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Global Development Institute

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About us

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

Since the Industrial Revolution, ideas formed in Manchester have been central to understanding and tackling poverty and inequality. For the last 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’re proud to lead The University of Manchester’s efforts to tackle global inequalities through its research.

We carry out interdisciplinary research and collaborate with partner organisations, experts and academics in the Global South. Our findings are relevant to specific problems and make an impact in the real world. 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. The ground-breaking research carried out by our 50 academics was ranked first for impact and second for quality in the last Research Excellence Framework.

We bring cutting-edge insights from our research into all our postgraduate teaching. Master’s and PhD students benefit from an environment that encourages critical thinking and practical solutions to global challenges. Our 100 PhD researchers and more than 400 master’s students make us Europe’s largest dedicated development research and teaching institute. Our students have a wealth of experience from across the world, creating a vibrant and diverse community within the Institute. 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.

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

At the Global Development Institute, we’re committed to research that extends knowledge frontiers, educating future generations of researchers and development leaders and promoting a socially-just world for all.

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 / GDI Director

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