Research Clusters

Research at ISID is intended to generate rigorous and relevant knowledge through which we can gain a deeper understanding of development processes and experiences. While building on disciplinary strengths across the social sciences and beyond, our research philosophy is to bridge disciplines and methodologies, and knowledge and practice.  Our research priorities are clustered around three broadly distinct but deeply interconnected domains: Poverty and Inequality; Governance and Society; and Environment and Sustainability. Important themes such as gender, ethnicity, and diversity recur and cut across each of these domains.  Our aim is to advance within and across disciplines through socially and politically relevant research on development.

I. Poverty and Inequality

How do poverty and inequality manifest themselves?  What are their causes?  What are their consequences?  Can we design and evaluate social policy that aims to reduce poverty? Moving beyond defining poverty or inequality on the basis of income alone, this research cluster focuses on understanding their characterizations, causes and consequences with the ultimate goal of providing decision-makers with tools to reduce poverty, mitigate the harmful real effects of inequality, foster economic growth and promote development at large.

II. Governance and Society

The ability of individuals to realize their full potential greatly depends not only on the opportunities that exist for personal advancement, but also the rules and norms governing actions and agency in society. Central to this is the degree to which formal and informal institutions and norms are able to promote improved living standards, the freedoms individuals and communities enjoy, and our ability to fully engage with one another at the local, national, global and virtual levels.  With increased uncertainty stemming from recent geopolitical trends, conflict and other forms of violence, climate change and the emergence of new and global health threats, this research cluster is concerned with understanding the role that Global Governance can in strengthening widespread, sustainable and inclusive development.

III. Environment and Sustainability

Widespread and inclusive increases in living standards cannot be pursued without adopting a long-term view.  The processes by which individuals and societies can reach their full potential must by definition be sustainable.  This means that the negative environmental consequences of the pursuit of improved material wellbeing must be minimized and mitigated.  But it also means that this process must be inclusive and socially innovative.  This research cluster considers sustainable development and economic growth, with a focus on environmental and socially inclusive sustainability. It also considers how communities are able to respond to environmental change and natural disasters.