Research objectives

Our overarching goal is to further establish GDI’s standing as a world-leading centre for development research.

The key strategic objectives that we will pursue in order to reach this goal will be to:

  1. Conceptually advance the field of development studies, particularly through deepening our articulation of the new paradigm of global development. This project has gained urgency in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has further emphasised the significance of global interconnectedness and lesson-learning across north-south boundaries; 
  2. Invest in building inter- and trans-disciplinary research approaches to apply to a greater range of our problem-solving research agenda, building on the kinds of expertise and networks built through our funded work on FutureDams, global health (see ICS) and urban infrastructure, including through African Cities; 
  3. Ensure a vibrant research environment through enhanced support to our new research groups, enabling them to drive forward new research agendas and act as nurturing environments for enhancing staff career trajectories, particularly of our ECRs. As of April 2020, groups have already been meeting virtually to reframe their research agendas in line with a post-Covid world, and will receive further support. 
  4. Ensure that our research and impact strategies are delivered in an effective and socially responsible manner. In a post-Covid-19 world, it will be imperative that research and uptake activities are co-produced with key stakeholders (including southern-based research partners, local government officials, community activists) in ways that extends their capacities and deepens the quality, integrity and impact of our shared work with them. Our major new (£32.5 million) research centre on African Cities has these principles at its core and, along with our high-capacity communications and impact team, will be central to achieving this shared objective.