CDS brings together staff, students and associates of the University of Bath who share a commitment to understanding development, defined as both a human aspiration and a historical process, operating at multiple levels and across many fields. The work of CDS links development to pursuit of human wellbeing, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and social justice. It reflects the complexity of development as a contested concept, and the contribution diversity, plurality and collaboration can make to understanding development. CDS values academic autonomy, while supporting research that engages directly with policy, practice and power.

Established in 1975, CDS has a long history of conducting funded research across the globe. Much of this has been conducted through individual scholarship and doctoral study, but CDS also hosts publicly and privately grant-funded research projects, including from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). CDS is affiliated both to the UK Development Studies Association (DSA) and the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI).

Our researchers

More than forty academic staff are affiliated to CDS, the majority belonging to the Department of Social and Policy Sciences. There are also a dozen affiliated members, drawn from outside the University. The current director of CDS is Professor James Copestake.

CDS researchers attract major grants and undertake research projects funded by UK and EU research councils and other academic funders, government departments and related public-sector bodies, third-sector organisations and charities. We collaborate regularly with NGOs, charities, local, devolved and national UK government and international bodies.

We share our knowledge and expertise through research publications, reports, policy briefings, conferences and other events.

Research themes

Our teaching

The first three themes correspond with pathways for postgraduate study of international development (ID) in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, while the fourth connects with ID integrated into postgraduate courses offered by the University’s departments of Health and Education. We also offer an MSc in Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development.