International Development Research Centre

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The International Development Research Centre (IDRC; Français: Centre de recherches pour le développement international; CRDI) is a Canadian federal Crown corporation that invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world.

IDRC was established by the Parliament of Canada in 1970 under The International Development Research Centre Act, which directs IDRC “to initiate, encourage, support and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.”[1]

To fulfill this mandate, IDRC encourages and supports researchers from developing countries to conduct research in their own institutions and regions. In doing so, IDRC supports networking and knowledge sharing between scientific, academic, and development communities in Canada and developing countries.[2]


IDRC funds research under three broad themes:

Agriculture and the environment: Work focuses on a healthy environment and improved human health; sustainable agriculture and food security; adaptation to climate change; and environmental economics.[3]

Technology 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.[4]

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.[5]

IDRC research contributes to Government of Canada foreign policy and a number of development priorities and Millennium Development Goals. This includes participation in the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund and the Innovating for Maternal and Newborn Child Health in Africa program.

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 Honourable Monte Solberg, P.C., former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, is Acting Chairperson. He reports to Parliament through the Minister of International Development.[6]

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


The head office of IDRC is located in Canada’s national capital, Ottawa, Ontario. In addition, there are four regional offices, located in Kenya, Egypt, India, and Uruguay.[7]

The Nairobi office opened in 1975 and serves the sub-Saharan Africa region.

The Cairo office serves the Middle East and North Africa and was opened in 1975.

The New Delhi office opened in 1983 and serves Asia.

The Montevideo office opened in 1989 and serves Latin America and the Caribbean. Before that, IDRC’s regional office was in Bogota, Colombia; it was in operation from 1973 to 1989.


In addition to its parliamentary appropriation, IDRC receives funding from a number of domestic and international donors. Government partnerships exist between IDRC and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, and the UK Department for International Development, for example.

IDRC also receive contributions from a number of private donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others. A number of IDRC projects are carried out in partnership or with researchers at universities and institutions across Canada. These include the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, McGill University, Memorial University, Simon Fraser University, Western University, and the universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Guelph, Laval, Saskatchewan, and Toronto, among others.


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