Institute of Development Studies

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This article is about the institute in England. For the institute in Kolkata, India, see Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata.
Institute of Development Studies
Institute of Development Studies logo.jpg
Abbreviation IDS
Founded 1966
Type research institute
Lawrence Haddad
Slogan Global Knowledge for Global Change

The Institute of Development Studies is an international development research institute. IDS acts to influence policy makers through research, by working with partner organisations in developing countries, and communicating with international policy makers. IDS is based at the University of Sussex.

The Institute is home to approximately 100 researchers, 40 knowledge services staff, 65 professional staff and about 200 students at any one time.[1] The partnership approach which means IDS works with around 250 partners internationally is designed to help enrich the research process, while at the same time building and enhancing the capacity of all the organisations involved.[2]

According to Hivos, IDS is committed to applying academic skills to real world problems. IDS's purpose is to understand and explain the world, and to try to change it.[3]

History and leadership[edit]

IDS was founded in 1966 by economist Dudley Seers who was director from 1967 until 1972. From 1972 to 1981 Sir Richard Jolly was the director of IDS, and later authored A short history of IDS: a personal reflection. John Toye was Director of IDS from 1987-97.

The current director of IDS is Melissa Leach, a social anthropologist and professorial fellow at IDS, who succeeded Lawrence Haddad in 2014. Prior to her appointment she was Director of the STEPS Centre.[4] Leach's recent work has explored the politics of science and knowledge in policy processes linked to environment and health; cultural and political dimensions of vaccine delivery; medical research trials, emerging infectious diseases, and ecology-health linkages.[5]

Structure and Research[edit]

IDS consists of five research teams which concentrate their research on specific angles of development:

  • Globalisation – The globalisation team concentrate on sustainable economic growth to reduce poverty. Current research includes a Rising Powers programme focusing on the economic growth of the BRICS and research into agricultural trade.
  • Governance - The governance team work on addressing the tensions between political liberalisation and globalisation, tensions between the politics of growth and the politics of equity the potential tensions and synergies between development concerns such as the anti-poverty agenda, and the gender-equity agenda and the environmental protection agenda. (
  • Participation, Power and Social Change – The PPSC team work to offer a new perspective to development practice by using the participatory approach strongly linked with IDS fellow Robert Chambers to achieve social change. This involves working at all levels of society and with country level partners.
  • Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction – The VPR team aim to develop multi-dimensional perspectives on poverty in order to transform policy and practice
  • Knowledge, Technology and Society – The KNOTS team work to promote the use of science and technology to reduce poverty and promote social justice. Current research centres on agriculture, health, environment and sanitation.

IDS also hosts a range of Knowledge Services, which aim to ensure that research knowledge can be effectively used in developing countries. Knowledge Services host BRIDGE, a research centre for gender in development, and Eldis, which aims to provide a platform where up to date research can be shared and easily found by development practitioners. Data from Eldis is available from the Open API developed by IDS Knowledge Services. The British Library of Development Studies at IDS contains Europe’s the largest collection of publications from the global South.[6]


IDS is a registered charity. The top five funders of IDS are:[7]

In 2013 IDS launched a scholarship fund which will fund MA courses.[8]

Teaching and post-graduate courses[edit]

IDS has engaged in teaching since 1973 when the first MPhil course in development began.[9] Currently it teaches at postgraduate and doctorate level and has been awarded accreditation for its teaching programme by the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). In 2012 IDS was rated the UK's best university affiliated think tank in the Global Go To Think Tank Report 2012 [10] and the third best globally.

There are now 8 MA courses run by IDS:[11]

  • MA Development Studies
  • MA Gender and Development
  • MA Globalisation and Development
  • MA Governance and Development
  • MA Participation, Power and Social Change
  • MA Poverty and Development
  • MA Science, Society and Development
  • MSc Climate Change and Development

Notable academics[edit]

Current academics
Sir Richard Jolly, a development economist who has held various positions within the UNDP and OECD, and was awarded honorary fellowship from The International Institute of Social Studies in 2007.

Robert Chambers who has contribution to development for his work in participatory rural appraisal is widely acknowledged.[12]

Ian Scoones is director of the STEPS Centre and is well known for his research into land reform in Zimbabwe.[13]

Stephen Devereux, author of Theories of famine.

Mick Moore, head of the International Centre for Tax and Development

Ben Ramalingam, author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos

Past academics
Bob Baulch - worked for 13 years as a Fellow at IDS for 13 years before joining Prosperity Initiatives in 2008.

Chris Colclough - a Fellow (from 1975), and Professorial Fellow (from 1994)

Stephany Griffith-Jones - has contributed to research and policy suggestions on how to make the domestic and international financial system more stable so it can better serve the needs of inclusive economic development and the real economy.

Susan Joekes - noted for her part in the Women in Development approach.

Naila Kabeer - professor of development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She will be joining the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics in October 2013.[14]

Simon Maxwell – Worked at IDS for 16 years and now senior research associate at the Overseas Development Institute

Peter Newell – currently a professor at the University of Sussex, specialising in climate change. Co-editor of the European Journal of International Relations, associate editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics and sits on the editorial board of Global Environmental Change, the Journal of Environment and Development and the Journal of Peasant Studies.

Neil McCulloch – Previously a research fellow in IDS Globalisation team. An economist specialising in the analysis of poverty in developing countries and the linkages between poverty and both global and local economic reform. Has led research on the possibilities of the Tobin Tax for development.[15]

Mark Robinson - now the Chief Professional Officer for Governance, social development, conflict and Humanitarian Aid in the UK Department for International Development.

Hans Singer - known for Prebisch-Singer thesis, Bretton Woods

Chris Stevens – currently senior research associate at ODI concentrating on the impacts of Northern policies on the South.

Andy Sumner – Co-Director of the King's International Development Institute at King's College London, who is regarded for his work on the New Bottom Billion which studies the proliferation of poverty in middle income economies.

Robert Wade – currently professor of political economy at London School of Economics. Economist for the World Bank during the 1980s.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]