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New book published with contributions from members of the Centre of Development Studies

last modified Oct 19, 2018 02:23 PM
New book published: New Frontiers of the Capability Approach, with contributions from members of the Centre of Development Studies.
Edited by CDS lecturers Dr Flavio Comim and Dr Shailaja Fennell, as well as Dr P. B. Anand, the book explores the new frontiers of the capability approach and its links to human development in three main areas. First, it delves into the philosophical foundations of the approach, re-examining its links to concepts of common good, collective agency and epistemic diversity. Secondly, it addresses its 'operational frontier', aiming to give inclusive explanations of some of the most advanced methods available for capability researchers. Thirdly, it offers a wide range of the applications of this approach, as carried out by a mix of renowned capability scholars and researchers from different disciplines. This broad interdisciplinary range includes the areas of human and sustainable development, inequalities, labour markets, education, special needs, cities, urban planning, housing, social capital and happiness studies, among others.
New Frontiers contains a key chapter by Dr Gay Meeks, lecturer in the department, as well as chapters by CDS staff Dr Flavio Comim, Dr Tadashi Hirai, Dr Shailaja Fennell, and students Jaime Royo Olid, Josh Platzky Miller, and Caroline Souza.
The book can be found online, and is set to be published in print on 25 October 2018.
The project arises from the annual Cambridge Capabilities Conferences, hosted by the Centre of Development Studies.


Dr Ha-Joon Chang appointed as member of Development Policy of the UN Economic and Social Council

last modified Oct 05, 2018 10:25 AM

Congratulations to our Centre Director, Dr Ha-Joon Chang, who has been appointed as a member of the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He will sit on the committee from the 1st January, 2019 to 31st December 2021.

Fernando Bucheli, PhD student, winner of the Kuklys Prize at the Annual Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) Conference 2018.

last modified Sep 20, 2018 09:51 AM

Fernando Bucheli, one of our PhD students, has recently won the Kuklys Prize at the Annual Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) Conference 2018 for the best conference paper by a graduate student.

The conference's main theme was  'Human Development and Social Inclusion in an Urbanising World'. The winning paper is entitled 'Mapping marginal youth: quality of life and spatial exclusion in Bogota' and brings together aspects of spatial justice and the capability approach to understand young adults' quality of life in Fernando's native city. 

Matthew Mahmoudi, PhD Candidate at CDS, receives the Jo Cox Studentship

last modified Aug 29, 2018 09:30 AM

Matthew Mahmoudi is a PhD candidate at the Centre of Development Studies (POLIS) and the recipient of the Jo Cox Studentship from Pembroke College. Matt talks with the College's Master, Lord Chris Smith, about the role academia and politics can play in responding to refugee crises. 

Hear more from Matt and Lord Smith's discussion on the Declarations Podcast.

Danish Cambridge students set to publish the first textbook on Development Studies for high schools in Denmark

last modified Jul 26, 2018 02:11 PM

Georgios Marinos (MPhil in Development Studies, at the Centre of Development Studies) and Peter Andreas Nielsen (MPhil in Economics, at the Department of Economics) are leading a project from the University Cambridge that aims to bring together Danish graduate students worldwide to author the first textbook on Development Studies for high school students in Danish.

The inspiration for the text book was borne out of the observation that a significant proportion of Danish high school students study social sciences and politics with very limited material in Danish to engage with important development-related questions. For example, what the root of global wealth inequality is, what the impact of climate change is in poor countries, whether aid or trade is the solution to global poverty, and how we can create positive impact in poor countries in our daily lives? The purpose of the textbook is to provide young Danes with a basic understanding of development issues and tools with which they can critically engage with development in their lives, whether that be as voters, consumers, or influencers.

Georgios Marinos and Peter Andreas Nielsen have signed a contract with the publishing company Columbus Forlag and assembled more than 20 co-authors from top universities around the world. In addition to this, they have secured the support of Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, Director of the Centre of Development at the University of Cambridge, who will write the foreword of the textbook. So far half of the text book has been written and peer reviewed by Danish development specialists. The textbook is due to be published by the end of the year, with 100% of profits going to charitable causes.

The Centre of Development Studies wishes Georgios and Peter the best of luck!

Dr Maha Abdelrahman and Dr Shailaja Fennell, Winners of the CUSU Student Led Teaching Awards 2018

last modified Jun 29, 2018 03:00 PM

A massive congratulations to our academics Dr Abdelrahman and Dr Fennell for winning not just one, but two Student Led Teaching Awards each! 

The Cambridge University Students' Union Student Led Teaching Awards nominees are chosen by students within the University to recognise outstanding teaching and support by their academics, falling within eight categories regarding supervision and teaching. 

The full story can be read here

Booking for Capability Conference Open

last modified Jun 19, 2018 04:56 PM

Booking is still open for the Cambridge Capability Conference.

Please visit this link to ensure you reserve a place to this event.

There are 7 exclusive places remaining to join us at St. Catharine's College for a formal dinner on the evening of the 22nd June. Should you wish to attend this, please ensure you indicate this on the online booking form under the 'Optional Items' tab. Dinner will be £44 per person which includes a 3 course meal and coffee. 

For Conference schedule, please click here.

2018 Gates Scholars for Centre of Development Studies Announced

last modified Apr 12, 2018 01:48 PM

Congratulations to Ms Tessa Laing and Mr Dillon Muhly-Alexander who have been awarded the GATES Cambridge scholarship to commence their programmes this October.

Ms Laing, from New Zealand, will be commencing the PhD programme focusing on interactions between local government, citizens and international non-governmental organisations in Gulu and the struggle to transform a key aspect of local service delivery: absenteeism amongst teachers and health workers.

Mr Muhly-Alexander, from West Virginia, USA, will be completing the MPhil in Development Studies, with interests in food security and accessibility, as well as an appreciation of the impact politics exerts on the economic development process. 

We would also like to congratulate our current MPhil student Papa Momodou Jack who has been awarded a GATES scholarship to study a PhD in Geography.

For further information regarding GATES funding, please check out their website.


Development Studies Academics Take Part in the Official Launch of TIGR2ESS

last modified Apr 05, 2018 12:37 PM



During the week of February 21st Dr Shailaja Fennel and Dr Richard Sidebottom from the Centre of Development Studies took part in the official launch of the TIGR2ESS (Transforming India's Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies) research project in New Delhi, India.

TIGR2ESS spans multiple disciplines across Cambridge University and includes numerous Academic and Civil society partners in India. Led by Professor Howard Griffiths and funded by the Global Challenges Research fund, TIGR2ESS seeks to frame new understandings of a new Green Revolution scientific and social science approaches designed to empower stakeholders through participation, education and capacity building.

Formal Message from the Vice Chancellor Regarding Giulio Regeni

last modified Jan 17, 2018 12:24 PM

It has been almost two years since the murder of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge student, in Cairo. As we approach this anniversary, we are no nearer to knowing the truth of what happened to this promising post-graduate, tortured and killed while pursuing wholly legitimate academic research. Once again, we recognise the deep pain experienced by Giulio's family, which nothing can relieve.


In our community, the sense of hurt and outrage has not abated. His murder was an affront to all of us. It remains an affront to the values of openness, freedom of thought and freedom of academic enquiry that our University stands for. The heinous manner of Giulio's death has diminished us all.


It has been especially troubling to note that, in the absence of apparent progress in investigations into Giulio's death, attention has been turned to his doctoral supervisor, Dr Maha Abdelrahman - an honourable and distinguished scholar.


An investigation led by Italian authorities, with the help of Cambridgeshire police, is underway. As Giulio's supervisor, Dr Abdelrahman is a witness in this investigation, and has cooperated fully.


It is very disturbing, therefore, to find that she has been the victim of seemingly concerted efforts to implicate her directly in Giulio's death.


Public speculation about Dr Abdelrahman's involvement in the case has been inaccurate, damaging and potentially dangerous. It stems from a fundamental misapprehension about the nature of academic research. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of scholarly aims and methods. It shows a failure to understand the intellectual relationship between a PhD student and his or her supervisor.


It is not uncommon for academic research in the humanities and social sciences to impinge on politically sensitive issues. Giulio was an experienced researcher, who had already spent time in Egypt, and was a fluent Arabic speaker. He was using standard academic methods to study trade unions in Egypt.


Since Giulio's death was confirmed in February 2016, Dr Abdelrahman and the University of Cambridge have repeatedly expressed their willingness to cooperate with the investigation. Last week, Dr Abdelrahman welcomed the opportunity to speak again to Italian investigators in Cambridge - the third time she has answered their questions - and voluntarily handed over material requested by them.


In light of her willingness to assist, the public campaign of denigration, fanned by political expediency, is shameful.


The University has sought all opportunities - public and private, formal and informal - to push for progress in the investigation into Giulio's death. It has urged Egyptian, Italian and British authorities to pursue all avenues of investigation to arrive at the truth.


Throughout, the University has been respectful of legal constraints (including on the ability to comment publicly) posed by the continuing legal process. It has been particularly disappointing, then, to see that the same restraint has not applied in other domains, where the confidentiality of the legal process has been blatantly ignored.


The University will of course continue to assist authorities as they seek justice for Giulio and his family. It will also defend the right of academics to engage in legitimate and lawful research, wherever they wish to do so.


As well as doing everything it can to ensure that the death of one of its students is redressed, the University of Cambridge is committed to ensuring that the reputation and wellbeing of its scholars are always safeguarded.


This brutal killing calls for justice. But justice will not be served by undermining the very thing that drove Giulio in his brief but inspiring academic career - the search for truth.





New Alumni Online Platform Available

last modified Dec 20, 2017 04:25 PM

We are very pleased to announce that a new online alumni platform is available on the Development Studies website. Created by Sebastian Manhart and Will Fairbairn, who completed the MPhil programme here at the Centre in 2015, by joining you will be connected to over 300 alumni from over 60 different countries. This is great way to share news, relevant events and job listings. 

Should you wish to join, be you student or staff, please go to the alumni tab above and click the hyperlink to sign up. 

Centre Team Continue Efforts to Establish Research Partnerships with the University of Rwanda

last modified Nov 14, 2017 01:34 PM

A team from the Centre of Development Studies recently made the second in a series of trips to Rwanda as part of an ongoing effort to establish research partnerships with the University of Rwanda (UR). With the valued assistance of the Alborada Research fund, the Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation (RUGO) and Professor Albert Bizozi of UR, Jolly Dusabe, Jane Lichtenstein and Richard Sidebottom made presentations to academic staff and students covering their research in agricultural innovation, financial inclusion and entrepreneurship. Fruitful discussions were also held with the Kigali Institute of Education and DiFD officials that will potentially lead to exciting areas of research collaboration.

Winners of the CRIA MPhil Prize Announced

last modified Oct 05, 2017 01:48 PM

Generously supported by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA), the Department is delighted to announce the first winners of the CRIA prize for the highest average mark on an MPhil course in 2016-17.

The Cambridge Review of International Affairs is a peer-reviewed journal which publishes original scholarship on international affairs. It is committed to publishing diverse approaches, methods and areas of analysis, and encourages the submission of interdisciplinary work from academics and policymakers.

This year the journal celebrates 30 years of publishing and the prize was launched to mark the occasion. 

The joint winners are Chelsea Donelon and Byron Hewson, who completed the MPhil in Development Studies and the MPhil in Public Policy, respectively. They both achieved an overall mark of 78 and will receive £150 in prize money

'South Koreans Worked a Democratic Miracle. Can They Do It Again?', a new article by Dr Ha-Joon Chang

last modified Sep 15, 2017 09:43 AM

The New York Times has published an article written by our very own Dr Ha-Joon Chang. The article, 'South Koreans Worked a Democratic Miracle. Can They Do It Again?' was published in the 14th September edition, and can be read here:

Tammy Chen 1984-2017

last modified Aug 15, 2017 04:32 PM
The Department wishes to express our profound shock and sadness at the death of our student Tammy Chen
Tammy Chen 1984-2017

The Department Politics and International Studies and the Centre of Development Studies wish to express our profound shock and sadness at the death of our student Tammy Chen in a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso.  Our very deepest sympathy goes out to Tammy’s family and her many friends.

Tammy was finishing a PhD in Development Studies focusing on poverty, gender and women’s empowerment. Staff at the Centre of Development Studies paid tribute to her –

“We are profoundly saddened by the recent killing of our student, friend, and mutual inspiration, Tammy Chen. She was a superlative woman whose steps through life reflect a kind of conviction that few people show, or care to show. Whether she was teaching Canadian anglophones French, or working with impoverished women in Sub-saharan Africa to build new pathways to safety, food security and self-sufficiency, Tammy was an embodiment of what the world should be.  She moved against the grain of injustice and inequality, pushing and breaking through boundaries to make mutual understanding and care for others a foundation of a world that we do, in fact, all share. We hold Tammy, and all that she worked for and was inspired to make, as a model of what a human being should be. She made the Centre of Development Studies, and those around her, better.”

As a member of Gonville and Caius College, Tammy has been remembered as “a bright and enthusiastic student, and a warm and compassionate human being” and a studentship is to be established in her memory. You can read the College’s full tribute to Tammy, here.   

You can read the University's statement here

Student-Led Teaching Awards for Centre of Development Studies Academics

last modified May 23, 2017 03:53 PM

Congratulations to Dr Gay Meeks who won the 'Lecturer' category at the 2017 Student Led Teaching Awards. Recognition was also given to Dr Richard Sidebottom, who was also short listed.  The Awards are organised by the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU). This year they received 590 nominations from students eager to reward and celebrate the outstanding efforts of lecturing, teaching, supervising, teaching support and pastoral support staff from across the collegiate university. 


Dr Maryam Tanwir appointed High Level Track Facilitator at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum

last modified Apr 26, 2017 03:38 PM

We are pleased to announce that Dr Maryam Tanwir has been appointed as High

Level Track Facilitator at the World Summit on the Information Society



The main role of the HLTFs is to moderate high level policy sessions and

provide written executive summaries based on interventions and discussion

during the session, while capturing the vision, identifying emerging

trends, opportunities and challenges shared by the high level speakers.

Dr Flavio Comim's reading group Lent term 2017

last modified Mar 01, 2017 12:54 PM

'2017 extended edition of Amartya Sen's Collective Choice and Social Welfare'

During Lent term 2017 Dr Comim's reading group covered the first 300 pages of the book corresponding to the new preface and new introduction as the complete revised version of the 1970 version of the book.

Shreyashi Dasgupta, CDS PhD candidate, to present research in photographic exhibition at Cambridge Festival of Ideas

last modified Oct 18, 2018 11:03 AM

We are delighted to announce that Shreyashi Dasgupta, PhD candidate at CDS, will be presenting her research in a photographic exhibition at the Festival of Ideas.


Saturday 20 October: 11:00am - 5:00pm

Faculty of Law, Sidgwick Site, 10 West Road, CB3 9DZ

Are "Beds in Sheds" urban innovation or mega-slums? Are these temporary urban accommodations in the Global South any different than their Northern counterparts? Shreyashi Dasgupta at the Centre of Development Studies presents an interactive exhibition to explore these intriguing housing spaces for workers in Dhaka and Mumbai. This exhibition draws a parallel between the UK’s ‘Beds in Sheds’ and cities of the Global South, to understand the nature of temporary low-income urban accommodations elsewhere. * Have you ever lived in temporary accommodations in global cities? Are you willing to contribute to this project and share Beds in Sheds stories from any part of the world?

You can record your narratives at the exhibition or contact Shreyashi by email

"It has been almost two years since the murder of Giulio Regeni in Cairo. As we approach this anniversary, we are no nearer to knowing the truth of what happened to this promising post-graduate, tortured and killed while pursuing wholly legitimate academic research... It has been especially troubling to note that, in the absence of apparent progress in investigations into Giulio’s death, attention has been turned to his doctoral supervisor, Dr Maha Abdelrahman – an honourable and distinguished scholar..." Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor. To read the message in full, please go to our News page. The message can also be found on the University of Cambridge homepage.

We are delighted and proud to see that the Centre has gone from no.8 (2015) to no.6 (2016) to no.4 (2017) in the field of Development Studies in the QS Survey. This would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work from everyone within the Centre.