About Innovations for Peace and Development
Innovations for Peace and Development (IPD) was launched at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2013. IPD’s mission is to provide a space for interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on global conflict, foreign aid and poverty alleviation. At its core, IPD provides mentored research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. We are very proud that since our start over 130 students have been involved with IPD, as student researchers, summer interns, and graduate research fellows and assistants.
In its first two years of operation, IPD has already had widespread impact on both academic scholarship and policy. Our aid geomapping work has been featured in high profile forums, including the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings. IPD’s work on climate change and development aid has contributed to the climate finance tracking policies and practices of the Multilateral Development Banks and the new Adaptation Finance Tracking Initiative. Most recently, our new initiative to provide robust impact evaluation of United Nations Peacebuilding activities in Burundi was received with wide acclaim at the UN headquarters in New York, and the USAID headquarters in DC.
Our work is supported by several prestigious grants, including a $25 million USAID Higher Education Solutions Network collaborative partnership with AidData, Development Gateway and ESRI; the Swiss Network for International Studies; and two U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative awards. Under the auspices of our most recent Minerva award of $1.9 million, IPD will be working with the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security & Law, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Sussex and Development Gateway to study the root causes and responses to complex emergencies in South Asia.
IPD students have immersed themselves in important research and managed their own projects. We have also taught them valuable skills, ranging from geographic information system (GIS) mapping to randomized experimental methods. In turn, IPD student researchers have participated in internships with prominent agencies such as USAID and AidData in Washington, DC, Williamsburg, VA, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, Haiti, Mexico, Nepal and Timor-Leste. And our students have also contributed to numerous publications and public presentations, including at the G8 Food Security Summit and at USAID’s TechCon.
We are developing new course and fellowship opportunities to expand mentored research activities at UT. This year, 10 students will participate in a year-long Strauss Center Next Generation Scholars program, and 15 students are enrolled in a new year-long Government Department research practicum. These programs bring together IPD’s mentored research opportunities with structured classroom experiences.
We are especially grateful for the support provided thus far by the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the UT College of Liberal Arts, especially the Department of Government, Liberal Arts Honors and Plan II. We look forward to expanding our scope of work, fundraising activities, faculty participation, and membership of UT students moving forward.
Dr. Michael Findley Dr. Catherine Weaver
Department of Government LBJ School of Public Affairs
One of the first geocoded maps of aid in Kenya demonstrates the lack of aid in the north of the country where the highest levels of poverty exist.
In 2011, Malawi became the first country in world to have a publicly accessible map of all official development aid activities at sub-national level.