International Development and Inclusive Innovation: a Priority Research Area at the OU



Last year, nearly 70% of international development research at The Open University was graded 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' by the Research Excellence framework ( Afterwards, the OU showed its continued commitment to international development research by supporting a Priority Research Area (PRA) in International Development and Inclusive Innovation (IDII). This decision was part of the OU's strategy 'Research Shaping the Future' ( IDII was one of four areas agreed and is being led by DPP’s Professor Giles Mohan.

Giles commented: ‘It's an exciting time. With an investment of £2.5m over five years, IDII will allow us to build on our pioneering research that is already helping to improve infrastructure, health systems and inclusive education around the world.’

Several new appointments have been made to work in IDII, including Heidi McCafferty (Research and Communications Manager), who joined from the OU’s International Development Office, and Tom Bartram (Senior Institutional Fundraiser), who will divide his time between IDII and the OU’s Development Office.

In addition, IDII has enabled the appointment of two new lecturers: Dr Charlotte Cross, a historian and political scientist who focuses on security, local governance and urban development in sub-Saharan Africa; and Dr Julius Mugwagwa, whose area of expertise is health innovation in Africa. Julius previously held two post-doctoral fellowships with DPP and he will also be the PRA’s Research Impact Manager.

IDII is also welcomes two new Research Associates. Dr Belinda Wu joins from The Bartlett Development Planning Unit at University College London and has expertise in spatial data modelling; while Dr Alex Borda-Rodriguez, previously a PhD student and post-doctoral researcher with DPP, is currently leading a research project in Ecuador exploring inclusive development and innovation in the social and solidarity economy.

Professor Giles Mohan: as well as holding a DFID-ESRC grant to research Chinese National Oil Companies in Africa, Giles has been central to several modules in the MSc in Development Management ( as well as DPP’s undergraduate curriculum in international development (