1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Social Development Research at UNRISD 2005–2009



The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) re-examines its research agenda periodically, to ensure that projects are attuned to contemporary development trends and concerns, and that they form part of a coherent research strategy. The last revision took place in 1999 and culminated in the “2000+” agenda See UNRISD. 2000. UNRISD 2000+: A Vision for the Future of the Institute. UNRISD, Geneva., which refocused the Institute’s work on the theme of social policy. Through the “flagship” programme Social Policy and Development, research examined the effectiveness of state policies that aim to directly influence the welfare and security of diverse social groups, and the relationship between social policy and economic development. Four additional programmes addressed other important dimensions of social development: Democracy, Governance and Human Rights; Civil Society and Social Movements; Identities, Conflict and Cohesion; and Technology, Business and Society.

Since 2004, UNRISD has been engaged in a consultative process with its research networks and Board to design a research agenda for the 2005–2009 quinquennium. As part of this process, a two-day workshop was held in Geneva in November 2004. It was attended by 25 social scientists. Representatives from regional research networks, including the Latin American Social Science Research Council (CLACSO), the European Association of Development Institutes (EADI) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) participated, as did scholars from universities in Ghana, Lebanon, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand, and specialists from United Nations agencies and research institutions in Europe and the United States. This report identifies the main themes and issues that are likely to be the focus of UNRISD work in the coming years. The realities of funding and the demands for research from United Nations entities and other key users of UNRISD work mean that, over a five-year period, the content of the agenda may be subject to modifications.

Within the Institute’s broad remit to conduct research on social development, attention will focus, in particular, on social policy, poverty reduction and equity. An effort will be made to examine the reciprocal relationships between social, economic and political dimensions of development, and ways in which improvements in social institutions, social relations and social welfare affect not only human well-being, but also economic development and democracy.

The 2005–2009 agenda has three main objectives:
· to adjust research activities in response to global developments and scholarly debates, as well as gaps in knowledge that have emerged in the course of current research;
· to examine issues that are not being addressed adequately or sufficiently by research networks associated with the United Nations system; and
· to consolidate key aspects of the 2000+ agenda by expanding work under certain programmes, and by developing synergies between projects in related areas that had previously been carried out under different programmes.

Research will be organized under six programme areas: Social Policy and Development; Democracy, Governance and Well-Being; Markets, Business and Regulation; Civil Society and Social Movements; Identities, Conflict and Cohesion; and Gender and Development. Work in these areas will be supplemented by research commissioned to feed into special events and activities organized by the Institute, such as conferences or flagship reports.

The links on the right of the page can be used to view or download UNRISD's 2005-2009 research agenda in full.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Jul 2006
    Pub. Place: Geneva, Switzerland
    ISSN: ISBN 92-9085-070-1
    From: UNRISD