Building the leaders of today and tomorrow

At the Hawassa university, students are at work at the cantine.
Petterik Wiggers / Panos Pictures

IDRC extended its longstanding focus on capacity building in research for development by defining a strategy to “build the leaders of today and tomorrow”. The Centre is committed to supporting high-potential organizations and individuals who can make transformative development contributions.  

The Building Leaders evaluation 

Over the course of 2018 and 2019, IDRC conducted a cross-program evaluation of selected strategies and results on the topic of building leaders. This evaluation is helping to extend IDRC’s investments in researchers and organizations to create a better tomorrow. The evaluation is composed of two modules:  

1. Building leading organizations

Investing in organizations and networks to help them become more sustainable, effective, and influential. This evaluation examines the strategies and results of incorporating organizational development into research programs.

IDRC also commissioned a final evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative, the Centre’s flagship 10-year program that provided core funding and supplemental capacity strengthening to 43 independent policy research think tanks in 20 countries.

2. Building emerging research leaders

Supporting graduate students and early career researchers is an important investment in the leaders of tomorrow. This evaluation assesses leadership building in IDRC funded award programs and research projects.   

Read a summary of the report.

Background papers: 

Preliminary Frameworks from the IDRC Leadership Development Working Group

An IDRC Working Group identified some common understandings of what building leader’s means in a research for development context to help develop more intentional approaches, to monitor progress, and to communicate results. 

Southern perspectives on research leadership: Towards an evaluation framework 

IDRC Research Award Recipient Emma Fieldhouse examined concepts of research leadership among emerging leaders in the Global South. This study will have implications on development programs in the research for development context and on evaluation frameworks.