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Institute of Development Studies

Institute of Development Studies
TypeResearch institute
Parent institution
University of Sussex
DirectorMelissa Leach
Library Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9RE United Kingdom
AffiliationsUniversity of Sussex
Institute of Development Studies logo.jpg
IDS at Sussex University

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is an institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.[1] IDS ranked second best international development think tank in the world in 2018 and 4th best university affiliated think tank in the world, as well as consistently being ranked among the top development research centres in the world.[2]

History and leadership

IDS was founded in 1966 by economist Dudley Seers who was director from 1967 until 1972. From 1972 to 1981 Sir Richard Jolly was the director of IDS, and later authored A short history of IDS: a personal reflection. John Toye was director of IDS from 1987–97.

The current director of IDS is Melissa Leach, a social anthropologist and professorial fellow at IDS, who succeeded Lawrence Haddad in 2014. Prior to her appointment she was director of the STEPS Centre.[3] Leach's recent work has explored the politics of science and knowledge in policy processes linked to environment and health; cultural and political dimensions of vaccine delivery; medical research trials, emerging infectious diseases, and ecology-health linkages.[4]

Structure and research

IDS consists of twelve research clusters or teams which concentrate their research on specific angles of development:

  • The Business, Markets and the State cluster[5] investigates how and under what conditions businesses and market systems enable or constrain pathways for positive development. Current research includes a Rising Powers programme focusing on the economic growth of the BRICS.
  • The Cities cluster[6] has a focus on the circumstances of poor and vulnerable people within cities and explores ways in which different forms of inequalities interact to produce both good and bad outcomes.
  • The Conflict and Violence cluster[7] research is developing new insights into how people live and interact in contexts of conflict and violence, and what institutions best support them.
  • The Digital cluster[8] challenges prevailing technocratic views by highlighting inequalities that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) may cause.
  • The Gender and Sexuality cluster[9] research looks at factors where people in developing countries are affected by others either persecuting them due to their sexual orientation, beliefs, religion, their gender or social class.
  • The Governance cluster[10] work on addressing the tensions between political liberalisation and globalisation, tensions between the politics of growth and the politics of equity the potential tensions and synergies between development concerns such as the anti-poverty agenda, and the gender-equity agenda and the environmental protection agenda.


IDS is a registered charity.[11] The top five funders of IDS are:[12]

With the University of Sussex, IDS offer a range of scholarship opportunities to help fund MA degree students.[13][14]

Teaching and post-graduate courses

IDS has engaged in teaching since 1973 when the first MPhil course in development began.[15] Currently it teaches at postgraduate and doctorate level and has been awarded accreditation for its teaching programme by the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). In 2012 IDS was rated the UK's best university-affiliated think tank in the Global Go To Think Tank Report 2012[16] and the third-best globally.

There are eight MA courses run by IDS:[17]

  • MA Development Studies
  • MA Gender and Development
  • MA Globalisation, Business and Development
  • MA Governance, Development and Public Policy
  • MA Participation, Power and Social Change
  • MA Poverty and Development
  • MSc Climate Change, Development and Policy
  • MA Food and Development

Notable alumni

  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 48th President of Costa Rica - MA Development Studies 2009
  • Joanna Kerr,  Chief Executive of Greenpeace Canada - MA Gender and Development 1991
  • Edwin Irizarry Mora, Puerto Rican pro-independence leader - PhD/DPhil Development Studies 1989
  • Salim Mvurya, Kenyan politician - Power Participation and Social Change 2011
  • Nancy Okail, Egyptian scholar and activist - Doctor of Philosophy 2009
  • Naana Otoo-Oyortey (MBE), social activist and women's rights defender - Mphil Development 1993
  • Melanie Robinson, Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe - MA Governance and Development 2012
  • Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia - PhD/DPhil Development Studies 2004
  • Euclid Tsakalotos, Greek Minister of Finance - Mphil Development 1984
  • Marta Zabaleta, Argentinian political refugee - PhD/DPhil Development Studies 1979
  • Robina P. Marks, South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka[18] - MA Gender and Development 1999

Notable academics

Current academics

Sir Richard Jolly, a development economist who has held various positions within the UNDP and OECD, and was awarded honorary fellowship from The International Institute of Social Studies in 2007.

Robert Chambers, who has contribution to development for his work in participatory rural appraisal, is widely acknowledged.[19]

Ian Scoones is director of the STEPS Centre and is well known for his research into land reform in Zimbabwe.[20]

Stephen Devereux is the author of Theories of Famine.[21]

Mick Moore, head of the International Centre for Tax and Development

Ben Ramalingam, author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos

Carlos Fortin, political scientist, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations (UNCTAD, Geneva), 1990–2005, currently Emeritus Fellow and Research Associate

Past academics

  • Bob Baulch – worked for 13 years as a fellow at IDS for 13 years before joining Prosperity Initiatives in 2008.
  • Chris Colclough – a fellow (from 1975), and professorial fellow (from 1994)
  • Stephany Griffith-Jones – has contributed to research and policy suggestions on how to make the domestic and international financial system more stable so it can better serve the needs of inclusive economic development and the real economy.
  • Susan Joekes is noted for her part in the Women in Development approach.[citation needed]
  • Naila Kabeer is a professor of gender and development at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics.[22]
  • Simon Maxwell worked at IDS for 16 years and is now senior research associate at the Overseas Development Institute.[23]
  • Peter Newell is a professor at the University of Sussex, specialising in climate change. He is co-editor of the European Journal of International Relations, associate editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics and sits on the editorial board of Global Environmental Change, the Journal of Environment and Development and the Journal of Peasant Studies.[24]
  • Neil McCulloch – Previously a research fellow in IDS Globalisation team. An economist specialising in the analysis of poverty in developing countries and the linkages between poverty and both global and local economic reform. Has led research on the possibilities of the Tobin tax for development.[25]
  • Mark Robinson – now the chief professional officer for governance, social development, conflict and humanitarian aid in the UK Department for International Development.[citation needed]
  • Hans Singer – known for Prebisch-Singer thesis, Bretton Woods
  • Chris Stevens is senior research associate at ODI concentrating on the impacts of Northern policies on the South.[26]
  • Robert Wade is professor of political economy at London School of Economics. Economist for the World Bank during the 1980s.[27]
  • Ronald Dore- Leading Japanologist and Sociologist

See also


  1. ^ "About us: Institute of Development Studies (IDS)". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  2. ^ "2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Professor Melissa Leach to assume leadership of the Institute of Development Studies, UK". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Melissa Leach". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Business, Markets and the State". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Cities". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Conflict and Violence". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Digital and Technology". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Gender and Sexuality". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Governance". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  11. ^ registered charity
  12. ^ "Governance and funding". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Fees and funding". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  14. ^ Institute of Development Studies (Brighton) (1 May 2013). "Africa: IDS to Host Alumni Event to Mark the Launch of a New Scholarship Fund". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  15. ^ "A Short History of IDS: A Personal Reflection". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  16. ^ [1] Archived 2 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies Masters Degrees". 28 January 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  18. ^ "New Ambassadors & High Commissioners hand over credentials – President's Media Division". President's Media Division. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  19. ^ Anna Colom. "How to … avoid pitfalls in participatory development | Global Development Professionals Network". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  20. ^ Ian Scoones and Blasio Mavedzenge. "Don't condemn Zimbabwe". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  21. ^ Devereux, Stephen (3 April 1994). Theories of Famine. Harvester Wheatsheaf. ISBN 9780133022179. Retrieved 21 August 2016 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ "Naila Kabeer". IGC. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Simon Maxwell – Overseas Development Institute (ODI)". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  24. ^ Peter Newell
  25. ^ Neil McCulloch. "It's time to take the Tobin tax seriously | Global development". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Chris Stevens – Overseas Development Institute (ODI)". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Profile – Experts – Research and expertise – Home". Retrieved 21 August 2016.

External links