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GDN’s Programs: Local Research for Better Lives

GDN’s programs not only mirror the changing role of research and research capacity for development in our societies, but also follow shifts in the funding landscape and the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Current themes of work include:

  • biodiversity and development
  • investigating social science research systems
  • explaining global development transitions
  • impact investing, measuring impact
  • evidence for development
  • showcasing ‘southern’ research and analysis via our blog GlobalDev

See details about GDN's current programs.

All GDN’s programs are built on a bedrock of:

  • co-creating research questions with multiple stakeholders
  • global and cross-country research on global development issues
  • collaborative and comparative thematic research
  • multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches
  • advancing development thinking and public policy
  • balancing research production with capacity strengthening (including research communications training)
  • working with least developed countries, and underserved research environments and groups
  • mentoring as a tool for deepening critical thinking and rigour at all levels and quality control
  • awarding excellence in research and development programs
  • identifying talent and supporting Southern voices in global debates
  • catalysing strategic investments in the production, diffusion and uptake of social sciences in developing countries.

These programs and innovations emerge on the experience of  completed programs in our portfolio including development finance, quality of education, aid effectiveness, firm- and sector-level productivity, and natural capital accounting across developing countries, among other topics. Older programs are listed in the program archives.

Despite a general crisis of trust in science and the growing marginalization of social science funding, GDN remains particularly interested in strengthening the positive impact of locally generated research and knowledge on development debates and policy. See GDN’s three-pronged strategy which guides its programs around the world.    

For more information, contact the Head of Programs, Francesco Obino, on