that contributes to improved processes for good governance, citizen engagement, empowerment and accountability.

We pioneer new ways of working with governments, communities, activists and academics, to understand the complex relationships and processes that exist across states, markets, and citizens, and between formal and informal institutions, to tackle issues such as digital inequalities, women’s participation and empowerment, decentralisation and local governance, rapid urbanisation, migration, taxation and domestic resource mobilisation, food security and hunger and nutrition. These draw on our extensive expertise in complex approaches to how change happens.  Through our research and policy partnerships we are also bringing new insights on the role that rising powers and emerging economies such as China and Brazil have in relation to global governance and tackling development challenges such as sustainability and poverty.  Our world-renown participatory research has a particular emphasis on systematic social exclusion facing women, people living in extreme poverty, people with disabilities, slaves bonded labourers, indigenous peoples and others. We advance cutting edge methodological development in action research, participatory visual methods, participatory mapping, participatory statistics, participatory Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) amongst others.


Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Participation Research Cluster Leader

Image of Anuradha Joshi
Anuradha Joshi

Cluster Leader

Image of Shandana Khan Mohmand
Shandana Khan Mohmand

Research Fellow

Image of Miguel Loureiro
Miguel Loureiro

Research Fellow

Image of Patta Scott-Villiers
Patta Scott-Villiers

Research Fellow

Image of Mariz Tadros
Mariz Tadros

Research Fellow

Image of Rosemary McGee
Rosemary McGee

Research Fellow

Image of Mick Moore
Mick Moore

Professorial Fellow

Image of Erika Lopez Franco
Erika Lopez Franco

Research Officer

Image of Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Image of Mary Wickenden
Mary Wickenden

Research Fellow

Image of Brigitte Rohwerder
Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Image of Marina Apgar
Marina Apgar

Research Fellow

Image of Jackie Shaw
Jackie Shaw

Research Fellow

Image of Tessa Lewin
Tessa Lewin

Research Fellow

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow

Image of Dilmurad Yusupov
Dilmurad Yusupov

DPhil Student

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Elaine Mercer

Communications and Networking Officer

Image of Gioel Gioacchino
Gioel Gioacchino

PhD Student

Image of Harriet Hamilton
Harriet Hamilton

Project Support Officer

JaeHyun Park

PhD Student

Image of Jamie Myers
Jamie Myers

Research Officer

Image of Naomi Vernon
Naomi Vernon

Programme Officer for Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Knowledge Hub

Image of Petra Bongartz
Petra Bongartz

Research Officer

Image of Robert Chambers
Robert Chambers

Research Associate

Image of Stacey Townsend
Stacey Townsend

Programme Officer

Image of Sue Enfield
Sue Enfield

Research Officer

Image of Becky Carter
Becky Carter

Research Officer

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Image of Deepta Chopra
Deepta Chopra

Research Fellow

Image of Fabrizio Santoro
Fabrizio Santoro

Research Officer

Image of Giulia Mascagni
Giulia Mascagni

Research Fellow

Image of Rhiannon McCluskey
Rhiannon McCluskey

Research Uptake and Communications Manager

Image of Jalia Kangave
Jalia Kangave

Research Fellow

Image of Peter P. Houtzager
Peter P. Houtzager

Research Fellow

Image of Richard Crook
Richard Crook

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison

Research Fellow

Image of Robin Luckham
Robin Luckham

Emeritus Fellow

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Wilson Prichard

Joint Research Director, International Centre for Tax and Development

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Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Image of Aly Khalil
Aly Khalil

PhD Research Student

Image of Dina Zayed
Dina Zayed

PhD Researcher

Image of Egidio Chaimite
Egidio Chaimite

PhD Researcher

Image of Fiona Wilson
Fiona Wilson

Emeritus Fellow

Image of John Gaventa
John Gaventa

Director of Research

Image of Kas Sempere
Kas Sempere

PhD Researcher

Image of Katy Oswald
Katy Oswald

Research Officer

Image of Marjoke Oosterom
Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Image of Naomi Hossain
Naomi Hossain

Research Fellow

Programmes and centres


Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme

Understanding the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty and producing practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of LGBTIQ people and sexuality rights.


International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) provides research evidence that supports developing countries in raising domestic revenues equitably and sustainably, in a manner that is conducive to pro-poor economic growth and good governance.


Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA)

Action for Empowerment and Accountability is an international research programme which explores how social and political action can contribute to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violent settings, with a particular focus on Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.



Bangladesh Initiative to Enhance Nutrition Security and Governance (BIeNGS)

Despite significant improvements over the last two decades in poverty reduction and human development, the ultra-poor constitute 17.6% of the Bangladeshi population (HIES 2010) and the country continues to experience a high burden of undernutrition (stunting 36%, wasting 14%, underweight 33%) in...


Capitalisation of SDC Experiences in Roma Social Inclusion

Jo Howard is working with SDC to capitalise experiences in Roma social inclusion by drawing broad conclusions from past SDC experiences in promoting Roma social inclusion and making them easily accessible for decision makers. Furthermore, she will produce a synthesis paper with main findings and...

Recent work

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How Should Uganda’s National Youth Policy Be Redesigned?

IDS Policy Briefing 161

In Uganda 25.5 per cent of the young population are either unemployed or underemployed. The agricultural sector is the country’s economic backbone with capacity to provide jobs for young people. Uganda’s National Youth Policy (NYP) launched in 2001 to support young people in developing...

17 December 2018

Past Event

Intersecting inequalities and accountable relationships: Why so much hype?

From late 2016 to early 2018, researchers from the IDS Participation, Inclusion and Social Change team worked with five partners in (Egypt, Ghana, India, South Africa and Uganda) carrying out participatory research to understand how intersecting inequalities are shaping the daily lives of...

12 December 2018


Reshaping Ethiopia’s Higher Education Curriculum to Tackle Youth Unemployment

IDS Policy Briefing 157

Ethiopia has seen remarkable economic growth in the past decade, and there has been high demand for construction work to keep up with the pace of change. As part of the country’s Growth and Transformation Plans (GTPs) unprecedented efforts have been made to grow the university sector,...

1 December 2018


Challenging Binaries to Promote Women’s Equality

Feminist Dissent 3

In this special issue of Feminist Dissent, we are calling for a new interpretive framework that recognises the multiple genealogies that have contributed to binary constructs of the Western/secular versus the authentic/religious; takes into account the different power positionalities of those...

27 November 2018


Reflections on evaluating integrated rural development

The latest IDS Bulletin ‘The Millennium Villages: Lessons on Evaluating Integrated Rural Development' brings together a series of reflections on integrated development and how best to know whether it works and why. It certainly doesn’t provide all the answers; rather it’s meant to...

14 November 2018