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LIDC Membership Soars Past 1,000

LIDC welcomed its thousandth member this month. The academic organisation facilitates new research on international development by bringing together social and natural scientists. It reached the membership

milestone only two years after it was created with a grant of £3.7m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). LIDC is increasingly popular because of its successful record of helping members to secure research contracts, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, and organising stimulating workshops and conferences.

The rapid recent growth of the membership coincided with the beginning of the academic year this September, and now stands at 1,099. The number of members has more than doubled since January 2009. 


LIDC is a collaborative initiative involving the University of London’s six Bloomsbury Colleges (Birkbeck, Institute of Education, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, School of Oriental and African Studies, Royal Veterinary College, and The School of Pharmacy). Membership is free and open to all staff, postgraduate students and alumni from these Colleges (click here to join if you are eligible). 

Professor Jeff Waage, Director of LIDC, said: “Staff and postgraduate students from across the many sectors and disciplines represented in our Bloomsbury Colleges share a strong interest in the relevance of their work to international development goals, and this is reflected in the fantastic membership response which LIDC has achieved.”


Popular and beneficial
There are currently 471 staff from the Colleges enrolled as members of LIDC, 591 students, and 37 alumni. The benefits of membership include: 

  • Access to a members’ database which can be searched to find staff members with shared international development interests 

  • Participation in LIDC-facilitated international development research projects

  • Invitations to events for LIDC members (including workshops, seminars, conferences and social events)

  • Access to LIDC's pages of the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) - an online resource which features LIDC-related presentations and documents not available on LIDC’s website

  • Daily and/or weekly media briefings about international development-related news from the Bloomsbury Colleges and media outlets


Many members are already benefiting from involvement in cross-College research projects facilitated by LIDC, and partnerships established by LIDC. These include:




First-hand accounts

LIDC member Dr Niall Winters, of the London Knowledge Lab (a collaboration between the Institute of Education and Birkbeck) has become involved in research using mobile phones to monitor animal disease in Zanzibar through networking at LIDC events. He said: “LIDC has helped to overcome the limitations of a single disciplinary perspective by bringing people together. I personally found the Africa Gathering conference useful as it was there that I met Nick Short, of the Royal Veterinary College, and we found a common interest in mobile phones and development.  LIDC also challenges you by offering an environment where you are able to brainstorm and come up with new ideas. It has been a very positive experience.”


LIDC member Professor Angela Little, of the Institute of Education, is a member of LIDC’s Strategy Group and delivered a presentation on universal primary education at LIDC’s 2008 conference entitled No Goals at Half-time: What Next for the Millennium Development Goals. She added: “LIDC provides a space for international development researchers and teachers to talk across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries - and to develop mutually comprehensible languages for so doing. I value being able to reflect on all the Millennium Development Goals in new ways and not just those for education.”

By Guy Collender, Senior Communications Officer, LIDC, and Hannah Masters-Waage