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GDI celebrating 60 years of Development Studies at The University of Manche

(13 February 2018)

Over the years the Global Development Institute (GDI) has had a few different names. In 1958 it was originally founded as the Department of Overseas Administrative Studies, to provide training to the new generation of post-colonial administrators from newly independent South East Asia countries. 

By the late 1960s it began to offer an official Postgraduate Diploma in Development Administration and grew to become a fully-fledged teaching and research outfit, with a master's programme launching in the mid-1980s. 

The big shift towards research and postgraduate teaching occurred in 1986 when it became known as the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) and began accepting PhD candidates. During the 1990s, the academic profile of IDPM rose rapidly as staff produced ground-breaking books on structural adjustment, microfinance and the rise of NGOs. IDPM also established new research centres on poverty and development economics.

The Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) was established in 2005 with the support of the Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Foundation to focus on large research projects. BWPI pushed forward thinking and practice on chronic poverty, social assistance, supply chains and the politics of development. Close links with IDPM were retained through a complementary research agenda.

In 2016, IDPM and BWPI joined forces to become the Global Development Institute, acknowledging the rapidly shifting landscape of development. It is now Europe's largest teaching and research institute focused on poverty and inequality, home to over 50 academics, with 95 PhD candidates and 630 master's students, and over £3.5 million in research income last year.

From being a small training unit on the edge of the University, the Global Development Institute now leads one of its major research beacons on global inequalities. Its research and postgraduate teaching are influential around the world.   

Over the last 60 years, development has changed beyond all recognition. The GDI will be using the year to reflect on some of the changes that have happened and the upcoming challenges it is likely to face. It will also be celebrating its 11,622 alumni, many of whom are deeply engaged in promoting development in many countries.

We will update you on the GDI celebration events and activities that will take place throughout 2018.

  • If you have reflections, memories or photos of the GDI over the years, please email as the team would love to share them on their blog, Twitter and monthly emails.


Class of 1960

Class of 1960