The Global Development Research Division conducts research that promotes social justice and equality, and raises awareness of the global challenges surrounding the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Our work builds on the long tradition of development research at the University. We work with partners in countries around the world to explore common themes such as relative poverty, precarious work, marginalisation, urbanisation and cities, rural development, and climate change. Our research cuts across disciplines, including Agriculture, Economics, Geography, Law and Meteorology, and working across these boundaries is a key part of what we do. Division members possess expertise in a wide range of methodological approaches, with particular strengths in communications and public engagement.
Meet Our Staff
Staff conducting research into Global Development spans four of the University’s schools and departments:
- Agriculture, Policy and Development
The Global Development Division is home to many research projects aiming to tackle global challenges and support the delivery of the UN’s sustainable development goals. Some examples include:
Smallholder farmers are key to food security in sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of the population depend on small-scale, rain-fed farming as their main source of food and income. But these farmers face high risks and difficult decisions when planning their activities because of highly variable climatic factors such as the amount of rainfall in a growing season, the timing of seasonal changes, and extreme conditions like dry spells and floods.
The PICSA approach, developed by agriculture specialists and meteorologists in Reading and local partners in African countries links local climate, crop, livestock and livelihood information with participatory planning and decision-making tools for farmers. These tools help them decide the best farming and livelihood options for them, for example when to plant crops.
Improving security of water supplies in Africa
Secure access by the rural poor to water in Africa is central to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More than 500 million Africans are dependent on groundwater.
With growing demand for its use, the resilience of aquifers in the face of climate, population growth, and changes in land-use is key to ensuring secure access to water. To address these challenges, the Walker Institute is leading the BRAVE project implementation in Ghana and Burkina Faso.
The programme communicates data provided by the Rainwatch platform and aims to help local communities prepare for the challenges related to climate and water in the coming months.
Undertaking postgraduate studies in Global Development brings significant opportunities for rich intellectual endeavour and transdisciplinary study.
The Global Development Division cuts across several departments offering doctoral students in affiliated schools the opportunity to benefit from supervision and support from across the Division, if they so desire. Opportunities for global development doctoral research are available in the four schools from which Division members are drawn. Find out more on the Graduate School’s Find a PhD page.The Division is particularly looking to attract potential students with research interests in the following areas: 1) Politics, justice and environmental governance; 2) Livelihoods, food and agriculture; 3) Wellbeing, gender and care; 4) Empowerment, participation and labour.