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Global Development Network (GDN)


The goal of the Global Development Network (GDN) is to support and link research and policy  institutes involved in the field of development, and whose work is predicated on the notion that ideas  matter. The initiative, still in its early phase, has proceeded on two fronts: knowledge generation and knowledge sharing.First, since early 1998, the regional networks have used World Bank funding to  create or strengthen competitive peer-review grant mechanisms for generating research. Second,  starting with an initial consultative meeting in June 1998, the regional networks and the World Bank  have initiated several knowledge-sharing programs, including training for researchers, a series of regional workshops focusing on building the capacity of research and policy institutes, and planning for future activities.

The GDN will aim to support the generation and sharing of knowledge for development and to help bridge the gap between the development of ideas and their practical implementation. Achieving these goals involves strengthening the capacity of research and policy institutions to undertake high-quality, policy-relevant research and to move research results into the policy debates, at both national and global levels.

The initiative recognizes that policy and research institutions are rapidly becoming influential voices in policy circles. In the past decade, the number and activities of these institutions -- many of which are independent -- has increased dramatically, driven in part by democratization, and in part by the sheer complexity of "second generation" (beyond adjustment) reform issues. Increasingly, they are playing a role in bridging the gap between development knowledge and policymaking, areas in which governments no longer have a monopoly or even a comparative advantage.


Since its inception in 1999, GDN has supported and linked research institutes that generate, share and apply knowledge about development. It was founded on the premise that good policy research, properly applied, can accelerate development and improve people’s lives. GDN’s approach to policy relevant research is a multidisciplinary one, in that efforts to address development challenges must be informed by knowledge based on a variety of methodological approaches. In 2005, GDN relocated its Secretariat from Washington DC to New Delhi, India.

GDN sponsors five core activities, which together serve the goals of investing in human capital, unearthing and mentoring new talent and advancing development policies in developing and transition countries.

Held every year by GDN’s regional network partners in eight regions to promote high-quality research in developing and transition countries , GDN had disbursed more than $19 million and awarded more than 800 grants through this program.

The largest annual international competition for researchers on development, each year roughly $300,000 is awarded in grants to researchers and development practitioners from developing countries. More than 3,000 scholars have participated in this competition to date. 

Major projects involving research teams worldwide address the most pressing issues of development. Till date, four projects have been implemented within the comparative, cross country context – Explaining Growth, Understanding Reform, Bridging Research and Policy and Impact of Rich Countries Policies on Poverty. The 265 grants awarded under the GRPs include country studies, thematic papers, regional syntheses and global studies.

GDN’s annual conferences provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Of the 3681 participants from over 100 countries who have attended GDN’s seven annual conferences since 1999, nearly 2,500 were researchers from the developing world.

GDN’s internet-based resource, GDNet is rapidly emerging as the primary depository of research output from the developing world with nearly 10,000 research papers available online. In addition, GDNet provides developing country researchers with online access to sophisticated research tools.  The monthly newsletters GDNews and Research in Focus reach nearly 17,000 subscribers. Apart from that, GDNet provides GDNet Researcher Profile, a simple and cost-free means of raising developing country researchers’ profiles amongst the global development research community. Click here to register with GDNet Researcher Profile

How is the GDN Financed?

A key objective of the GDN is to improve the links between development policy and research institutes and sources of funds that can support their work. Already, there is an expanding group of sponsors supporting various activities under the GDN umbrella, including the UNDP, the World Bank, and several publicly-backed institutions from Germany, the US, and Japan.

GDN home page: http://www.gdnet.org/