One of the world's leading centres for development education, global learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
Director: Professor Douglas Bourn
The Development Education Research Centre (DERC) acts as the hub for knowledge generation, new thinking, quality output and teaching on development education, global learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
DERC was launched in November 2006 with funding and support from the UK Department for International Development. We draw funding from a number of different sources including the European Commission, UK government and a range of non-governmental organisations.
The centre acts as the hub of knowledge development on development education and related themes for policy-makers and practitioners internationally.
What is development education?
Development education is an approach to learning about global and development issues through recognising the importance of linking people's lives throughout the world. It is also based on an understanding of the importance of critical thinking, the need to challenge stereotypes and to give people the skills and confidence to support change towards a more just and sustainable world.
Social justice underpins its pedagogical approaches. Development education is often used alongside terms such as global learning, global citizenship education and global education. It also intersects with education for sustainable development, climate change and climate justice education, peace education, human rights education, anti-racist education and related approaches.
- Promote the value of development education, global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development as part of the essential learning in the twenty-first century.
- Promote and encourage critical reflective engagement with the meaning and effectiveness of development education and related areas by the educational community in the UK and internationally.
- Develop an international community of researchers engaged in development education, global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development.
- Develop a body of evidence through a series of published monographs, academic articles and seminars on the contribution that development education practice can make in building understanding of international development and global issues.
- Develop and embed development education, global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development principles and practices across teacher training and other educational courses/initiatives within IOE, and in turn to other similar institutions.
- Our staff
- Professor Douglas Bourn
Senior Research Officer
- Dr Frances Hunt
Study with us
Our centre staff coordinates and runs a Master's programme which introduces students to a range of perspectives and approaches to global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development:
Doctoral students in the centre have undertaken research on global issues and approaches covering a range of countries such as India, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, South Korea, UAE, Greece, China and Japan as well as the UK.
DERC is always interested in hearing from prospective doctoral students particularly in the following areas:
- Impact of global learning within formal education
- Contribution and role of policy-makers and practitioners to building awareness and understanding of international development and global issues in UK and elsewhere in the world
- How universities and colleges are interpreting global perspectives and internationalisation within their policies and practices
- Pedagogical approaches to delivering global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development around the world.
We are offering two three-week short courses that can work as continuing professional development (CPD) for educators or as an introduction for those interested in further study:
The courses are hosted by FutureLearn and run by DERC.
We are engaged in a range of research projects and programmes related to development education, global learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship education in primary, secondary, further and higher education, as well as in informal education programmes.
Key areas of research
- Policy and practice in development education and global learning
- The theory and pedagogy of global learning
- Global perspectives and global citizenship within higher education
- Young people as global citizens
- Education for sustainable development and climate justice education
- Global learning for teachers and trainee teachers
- Global learning practices within schools
- Policy and practice of global learning in Europe
- Monitoring and evaluation of global learning and development education implementation projects
- Volunteering and global citizenship
DERC research projects and programmes
- Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL) (EU / GENE, 2017 to ongoing)
- Global Education for Teachers massive open online course (UCL, 2020 to ongoing)
- Connecting Classrooms Through Global Learning (British Council, 2020 to 2021)
- Study Abroad and Student Mobility: Stories of Global Citizenship (UCL, 2018 to 2019)
- Global Learning Programme in England (DFID, 2013 to 2018)
- Schools for Future Youth (SFYouth) (EU Erasmus+, 2014 to 2017)
- Student Volunteering and Global Citizenship at UCL (UCL, 2015 to 2016)
- Medical Students as Global Citizens: Transforming learning about global health within the undergraduate medical curriculum (UCL, 2014 to 2015)
- Makutano Junction: A Multi-media approach to effective development education (EuropeAid, 2013 to 2015)
- International School Partnerships (DFID, 2011 to 2012)
- Global Learning for Global Colleges (DFID, 2009 to 2012)
- Global Dimension in Initial Teacher Education (DFID, 2009 to 2012)
- Students as Global Citizens (DFID, 2009 to 2012)
- Learning and skills for a global economy (PDF) (LSIS, 2009 to 2010)
- Returned Volunteers Engagement with Development (VSO, 2009 to 2010).
DERC is involved in a broad selection of different projects and initiatives related to Global Education and Learning. Our Annual Report offers a good introduction to the Centre’s recent work.
We have been commissioned by a range of organisations including NGOs, schools, government bodies and international institutions, to carry out consultancy inputs. These include activities such as monitoring and evaluation, training and train-the-trainer workshops, literature reviews and report writing.
Current and recent consultancy projects
- Global Schools: EYD 2015 to embed global learning in primary education (EC, 2015-8)
- Advice for Pearson PLC on Global Citizenship resources (Pearson, PLC, 2016)
- Primary Education for Global Learning and Sustainability (PDF), Commissioned Paper (Cambridge Primary Review Trust, 2015-6)
- Education, Climate and Environment, Commissioned Topic Guide (DFID, 2015)
- Connecting Classrooms Training the Trainer and Evaluation (British Council, 2012-2015)
- Global Dimension to Engineering Education (Engineers Without Borders, 2014)
- Evaluating Partnerships in Development (Link Community Development, 2009-2012)
- Final Project Evaluation: Gyaan Yatra (Asian Foundation for Philanthropy, 2012-3)
- Open Sustainability in Education Research (OSIER) (HEA-JISC, 2010-2012).
Members of the centre's team also regularly contribute via keynote addresses, seminar presentations or running of workshops for projects and activities. These have included:
- British Council
- JICA in Japan
- Suas-Educational Development in Ireland
- Global Schools Project in Sweden
- Global Education Network Europe
- Finland Education Research Association
- European Education Research Association
- British Education Research Association.
- International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning
An internationally refereed journal that showcases research and current debates on development education, as well as related concepts such as global learning, global education, and global citizenship.
The journal was founded by DERC and is edited by our Associate Director, Dr Clare Bentall. It is now fully open access, including all back issues.
- Seminar series
DERC runs an ongoing seminar series as part of its mission to provide learning and networking opportunities for professionals and students of development education, global learning, global citizenship and education for sustainable development.
Events are held either online or around the Bloomsbury campus, and are free and open to staff, students, alumni and the public. All are welcome to attend. Many of the events are filmed and made available on the event pages.
The centre aims to run regular events to provide learning and networking opportunities for professionals and students of development education, global learning and global citizenship. This includes an annual conference, regular topical seminars and workshops. We can also help facilitate and promote events run by partner organisations.
See our forthcoming events
Our popular annual conferences offer great opportunities to find out about recent developments, projects and publications in the field, as well as presenting a valuable opportunity for attendees to meet like-minded researchers and generally connect with their peers in an inspirational way.
Our conferences have included:
- Research, evidence and policy learning for global education (May 2017) - downloadable resources and presentations, as well as videos of plenary sessions
- ANGEL Conference (May 2019) - an academic conference for those working in, or with an interest in, Global Education research. Also functioning as a gathering for members of the Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL).
Research papers, journal articles and presentations:
We produce videos of many of our activities, such as seminar series, conference and project-specific presentations:
Videos of the Academic Network on Global Education and Learning (ANGEL) project:
Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL)
- ANGEL and Global Education Digest
In recent years, the debate on global education and learning has gained momentum in the international and European educational and political spheres, becoming prominent in government, civil society, academic and educational discourses. In this context ANGEL aims at forging a European community of researchers and scholars in the field of global education, who, despite the existing important cooperation and personal links, do not benefit from a structural framework of support across Europe.
This network, launched in late 2017, also aims to form a pool of experts which can become a resource for policymakers in search of strong research grounding for policy development, and to establish a network among early stage researchers, Doctoral students and Post-Doctoral researchers, who are currently engaged in research in fields related to global education.
ANGEL produce publications, run events, and distribute news to their membership through the project website.
As of 2021, the network has more than 600 members in more than 75 countries.
Global Education Digest
A key output is the Global Education Digest, a reasoned bibliography of academic and research materials relevant to the field of global education.
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Archives and collections
The Development Education Research Centre has a huge collection of material that relates to Global Education and Learning research and practice, as well as to older, foundational approaches and disciplines that laid the groundwork for the establishment of Global Learning as a discrete approach. Students and researchers working in this area are welcome to get in touch with the team with queries about publications.
- Think Global archive
DERC holds an important archive from the Non-Governmental Organisation Think Global, which was the umbrella networking organisation for organisations engaged with development education, global learning and global citizenship education in England.
The archive is comprised of two parts:
- A large physical library of publications that has been catalogued and is now available in the IOE library
- A library of more than 500 digital publications that once resided in a searchable library on the Think Global website. These publications are being uploaded to an IOE repository and an index will be made available on this webpage in late 2023.
The digital library is the most comprehensive and is of course searchable and organised with metadata. However, you are likely to be able to find physical copies of much of what is seen in the digital library in the IOE library.
Think Global were formed in 1993 as the Development Education Association (DEA) and changed their name in 2008 to Think Global. The organisation produced some excellent resources for schools, youth organisations, higher education institutions, and adult educators. They also produced some important policy and research materials that were used by its members and in the lobbying of UK government. They played a leading role in the development and application of the term ‘global learning’ for teachers and schools. From 2008 onwards, until their closure in 2019, their main focus was on supporting teachers and schools. They were one of the partners in the Global Learning Programme, which also involved DERC in a separate capacity.