International Development Research Centre

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The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) (French: Centre de recherches pour le développement international; CRDI) is a Canadian Crown Corporation created by the Parliament of Canada that supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. The aim of IDRC is to create innovative, lasting local solutions that build "healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies."

Now in its fifth decade, IDRC also builds the capacity of people and institutions in developing countries to undertake the research that they identify as most urgent. IDRC works with researchers as they confront the challenges of the 21st century within their own countries and contribute to global advances in their fields.

In doing so, IDRC supports networking and knowledge sharing between scientific, academic, and development communities in Canada and developing countries.


IDRC funds research under four broad themes:

Agriculture and environment: Work focuses on a healthy environment and improved human health; sustainable agriculture and food security; adaptation to climate change; and environmental economics.

Global health policy: Research areas include equal access to health; improved healthcare delivery and policies; and better understanding of emerging and chronic diseases.

Social and economic policy: Research seeks to foster informed debate on key public policy issues related to poverty reduction, social equity, and the rule of law.

Science and innovation: Supports research on means of achieving inclusive growth and development spurred by science, technology, and innovation, and on the role of stronger universities and creative industries.

IDRC builds on decades of work on gender issues, international relations and global governance, and the role of information and communication technologies in development. It integrates these dimensions into all research themes.


IDRC’s work is guided by an international Board of Governors: the Chairman of the Board reports to Parliament through the minister for foreign affairs. The IDRC Act (1970) stipulates that a majority of board members, including the chair and vice-chair, must be Canadian. The Honourable Monte Solberg, P.C., former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, is Acting Chairperson.

IDRC President Jean Lebel (PhD) manages the Centre’s operations with the support of the Senior Management Committee. Previous IDRC presidents include David M. Malone (2008-2013), Maureen O'Neil (1997–2008), Keith Bezanson (1991–1997), Ivan Head, (1978–1991), and David Hopper (1970–1978).

Donor and research partnerships[edit]

IDRC joins forces with Canadian and international funders to increase the resources going toward research that addresses the needs of developing countries. These include Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, the UK Department for International Development, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

IDRC teams up with other Canadian agencies to create opportunities for researchers from Canada and the developing world to collaborate on research of common interest and global importance. These efforts encourage fresh approaches and innovative solutions in a variety of areas: they include the International Research Chairs Initiative, the Global Health Research Initiative, the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, and the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change.

A number of private foundations have also chosen to partner with IDRC, notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

To coordinate its activities, IDRC has its head office in Ottawa and regional offices in Cairo, Delhi, Montevideo, and Nairobi.


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