Our interdisciplinary research explores how pathways to sustainability, green transformations and equitable access to resources such as land, water and food can be achieved and help us meet the environmental as well as human development-related goals of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Our work builds on a long tradition of critical social science engagement with environmental issues and resource politics in collaboration with partners globally. It explores how pathways to sustainability are shaped by political-economic and social processes, and understands how they are driven by technology, markets, states and citizens.  Our research sheds new light on how we can achieve green transformations that move us from fossil fuel to renewable energy, from throw-away to circular economies. It addresses the politics of sustainability, and understands how transformations occur at local levels as well as global, in both rural and urban settings, and be led by citizens as well as national governments. In doing so, it shines a light on how sustainable resource use, consumption and production is shaped by issues such as gender, livelihoods and politics.


Image of Lyla Mehta

Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Image of Ian Scoones

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Image of Amber Huff

Amber Huff

Research Fellow

Image of Jeremy Allouche

Jeremy Allouche

Professorial Fellow

Image of Lars Otto Naess

Lars Otto Naess

Research Fellow

Image of Wei Shen

Wei Shen

Research Fellow

Image of Shilpi Srivastava

Shilpi Srivastava

Research Fellow

Programmes and centres

Recent work

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The changing face of urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

Over the last four weeks, the blog has explored the changing face of urban agriculture across our sites in Chikombedzi, Triangle/Hippo Valley, Maphisa, Masvingo, Chatsworth and Mvurwi. We have explored the growth of urban agriculture and its different forms (backyard, open space and titled) and...

25 July 2022


Celebrating the IDS Summer graduation

The IDS Summer graduation took place in Brighton on the 15 July and included 617 graduates from 42 different countries – and due to the disruptions of Covid-19 this included cohorts from 2020 and 2021 – making it our biggest graduation ceremony ever. Graduating can be one of life’s most...

20 July 2022


UN aid to Yemen judged ‘unacceptably poor’ by independent evaluation

An independent evaluation of the UN’s unprecedented humanitarian response in Yemen from 2015 to 2021 says the operation has saved lives, improved food security and reduced malnutrition, but overall it is critical of aid that was of “unacceptably poor quality”. Since war broke out in Yemen...

20 July 2022


Funding Mechanisms to Local CSOs

K4D Helpdesk Report

Civil society can be broadly defined as the area outside the family, market and state. As such, civil society encompasses a spectrum of actors with a wide range of purposes, constituencies, structures, degrees of organisation, functions, size, resource levels, cultural contexts, ideologies,...

19 July 2022

Past Event

Gender in child and youth rights

Join the Rejuvenate project for a dialogue on gender and child/youth rights, where we will be asking: How does gender intersect with child/youth rights and participation? What kind of gender equality work is being done by/with children and young people? What are the challenges and...

19 July 2022


Mobilising social science in epidemics: evidence from recent outbreaks

A team of researchers at IDS have edited a special issue of Anthropology in Action, bringing together a global team of anthropologists to reflect on and analyse the role of social science in epidemic response. ‘Operationalising Social Science for Epidemic Response’ builds on IDS’s...

18 July 2022


Humanitarian Evidence and Discourse Summary No.28

K4D Helpdesk Report

This is the 28th monthly Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development (K4D) Programme Humanitarian Evidence Summary to signpost to the latest relevant evidence and discourse on humanitarian action to inform and support their response. It is the result of 1 day of work per month and is not...

15 July 2022