Study Groups

NGOs in Development

The NGO Study Group provides a forum for academics and researchers working on issues around civil society and development. The NGO Study Group has debated themes such as: research collaboration between academics and practitioners, NGOs and migration, local organisations and emergency relief, the ethnography of NGOs, and civil society and counter-terrorism.  Regular emails keep members informed of upcoming events. The study group has over 50 members, and welcomes new members from the academic, NGO, and policy-making community.

Latest News

The NGOs in Development Study Group will launch the Civil Society, Democracy and Development Research Cluster.

Wednesday 22 June 2016, 1130 - 1600, Fairbairn House Main Building Upper Chapel LR (1.04a)
University of Leeds

The Cluster aims to establish a collaborative network of academic/intellectual capacity to engage with the themes of civil society, democracy and development and how they intersect. Our focus is not simply the day-to-day practice of large and small NGOs – although those in themselves raise urgent questions around the nature and meaning of both democracy and development. The Cluster will be interested, too, in identifying the broader theoretical foundations of what these terminologies symbolise and the implications of their deployment in service of (often contradictory) goals of economic development, human need and social justice.

The Cluster will draw on the interdisciplinary expertise of colleagues in its host School, Politics and International Studies (POLIS), and the Centre for Global Development (CGD) at the University of Leeds. It will seek to recognise, network with and, ultimately, to strengthen academic-practitioner links.

The programme will begin with the launch of Negotiating Knowledge: Evidence and Experience in Development NGOs, a new edited collection published by Practical Action Publishing Limited. The discussion will be lead by its editors: Rachel Hayman – INTRAC and DSA NGOs in Development Study Group; Sophie King -UPRISE | School of the Built Environment, University of Salford; Tiina Kontinen - Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä; and Lata Narayanaswamy – POLIS/CGD, University of Leeds and  DSA NGOs in Development Study Group. This edited collection represents an academic-practitioner collaboration, drawing together critical analysis and lessons for practice on the relationship between the growing pressure by a range of development stakeholders to underpin practice with evidence.

The book launch will be followed by lunch and then a World Café style networking event to explore how we might promote more academic-practitioner collaboration, taking into account critical reflections on the key themes of the book and other issues raised by participants.

If you are interested in this Cluster, we would love to see you at the launch event. To register your interest (so that we can arrange catering), please email either Caroline Dyer ( or Lata Narayanaswamy (

New Book from the NGOs in Development Study Group

Negotiating Knowledge: evidence and experience in development NGOs, edited by Study Group members Rachel Hayman, Sophie King, Tiina Kontinen and Lata Narayanaswamy will shortly be published by Practical Action Publishing. The book has contributions from Kate Gooding, Kai Matturi, Erla Thrandardottir and Swetha Rao Dhananka.

Study group members are invited to the book launch on Wednesday 22nd June at the University of Leeds. The launch will coincide with first meeting of the Civil Society, Democracy and Development Research Cluster. Please contact Lata Narayanaswamy for more information and to attend (

The NGOs in Development Study Group will host a panel at the DSA2016 Conference on ‘NGOs, Politics and Power’. We invite papers from academics, researchers, practitioners and consultants, as well as nominations for panellists for a roundtable discussion on this theme.

For full information, see this PDF.

Links to Resources


Previous meeting(s):

Conference Location Date Documents
NGOs as Knowledge Hubs and Brokers of Expertise in Tomorrow’s World? Bath, UK September 2015 >Report (PDF)
NGOs in the new global context, DSA2014 London, UK November 2014 >Abstracts and Presentations
Knowledge(s) in civil society organisations in development (Joint DSA and BISA NGO working group meeting) University of Leeds, UK
April 2014 > Programme
Linked Outputs:
> ‘Knowledge sharing in action'
> ‘Getting to Grips with Evidence’
NGOs and Development Communications in the 21st Century - DSA Annual Conference
London, UK
November 2013 N/A
NGOs, Evidence, Policy and Practice Webinar May 2013 > Webinar Report
> Presentations
The Accountability, Legitimacy and Credibility of International Development NGOs London, UK
November 2012 > Conference Papers
Cracking Collaboration – A new look at partnerships in international development research (One day Workshop) N/A March-June 2012 > Full details and Project Outputs
The Study Group was awarded a small grant under the New Ideas Initiative. Run by researchers from INTRAC, the University of Bradford and World Vision UK, the project explored research collaboration between academics and NGOs. A one-day workshop, attended by Study Group members and representatives of NGOs and DFID

If you are interested in joining the NGO study mailing list and/or the internet forum then please contact: Rachel Hayman, INTRAC and Susannah Pickering-Saqqa

Rachel Hayman (INTRAC) Susannah Pickering Saqqa (University of East London)
01865 263 044