REF recognises GDI as the best place to do Development Studies research in the UK


The Global Development Institute is delighted that both the quality and impact of its research has been confirmed in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. In an impressive assessment across the board, GDI was the only Development Studies department to score 100% for its research environment. This measure considers how research and impact is organised and supported, as well as its contribution to the vitality and sustainability of Development Studies as a whole.

Overall, GDI research was ranked second in the UK for Development Studies. Over 85% of our research outputs were judged as either world leading or internationally excellent by an expert panel - the highest proportion within Development Studies. The impact of GDI’s research was also very highly rated, with our work overwhelmingly receiving the top ‘world leading’ grade.

GDI’s Managing Director, Professor Khalid Nadvi said “I’m very proud that the excellence of GDI’s research has been recognised in the latest REF assessment. We always strive to achieve both academically rigorous and socially relevant research, within a dynamic and supportive Institute.  Excellent ratings across the board are a clear testament to this, and to the hard work of all GDI academics. To be the only Development Studies department to score full marks on the environment assessment underscores our commitment to support impactful research. It is clear evidence of the esteem the development community holds for GDI and its contributions to the field. The Global Development Institute is where critical thinking meets social justice, which the REF assessment wholeheartedly confirms.”

GDI’s research is organised around seven research groups, which create a critical mass around key themes and issues. Groups are augmented by a number of major projects, such as the Effective States and Inclusive Development research centre, whose analytical framework is currently being built upon by the African Cities Research Consortium.  The recently finalised FutureDAMS project demonstrated an innovative interdisciplinary approach to practical development challenges, while Rising Powers and Interdependent Futures shed important light on the economic integration and influences of the major emerging economies.

Impact lead, Dr Nicola Banks, commented “GDI researchers are tackling some of the most pressing questions in today’s rapidly changing world. For a University that places social responsibility as one of its key strategic aims, it’s great to see the impact of our research rated so highly in the REF. From improving corporate responsibility, helping development actors to better understand power and politics, developing innovative health treatments, and creating sustainable farming practices, GDI researchers are taking important steps towards addressing global inequalities.”

GDI’s REF 2021 assessment follows on a positive REF assessment in 2014, despite a larger field. Within the last few months the quality and relevance of our research has also been recognised in the QS World University Ranking by Subject, and as part of The University of Manchester’s impressive THE Impact Rankings for contribution towards the Sustainable Development Goals.