Research Projects

The Global Development Research Division‘s work cuts across a wide variety of disciplines and encompasses a number of Departments and Schools at the University of Reading. These include the Development Economics, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Department of International Development, and the School of Law. The Division also has close links to the Walker Institute, the Museum for English Rural Life (MERL) and the Participation Lab.

The GDRD is home to many research projects that aim to tackle global challenges and support the delivery of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Below, we have provided links to some of our current projects

Current Projects

The BRAVE project aims to reduce risk and improve water security resilience of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa by combining better understanding and planning of groundwater supplies with practical communication and knowledge exchange at all levels, from individual smallholder farmers to national government and regional bodies.
The CeMi project’s primary objective is to examine cemeteries and crematoria ‘gardens’ as public spaces of social inclusion, exclusion and integration with a particular focus on the migrant and Established Minority experience. CeMi is a part of the HERA  2019-2022 project 
Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe.
Everyday Lives and Small Island States
The project explores how people’s daily activities and livelihoods intersect with physical environmental change in Fiji and the Maldives. By undertaking research with island and coastal communities, the main objective is to better understand how people support, accommodate, negotiate and resist such changes in their everyday lives.
Water availability is fundamental for development in the East Africa. However, this resource is under stress from land degradation, pollution, and overfishing. These pressures are compounded by climate change thereby increasing the vulnerability of communities to water insecurity. HyCRISTAL works with decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future.
Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA)
PICSA uses participatory planning methods and combines historical climate data and forecasts with farmers’ knowledge to help them make informed decisions about their agricultural practices in relation to climate change. PICSA’s approach is now being implemented in more than 20 countries and reaching tens of thousands of farmers worldwide.
Transnational Families in Europe
Transnational Families in Europe is investigating the relationships between care, inequalities and wellbeing among different generations of transnational families in the UK, Spain, France and Sweden. This comparative, intergenerational project uses a multi-sited family-focused ethnographic and participatory action research methodology to co-produce the research with transnational families, peer researchers, third sector and statutory stakeholders. 
Whitley Researchers
The Whitley Researchers focus on collaboration, co-production and participation to help local communities and organisations understand and tackle the complex issues surrounding wellbeing and social exclusion in South Reading. Through participatory research, the centre seeks to engage with and build upon the community’s assets.
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
ZBNF is a grassroots agrarian movement in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a farming method that does not rely on agrochemicals and has the potential to achieve both food security and conservation. The project’s research focuses on understanding the social dynamics and scientific processes that underpin this agricultural approach.
AALERT is a transdisciplinary network that aims to foster debate and dialogue between artists, scientists, philosophers, policy practitioners, decision-makers and the public to articulate and advocate the role of arts research in communicating knowledge, opening-up different perspectives and creating new understandings of values within wider cross-disciplinary environmental research and decision-making collaborations. 

Past Projects

Drug Crops and Development in the Andes
The project provides a comparative analysis of the coca trade in Peru and Bolivia by contrasting the costs and benefits of development versus security-oriented policies. The overarching aim is to identify best practices, generate productive debates, and promote co-operation by linking farmers, policymakers, and scholars in both countries.
Adaptive Social Protection – Information for enhanced Resilience (ASPIRE)
As part of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme, ASPIRE’s aim was to integrate climate and livelihoods information into social protection (SP) decision-making in the Sahel. The overarching objective was to enhance resilience to climate shocks and facilitate dialogue between climate service providers and SP stakeholders.
Gold Matters
Despite its prevalence in low and lower-middle income countries, Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) is often associated with negative environmental, social, labour and health impacts which represent critical barriers to sustainability
. Gold Matters explores whether societal transformation towards sustainable mining futures is possible in ASGM.
The Newton Project
The livelihoods of most of the population in the Philippines are dependent on agriculture, yet the country is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Working with Aurora State College of Science and Technology, The Newton Project develops community-based climate change adaptation (CCA) strategies which integrate local knowledge and scientific technologies.