The ODID Blog: a springboard for ideas

03 November, 2022

Head of Department Professor Diego Sánchez-Ancochea introduces the ODID Blog – a platform to showcase our work, inform policy, explore collaboration and prompt debate around sustainable and equitable development.

Welcome back to our revamped department blog!  Now that the pandemic has passed – and the accompanying sense that at times we were all dealing with more problems than we could handle – this is the right time to relaunch it. 

We live in really challenging times across the world: in the last 15 years, we have dealt with a global financial crisis, the rise of extremist leaders, a pandemic and now a cost-of-living crisis driven by inflation and geopolitical uncertainty. Despite scepticism about “experts” in some quarters, the role of academics is more important than ever. The research of our staff, students and alumni is undoubtedly helpful in informing public debates, providing a comparative perspective on many issues, and promoting much-needed critical viewpoints. ODID’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach and our interest in combining global and national perspectives makes our contribution particularly relevant.

In the next weeks and months, we will publish contributions from former and current students, as well as many of our academics, covering a diverse and stimulating range of topics – from the influence of “development myths” in shaping projects on the ground, to the importance of setting artificial intelligence and data standards that meet the needs of the Global South; or the emotional factors that enable popular campaigns to gain the critical mass needed to achieve success.

We aim to introduce our research to as many people as possible, encouraging conversations and debate along the way. Hopefully the blog will become an opportunity not only to showcase our work, but also to inform policymakers and the general public on key trends, explore collaboration with researchers in other institutions and encourage future students to come to Oxford. For example, a mini-series this term will explore the impact of climate change on development – a cross-cutting theme in the department’s research and teaching. Our writers make thought-provoking contributions from different angles – including the need to invest not just in specific climate adaptation measures, but in people’s ongoing capacity to adapt; the game-changing potential of new economics teaching centred on real-world sustainability and equality issues; or the vital role of residents’ participation in shaping renewable energy solutions for refugee camps.

Although most entries will be in written form, we will also include videos from time to time. We very much welcome contributions from all our alumni community, which remains a source of ideas and energy for all of us.Hopefully the blog will complement our newsletter and other efforts in promoting interactions between our students and alumni.

Let me conclude this welcome note by thanking our Communications Officer, Jo Boyce, for her leadership in this process and our new Blog Editor, Stephanie Debere, who has been crucial for getting things off the ground – and by encouraging all to give us feedback and to suggest topics for discussion. Although the world of development is not short of blogs, twitter feeds and other sources of ideas, I am convinced that ODID Blog will enrich current and future debates.

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About the author(s)
Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
Professor of the Political Economy of Development and Head of Department