United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

Our Mission

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous research institute within the UN system that undertakes multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.

Through our work we aim to ensure that social equity, inclusion and justice are central to development thinking, policy and practice. To this end, we:

  • focus on the often neglected social content and impacts of development processes and the role of social institutions, relations and actors in shaping development policies and pathways;
  • engage researchers, policy makers and civil society actors from around the world in generating and sharing knowledge, in order to shape policy within and beyond the UN system;
  • mobilize and strengthen the research capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries through collaborative inquiry; and
  • provide a space for the exchange of ideas, giving prominence to marginalized viewpoints, often challenging mainstream development thinking and offering alternative policy options.

Our Mandate

UNRISD was established in 1963 as an autonomous space within the UN system for the conduct of policy-relevant, cutting-edge research on social development that is pertinent to the work of the United Nations Secretariat; regional commissions and specialized agencies; and national institutions.

Our Approach

UNRISD undertakes cross-country, multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues, guided by the conviction that effective development policies depend crucially on an understanding of the social and political context.

We have a long and consistent tradition of examining the—often neglected—social drivers and impacts of structural and social change processes, and of particular development strategies and policies.

UNRISD research has frequently challenged mainstream development ideas, providing alternative development visions and policy options. As a result, over almost half a century, our research has shaped major shifts in thinking on critical development issues including: social indicators of development, gender, participation, civil society and social movements, identity and conflict, corporate accountability, social policy and the social impacts of globalization.

Through our autonomous status and institutional location within the UN system, UNRISD exercises remarkable convening power across academia, policy communities and civil society from around the world, and has unique opportunities to engage with and influence current policy debates.
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UNRISD in India