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GDN 's Strategy 2017-2022

GDN has adopted a new organizational strategy for the period 2017-2022. These are its highlights.


A world in which evidence and scholarly knowledge inform and inspire development and policy decisions.


Improve development outcomes and livelihoods through high-quality, policy-oriented research in the social sciences, produced in developing countries and connected globally. 


  • Locally conducted social science research leads to a better understanding of development challenges and guides policy decision and their implementation
  • Useful and actionable knowledge cannot be exclusively imported. Local social science research is needed to transform knowledge into solutions. It is also crucial for local ownership and for informed democratic debate. 

Three-pillar strategy

  • Local Capacity | Strengthening research in low capacity environments. Because available funding for research capacity building tends to target the highest quality research outputs, too little effort is made to raise research capacity in weaker environments. GDN proposes a specific approach to help local research institutions build their capacity.
  • Global Research | Delivering high-quality, global collaborative research.  Many developing country researchers lack opportunities and incentives to interact globally or engage in substantive, global collaborative work, because such opportunities and incentives require specific efforts that are currently under-rated and under-funded. GDN proposes to use its network and experience to promote research ecellence through collaborative research across regions and disciplines.
  • Sharing Evidence | Putting development research to better use. A patent mismatch in developing countries between the potential demand for policy research and the actual supply of academic research results in poor research-policy interaction. GDN proposes to specifically work on the process of using research by using developing various products and approaches to connect researchers and other stakeholders: governments, private sector, civil society.  


GDN offers a complete package of services

  • Research Diagnostics. This could include surveying the research environment (systems and practices) in developing countries, researching M&E capacity building instruments, methods and practices, and evaluating research capacity-building operations.
  • Research Management. This could include incubating, initiating, funding and or managing research programs and hosting services, managing prizes and awards, monitoring and implementation, monitoring quality at all stages, coordinating the production of research papers and products.
  • Research Capacity Building. This could include institutional partnerships, training on design, skills, administration, communication and use, assistance to publication, mentoring and peer reviews, quality control, global exposure and collaborative work. 
  • Research Use. This could include a web platform, international conferences, workshops, dialogues, policy labs, convening all stakeholders, research 'translation services' including blogs, briefs, summaries, videos and advisory services.


Independence. GDN has the legitimacy of an independent, public international organization. It has no institutional or political affiliation, and its only dedication is to serve its mandate.

First-class and diverse academic board of directors. GDN has a ­ first-class, diverse academic Board of Directors, coopted under strict nomination guidelines. GDN’s governance structure strengthens its independence and focus on quality. Directors are nominated by diverse global and regional constituencies and appointed by GDN’s International Assembly.

Operational experience. GDN has accumulated strong and diverse operational experience in managing global research programs and working with individuals and institutions across the developing world.

Partnerships and global network.GDN builds on a strong global network. It has ten regional network partners across all developing regions, and has established working relationships with many individuals and institutions, thus combining local and global reach.

Staff. GDN has a small, competent and versatile staff . It is a nimble structure whose role is to initiate, coordinate and facilitate research-based work conducted by many other partners and organizations, and to learn from GDN’s past operations and experience.


Inclusiveness. GDN reaches out to all categories of countries and researchers. It fights all forms of discrimination in access to its programs, whether originating in gender, or in differences in the institutional, geographic, political or economic environment.

Transparency. GDN programs, processes and criteria for selection and access are all transparent. So are GDN accounts, income and expenditure. The results of GDN’s programs are public and publicly disseminated. GDN fully supports open data principles.

Effciency. GDN manages its operations in a cost efficient manner, and focuses on outcomes and impact. It gratefully recognizes the support it receives and is keen on delivering value-for-money in the pursuit of its global mission.

Research ethics and quality. Through its programs and beneficiaries, GDN upholds professional research and ethical standards, such as scientific quality standards, respect for persons and their rights, equity and transparency, legal compliance and data confidentiality and protection.

Download the full strategy paper here.