Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

The Development Challenge


The Development Challenge has been a major research theme of the IIIS Research Programme since its inception. The overall aim of research and learning in this area is to understand how international integration affects low-income countries and how issues of global disparities in the development process can be addressed. There is a strong case for International Integration and the Development Challenge continuing as a flagship area of the Institute and a major focus of the International Integration research theme.

By its very nature, this research theme is of global consequence. Research within this theme addresses the development challenge facing the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world, and in particular, how international integration impacts on the development process, for better or worse. It is also important that within an Institute devoted to promoting research into the many dimensions of global integration that the impact of globalisation on the developing world is given appropriate attention and visibility.

Understanding the impact of international integration on the development process is central to the globalisation debate. Wide disparities in living standards between and within countries are a destabilizing force in terms of international security and migration patterns, and global poverty is a substantial human rights violation. Moreover, the extent to which international integration widens these disparities further is a question that requires due consideration in globalisation research. For policymakers, the efficient allocation of international aid budgets requires significant academic research input, in particular in understanding the effectiveness of aid. In addition, the developing world is centrally important to the policy debate on global issues such as climate change; international public health; the international financial and trading systems; and international migration. Finally, with an appropriate institutional infrastructure in place, improving access to the international pool of knowledge and capital can accelerate progress in living standards in low income countries and provide important sources of innovation.

Back to top


Flagship Leader:

Prof Carol Newman has committed to working with the IIIS on any activities that would strengthen research in the theme of International Integration and the Development Challenge moving forward. These will include:

  • Up-to-date web presence on research activities
  • Working group seminar series (bi-monthly)
  • Annual International conference on IIDC
  • Policy dissemination seminars



A number of IIIS Research Associates continue to be involved in development research as it relates to the International Integration theme. Their research and interests are described in what follows.

Development Economics is a central research focus of the Discipline of Economics within the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Prof Carol Newman’s research looks at the impact of globalization and international integration on the process of economic development with particular focus on South East Asia and sub-saharan Africa. Prof. Gaia Narciso is involved in research relating to international migration flows and the political economy of development. Prof. Michael Wycherley’s research focuses on long run growth and the sources of income differences across countries. Michael King’s research is in the area of policy coherence for development and access to finance. Also within the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy in the Discipline of Political Science, Prof. Christian Houle’s research addresses democratization and democratic consolidation in developing countries, comparative political economy, African politics, and international political economy

Development as it relates to International Integration is also an important area of research within the School of Natural Sciences, particularly in the Discipline of Geography. Prof. Clionadh Raleigh’s research concerns climate change induced migration, the geography of civil wars in Central Africa, and famine patterns. Prof. Pádraig Carmody’s research addresses issues of economic restructuring in Africa; globalisation, governance and civil society.

Within the School of Business, Prof. Frank Barry investigates the economic policy lessons from Ireland’s experience for developing countries. His research also addresses policy coherence for development. He is also actively involved in the African Economic Research Consortium. Also within the School of Business, Prof. Louis Brennan’s research addresses the emergence of Southern Multinationals and their impact on Europe.

In addition to these full-time faculty members, 18 out of the 68 PhD students located in the IIIS work in the field of development as it relates to international integration. The full list of students and research areas are given in Table 1.

IIIS PhD students engaged in development related research

  • Economics - Emma Howard, Spatial networks, clustering and spillovers: Lessons for Development
  • Economics - Julia Matz, pousal Bargaining and Allocation of Resources towards Children
  • Economics - Eoin McGuirk, Essays on the Political Economy of Development
  • Economics - Shasha Li, The impact of financial crisis on economic growth and inequality
  • Economics - Conor O’Toole, Investment and financing constraints: International perspectives and microeconometric evidence
  • Economics - Theodore Talbot, Development Macroeconomics
  • Economics - Ani Vardanyan, Corporate Social Responsibility and multi‐product firms: Theory and lessons for development
  • Political Science - Jennifer Brett, The effectiveness of aid: the role of political institutions
  • Political Science - Edmond Coughlan, Political Inequality and the Electoral Vote in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Political Science - Patrick Theiner, Explaining Variation in Gants by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • Sociology - Andrea Rigon, Power and Conflict in the Development of Informal Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya
  • School of Business - Thomas McDermott, Climate shocks, long term economic growth and development
  • Geography - Sam Barrett, Climate Justice: A Multi-Scalar Analysis
  • Geography - Aldo Zammit Borda, International Criminal Court and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - First Investigations and Trials
  • Geography - Tsui Tat Chee, Rule of Law in China? Legislation Reasoning and Enforcement of Competition Laws in China and the West
  • School of Law - Elmuizz Ibrahim Elhadi, Quest for Power in the Framework of Islamic Law
  • Post Conflict - Penolope Laetitia Muteteli, Identify Polarization, Citizenship and Conflict Resolution: Governmentality in Cote d'Ivoire.
  • International Peace Studies - Jean Marie M. Mbombo Kasonga, Building Pease in Africa through NEPAD

Academic Output

Since the foundation of the Institute three significant international conferences have been organised in 2003, 2006 and 2008 on the development challenge and in terms of publications 25 percent of the last 100 discussion papers have been related to the development theme. In addition, four of the nine books published by Institute associates since 2010 and listed on the Institute’s website are related to international development. Those working in the area have also collectively published a significant number of peer-reviewed international journal articles with significant potential for future publications from the on-going and planned activities of the group.


Development research is by its nature interdisciplinary. For the last five years development research has benefited from the overarching structure of the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) which is a College-wide initiative, involving all three Faculties and multiple disciplines, to coordinate and promote TCD’s expanded engagement with research and education on global development. IIIS has supported TIDI since its inception including providing financial support and housing the grant from Irish Aid/HEA which funds the initiative. The theme of International Integration and the Development Challenge can continue to benefit from cooperation with TIDI which gives greater visibility to development research within College and to stakeholders and policy makers and can help build interdisciplinary engagement between colleagues within College.It is important, however, to distinguish research relating to International Integration and the Development Challenge from research in International Development more generally. As a flagship area within the International Integration Research Theme, International Integration and the Development Challenge would not be an all encompassing catch-all of development research in College. It would instead operate in parallel with other College level initiatives that advance International Development as a College Research Theme. Researchers working in this area would continue to participate in TIDI where inter-faculty or inter-disciplinary research interests emerge and would also feed into other research groups operating under the College International Development theme.

Collaborations and Societal Engagement
Researchers working in the area of international integration and the development challenge collaborate extensively with developing country partners, international organisations, policy makers and other stakeholders in conducting and communicating their research. These include:

Irish Aid
University of Copenhagen
UNU-WIDER (United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research)
Brookings Institution, Washington
African Development Bank
Central Institute for Economic Management, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Hanoi, Vietnam
Centre for Agricultural Policy, Hanoi, Vietnam
Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoi, Vietnam
Institute for Labour Studies and Social Affairs, Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs, Hanoi Vietnam
Cambodia Economic Association, Pnomh Penh, Cambodia
Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan, Nigeria
Economic Policy Research Centre, Kampala, Uganda
African Economic Research Consortium
Earth Institute at Columbia University and the other twenty one members of the Global Masters in Development Practice Network.
European Centre for Development Policy Management, Maastricht
Financial Sector Deepening Trust, Nairobi, Kenya

There is significant potential to further increase the visibility of research in this area externally particularly given the increasing emphasis on the need for research related to aid effectiveness and policy coherence for development among donors and international organizations.

Back to top

A large proportion of IIIS research income has come from development related research. In total, development income accounts for 10.7% of the total research income for the Institute. In addition, many members of staff have research income for related research that is not currently housed in the IIIS or are actively engaged in trying to attract research funding for development research that would fall within the international integration theme. Firmly establishing International Integration and the Development Challenge as a flagship research theme within the Institute would create visibility for the theme within and outside of College and would create new opportunities for housing funded research projects within the Institute. Such collaborations are already taking place within College. For example, economists from the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, in collaboration with the School of Medicine are actively seeking funding for a €1 million research project entitled ‘Nutrition and Treatment Outcome: Development of a Ugandan-Irish HIV/Nutrition Research Cluster’ (NOURISH) with Irish Aid.

Back to top


Future direction


This document highlights the importance of development related research to the International Integration research theme. This is really only the beginning as there is a considerable amount of research activity in progress that is yet to reach full maturity in terms of academic output. Some examples include:

TCD-University of Copenhagen Collaboration (Prof. Carol Newman and Prof Gaia Narciso)
This project has two components. The first is concerned with analysing the evolution of the Vietnamese industrial sector since 2000 with a particular focus on issues related to globalization and international integration such as industry dynamics, technology diffusion, trade, productivity and corporate social responsibility. The second focuses on the economic wellbeing of households in rural Vietnam, with a particular focus on access to, and use of, productive resources, in the context of a liberalized market environment. A major part of this project is the collection of a panel dataset of over 3,000 rural households through the Vietnamese Access to Resources Household Survey (2006-2008-2010-2012-2014) survey instrument.

Learning to Compete: Accelerating Industrial Development in Africa (Prof. Carol Newman)
Learning to Compete seeks to answer a seemingly simple but puzzling question: why is there so little industry in Africa? Industry—including modern services and agro-industry—is often the key to job creation, poverty reduction, and growth. Most Asian economies began their industrialization processes with initial conditions quite similar to many African countries today, yet, while Asia had explosive industrial growth, Africa’s shares of global manufacturing value added and exports have fallen. To sustain growth Africa must learn to compete in global markets.

NOURISH (Prof. Carol Newman and Prof. Gaia Narciso)
Irish Aid funded project and a collaboration between the School of Medicine, the Department of Economics, TIDI and various partners in Uganda. The project will design and deliver interventions to determine impact of environmental, health and economic factors on the experience and outcomes of Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS.

Back to top

Last updated 6 November 2012 by IIIS (Email).