About us

The Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: Where critical thinking meets social justice.

For over 60 years, The University of Manchester has been at the forefront of Development Studies and The Global Development Institute continues to drive forward new ideas promoting sustainable development and social justice for all.

The world is changing fast and the idea of ‘development’ with it. More people have been lifted out of poverty than ever before and life chances have improved for billions. Yet many are being left behind without access to basic services, while future progress is threatened by growing inequalities and the impacts of climate change.

Researchers at the Global Development Institute are addressing some of the biggest challenges the world faces including the politics of development, growth, agrarian and urban changes, the opportunities and challenges of digital and migration, global production networks and the effectiveness of development organisations. We are proud to lead The University of Manchester’s efforts to tackle global inequalities and to rank first in the UK for our impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Development Studies at The University of Manchester was first established in 1958. The Global Development Institute formed in 2016, uniting the strengths of the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) and the Brooks World Poverty Institute. 

We carry out interdisciplinary research and collaborate with partner organisations, experts and academics in the Global South. We’ve helped countries to redesign their social protection systems, improved supply chains for women farmers and assisted community groups to improve access to basic services and housing. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), we were ranked second in the UK for Development Studies. We were the only department to receive a 100% score for our research environment, making GDI the best place to do Development Studies research in the UK. We are ranked in the top 10 in the world for Development Studies by the QS World University Subject Rankings.

We bring cutting-edge insights from our research into all our postgraduate teaching. Our 100 PhD researchers and more than 400 master’s students make us Europe’s largest dedicated development research and teaching institute. Our students bring with them a wealth of experience from across the world, creating a vibrant and diverse GDI community. Our PhD researchers are based in the Brooks Doctoral College which provides dedicated training and support to help them excel in their field.

Our courses bring different development perspectives and voices to Manchester, from activists from the Global South to the leaders of multinational companies. We also host an array of speakers every year, including former heads of state and leading development thinkers, who stimulate debate and spark ideas. After graduation, we retain a close relationship with our 10,000 alumni, many of whom return to or take up influential roles in development organisations and enterprises.

Manchester was the crucible for the industrial revolution that transformed human well-being but now threatens human survival. We believe that Manchester should also be the crucible for ideas that ensure sustainable development and social justice for all of humanity.

Professor David Hulme / Former GDI Executive Director

The Global Development Institute is grateful for the ongoing support from the Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Foundation.