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LIDC Official Launch 22nd April 2008

New London Centre for International Development Opens:
See the videos of the opening here: Part One Sir Andy HainesPart Two Douglas Alexander andPart Three - Prof Jeff Waage

The new London International Development Centre (LIDC) was opened on Tuesday 22 April by the Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP, who also gave a keynote address announcing a far-reaching, five-year research strategy, which will focus on six key areas including sustainable agriculture, health and climate change. The Centre has established the largest and most multidisciplinary academic grouping in the UK to tackle the complex problems of international development.


The LIDC is a collaborative project by six University of London colleges based in Bloomsbury: Birkbeck, the Institute of Education, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal Veterinary College, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the School of Pharmacy. It will offer a unique range and depth of expertise, a critical mass of staff drawn from six specialist institutions, and the strength of partnerships with researchers, policymakers and practitioners in Africa, Asia, and other low- and middle-income regions.


Introducing the Secretary of State, Chair of the LIDC Management Group Sir Andrew Haines, (Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) said: “Substantial challenges remain to achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and addressing longer-term development issues. Action is needed by governments and international agencies in conjunction with Higher Education Institutions to establish a robust research base and to develop strong links with partners in low-income countries. The range of expertise within the LIDC will be unmatched in the UK and will provide an invaluable source of independent expert advice on international development.”


The Secretary of State, Douglas Alexander said: “Research is an essential part of saving lives in the developing world. It is helping us to address diseases such as malaria and yellow fever, and is integral to how we tackle the crises of climate change and food prices which are affecting millions of the poorest people across the globe.


“The LIDC will play a unique role, bringing together researchers and experts who will help put the UK at the forefront of research for development around the world. Only by working together can we ensure that we translate research findings into knowledge that can used to good effect in those countries most in need.”


The LIDC’s Director, Professor Jeff Waage, thanked the Secretary of State and said: “International development challenges are complex and require an inter-disciplinary approach. This Centre brings together a uniquely large and diverse community of natural scientists and social scientists and their respective development partners which will contribute innovative, inter-disciplinary research, teaching and capacity building programmes towards the achievement of international development goals.”


The LIDC brings together expertise in public health and tropical medicine, animal health, drug and vaccine development, development studies, economics; educational research; the languages, cultures and societies of Africa and Asia; sustainable use of natural resources, social enterprise and business development. With this diverse base, and its existing international partnerships, the Centre will build an original programme of development research. Its focus will be inter-disciplinary, applying natural and social science to development problems. The Centre will draw upon over 100 postgraduate courses related to international development to create new opportunities for focused, face-to-face and distance training for tomorrow’s development professionals, and for capacity building partnerships with universities in developing countries.

The Centre’s mission will be to tackle the complex problems of international development by:

  • facilitating high quality and relevant interdisciplinary research among staff within the colleges and other partners

  • developing new teaching programmes, particularly focusing on postgraduate and continuing education, capitalising on the expertise within the colleges in distance and blended learning

  • informing national and international policies on development by generating and synthesizing appropriate evidence and working with policymakers to promote linkages between research, policy and practice

  • building capacity in low- and middle-income countries to address the needs of partner higher education and research institutions, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and government departments.

Funds of £3.7m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Strategic Development Fund have supported the establishment of the Centre, including purchase of premises, and core staff and operating funds to facilitate collaboration among the partners for the first few years.


The Centre’s headquarters are at
36-38 Gordon Square
, where a community of 50 researchers from four colleges have now relocated, sharing development expertise in education, health, agriculture, environment and policy. Another 200 other LIDC members reside in the six colleges nearby.


By working together, the six Bloomsbury Colleges of the University of London will be able to make a unique contribution to achieving education for all; bring about improved health and disease eradication through education and modern medicines; improve the health and welfare of the animals on which communities in the developing world rely; and further the transfer of specialist knowledge to governments, NGOs and individual communities.