Vision and priorities

The Global Development Institute addresses global inequalities in order to promote a socially-just world in which all people, including future generations, are able to enjoy a decent life.

Promoting social justice is at the heart of GDI’s ambition and is connected to our core values of inclusivity, responsibility, equity and sustainability. 

GDI supports The University of Manchester’s three strategic goals of promoting world-leading research; providing superb higher education to students from all backgrounds; and being a socially responsible University that is a force for good nationally and internationally.


The GDI has a three-pronged approach to delivering our vision:

  1. Producing and co-producing research that extends knowledge frontiers.
  2. Ensuring our research has a positive impact on policy and practice.
  3. Educating future generations of researchers and development leaders.

The need

The study of international development is undergoing a transformation. Its ideas, institutions, financing and political relations are being transformed. Global inequality, global poverty and climate injustice have to be more effectively tackled if humanity is to move towards a more socially just world that is sustainable.

The challenges

The traditional idea that developing countries would ‘catch up’ or converge economically developed countries, is being swept away. The binary concepts that underpinned this narrative – developed/developing, rich/poor, Global South/Global North, donors/recipients – are increasingly dysfunctional in analytical terms.

If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be successful, the societies of advanced industrial countries will have to undergo change as much as that of the emerging and poor countries, as the world shifts to green growth, technology-sharing, sustainable lifestyles and reduced inequality. Radical changes in personal social norms will be needed to underpin such shifts. In this scenario, ‘development’ becomes a truly global project.

Why Manchester?

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 creating the ideas that shape ‘what comes next’ – how do we achieve sustainable development and social justice for all of humanity?

Development Studies at the University of Manchester has changed to better address these challenges, by uniting the strengths of the Institute for Development Policy and Management and the Brooks World Poverty Institute to create the Global Development Institute.

Business as usual is not an option. While we’ve seen huge reductions in poverty over the last twenty years, finishing the job, let alone making the gains sustainable will require seismic changes right around the world. The University of Manchester has been at the forefront of Development Studies for over 60 years. We’re aiming to lead critical thinking, teaching and research over the next 60 years too.