This scoping event took place on 7 March 2016.

However, please keep an eye on the Joint Fund page for further consultation opportunities and announcements linked to this call, follow the unfolding debate on Twitter using #devfrontiers, and join our mailing list by emailing frontiers@esrc.ac.uk


The global challenges of addressing growth and prosperity while simultaneously ensuring we tackle extreme poverty, leave no one behind, and deal with environmental sustainability are immense. There will inevitably be both winners and losers, with great potential for conflict of different kinds, and great need for sensitive policy design.

Securing meaningful sustainable development for all will need things to be done differently. Research has a critical role to play in breaking down existing ways of thinking about sustainability, development and conflict/fragility, and reformulating them in ways that could prove transformative. This will require approaches that transcend traditional boundaries - geographic, disciplinary, and methodological - as well as strong new alliances that bridge the research/practice divide. Such research may be higher risk but also have potential to radically change thinking and action.

On 7 March 2016 the ESRC and DFID hosted a workshop at The Royal Society in central London to help scope an exciting new £2.5 million research call focused on the intersections between sustainability, poverty and conflict/fragility. Part of ESRC-DFID’s Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research, this new call will fund innovative, strategic and catalytic research that offers new ways to tackle the challenges posed by these intersections head-on.

Simon Maxwell (CBE), former director of ODI and former president of the Development Studies Association, is the call director and hosted this collaborative event. Keynote speakers including Nick Mabey (E3G), Johan Schot (University of Sussex) and Frances Stewart (University of Oxford) addressed the transformational challenge of climate change for sustainable development, how conflict and fragility intersect with this, and how innovation in research can be fostered and translated into policy.