What is the evidence on the impact of research on international development? A DFID literature review

What is the evidence on the impact of research on international development? A DFID literature review

Governments of low-income countries and international development donors are increasing their funding for research at least in part on the assumption that research has positive impacts on socioeconomic development.

Four pathways are commonly cited to describe how  research will contribute to development:

  • investment in research will drive economic growth
  • investment in research will increase human capital
  • investment in research will lead to the development of pro-poor products and technologies
  • investment in research will provide evidence to inform policies and practice

This literature review examines the evidence base related to each of these four pathways. It demonstrates that research does make important and significant contributions to socioeconomic development but that some commonly held assumptions about how research leads to change are not backed up by the evidence. Brief summaries of the findings relating to each path are given.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.