Institute of Development Studies

Institute of Development Studies
HE Institution
Year of foundation: 
Member since: 
Institute of Development Studies


Institutional postal address: 
East Sussex United Kingdom BN19RE
United Kingdom
East Sussex
Institutional e-mail: 
Institutional phone: 
0044 (0)1273 606261

Mission / Vision

The Institute of Development Studies is a leading global organisation for research, teaching and communications on international development. 
Our vision is a world in which poverty does not exist, social justice prevails and the voices of all people are heard in national and international institutions. We believe that generating, mobilising and sharing knowledge, through research, teaching and communications, plays a key part in realising this vision. 

Our mission is to work with a global network of partners to:

  • Develop dynamic ideas and analysis on the global issues that shape our world 
  • Provide practical solutions that accelerate sustainable poverty reduction, promote social justice and ensure that all people’s voices are heard 
  • Use authoritative research, innovative teaching and cutting-edge communications to influence key audiences in order to achieve our vision. 

Our Core Values 
The IDS strategy is built upon our core values and ways of working, which are:

  • a concern for equity and social justice 
  • an explicit recognition of power relations 
  • the independence to challenge orthodoxy 
  • transparency and accountability to our stakeholders 
  • engaging a plurality of partners and perspectives 
  • continuous learning across all our work. 


Our purpose is to understand and explain the world, and to try to change it – to influence as well as to inform.

Main activities

IDS hosts five dynamic research teams, eight popular postgraduate courses, and a family of world-class knowledge services. These three spheres are integrated in a unique combination – as a development knowledge hub, IDS is connected into and is a convenor of networks throughout the world. 

The Institute is home to approximately 100 researchers, 70 knowledge services staff, 65 support staff and about 200 students at any one time. But the IDS community extends far beyond, encompassing an extensive network of partners, former staff and students across the development community worldwide.

The research programmes at IDS are organised in five closely linked multidisciplinary teams. We also host a growing number of international, multi-partner research projects. Through collaborative ways of working we aim to establish creative and equal partnerships in which research agendas can be driven by Southern perspectives. 
• Globalisation: focusing on the dynamics of the global environment in which the private sector investment and growth necessary for poverty reduction are situated. 
• Governance: focusing on the politics of state engagement and public action in developing countries. 
• Knowledge, Technology and Society: exploring how science and technology can improve the livelihoods and well-being of poor people, and promote greater social justice. 
• Participation, Power and Social Change: looking at how and where participation by citizens can make a difference to questions of social justice and development. 
• Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction: improving the understanding of vulnerability, and designing effective means of addressing it, as a central component of poverty reduction. 
Teaching and learning 
From its earliest years, IDS has had a tradition of learning, teaching and training with a distinctive emphasis on plurality and multidisciplinary study. Our postgraduate degrees, accredited by the University of Sussex, comprise a DPhil by research, a two-year MPhil in Development Studies, plus a portfolio of MA programmes. These include an MA in Development Studies and further MAs across a range of specialisations: Gender, Governance, Participation, Poverty, and Science and Society. The IDS learning and teaching programme is known for its academic excellence. It is strongly research-led, drawing the ongoing work of researchers both within and beyond IDS into the classroom, and is significantly enhanced by the wealth of experience that each graduate student brings to the Institute.
Mobilising knowledge for development 
IDS is a pioneer in development communications. We host a range of innovative and highly regarded knowledge services – including Eldis, id21, BRIDGE, Livelihoods Connect and the British Library for Development Studies. These services seek to mobilise knowledge to support more informed decision-making by those in a position to influence change. This is based on our belief that decision-making is strengthened when it is underpinned by timely and relevant information that reflects a diversity of viewpoints. The IDS Knowledge Services identify and bridge knowledge gaps and use innovative information-sharing approaches to provide better access to the global pool of knowledge on development. 


  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry of Business and Employment. Department of Research and Universities
  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry for Foreign Action and Open Government