Tag: development research

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Research Fellow – EU policy engagement, geopolitics and Agenda 2030

Work, business, meeting

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is recruiting for a Research Fellow – EU policy engagement, geopolitics and Agenda 2030 with a passion for policy in the context of environment, climate change, geopolitics, Agenda 2030 and sustainability transitions. There may be more than one vacancy available as we will also consider applications from suitably qualified Senior Fellow candidates.


23 November 2022.


Full-time, permanent position in Stockholm, Sweden. The starting date is as soon as possible.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • Lead SEI’s engagement with the Swedish Government on EU-related policy issues and their implementation in Sweden and other EU member states
  • Convene researchers and practitioners on critical issues for EU policy, drawing from the diverse portfolio of SEI projects and initiatives
  • Lead development of a conference programme, engaging with partners, funders and speakers, and provide guidance to communications officers and event coordinators
  • Conduct research and provide expert advice on EU policy and relevant multilateral processes
  • Conduct research and analysis on strategic foresight and emerging technologies, develop and calibrate tools related to Sustainable Development Goals and lead data collection
  • Lead production of research syntheses, including report and paper writing
  • Facilitate scenario workshops and stakeholder engagement
  • Represent SEI as a spokesperson in public debates on areas of research and policy expertise
  • Contribute to the development, fundraising and delivery of the Global Goals and System team’s project portfolio of research and engagement work
  • Manage projects in line with SEI’s project model with colleagues at SEI and other partner organizations
  • Engage in relevant policy networks within Sweden, Europe and internationally, including with both private and public actors.

About SEI

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an international research and policy organization that tackles environment and development challenges. We connect science and decision-making to develop solutions for a sustainable future for all. Across our eight centres in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, we engage with policy processes, development action and business practice throughout the world.

Why are some countries rich while others remain poor? 

Göran Holmqvist, Director at the Department for Asia, Middle East and Humanitarian Assistance at Sida, reviews Stefan Dercon’s “Gambling on Development Why Some Countries Win and Others Lose,” a potential bestseller among the classic books on development economics. This is the English summary of the original review published in the Swedish journal Ekonomisk Debatt 6/2022 (årgång 50).

Countries should invest in growth-oriented development 

In his book, Stefan Dercon, Professor at Oxford University and former Chief Economist of the British development aid agency, answers the question of why some countries win and others lose in development. His main thesis is that the countries’ elite must put aside their short-term, conflicting interests and instead “invest” in growth-oriented development (gambling on development). According to Holmqvist, Dercon nevertheless seems to ignore the role of civil society and other actors in the institution building process by acting as a counterforce to elite dominance. 

Dercon rejects the idea that a particular policy prescription is the success factor for countries. The differences in areas such as the degree of state involvement, governance, transparency, openness to the outside world and natural resource management are too great. However, common characteristics of successful countries are that states can act with credibility, adapt their roles to their capabilities and being able correct the course when initiatives fail.

What about development aid? 

Holmqvist writes that Dercon advocates an aid strategy à la Warren Buffet, the super-investor who invests in good management in businesses with long-term stability, rather than spectacular and short-term, growth potential. This means investing in countries with an emerging elite bargain on development, which in the past decade have been countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia (at least until recently), Bangladesh and perhaps Ghana. Despite the corruption and political oppression you may find in these countries, donors should not be over-alarmed but rather focus on long-term economic and social progress.  

Aid is also needed in countries that fail to get ahead, countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Afghanistan, where elites have acted according to short-term interests and the state has degenerated into an instrument of self-enrichment. In these countries, humanitarian needs are often the greatest. However, expectations on results should be low, and the approach should be cautious in order to facilitate future pro-development arrangements between elites. 

Dercon’s recommendations fit rather poorly with the orientation of Swedish aid, Holmqvist argues. Swedish aid have a strong focus on fragile countries with weak institutions and it has often demonstrated a high degree of sensitivity to even temporary, democratic setbacks when it comes to state-to-state assistance.

Civil society, citizens and counterforces to an elite-dominated state feature conspicuously little in Dercon’s country analyses and recommendations, although the implications it has for the more informed political economy analysis Dercon calls for. In this aspect Dercon is clearly at odds with another institutionally oriented economist – Daron Acemoglu (author of Why Nations Fail and of The Narrow Corridor) – whose analysis point at the crucial role such counterforces have in the shaping of development friendly institutions.  

SweDev hosted a dialogue with Dercon on 8 June this year. He held a keynote and presented main findings from his book and gave further insights.

News translation by Roksana Rotter, SweDev. Edited by Göran Holmqvist, Director at the Department for Asia, Middle East and Humanitarian Assistance at Sida and Ylva Rylander, Communications Officer for SweDev at SEI.

Comment on the development research overview

Women carrying firewood in Sierra Leone.

Now, there is an opportunity to comment on the preliminary version of the overview for development research crafted by the Swedish Research Council’s Committee for Development Research. Comments should be submitted latest 12 October 2022.

“This is a great opportunity for organizations, universities and SweDev members to give their viewpoints and influence the future of development research.”

Fredrik Söderbaum, Chair of SweDev and Professor of Peace Development Research at the University of Gothenburg.

The Swedish Research Council’s Committee for Development Research supports research of the highest scientific quality within its area of research. The Committee has nine members who represent research areas of relevance to low-income countries and lower middle-income countries.

“The SweDev Executive Committee and the Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University and the President of Karolinska Institutet have provided four concrete solutions on how to increase collaboration between researchers and decision-makers in development policymaking,” Fredrik Söderbaum added.

Comments to the Swedish Research Council

All comments received by the Swedish Research Council are recorded in a diary and become public documents. Please send your comments by email to no later than 12 October.

SweDev network partners 

SweDev partners with organizations, agencies, and institutions in Sweden and globally for greater collaboration and reach. Our partners become a part of our network and share SweDev’s aim to increase researcher collaboration and research-based knowledge for efficient policymaking and practice. 

We encourage different types of collaborations with our partners such as co-arranging seminars, sharing news and reports, or writing blog posts for our website. The collaboration will give our partner organizations increased visibility through the SweDev network.   

Join SweDev as a partner

Welcome to explore our website, the SweDev community and contact us at if your organization wants to become a partner. 

What is development studies?

Our partners EADI recently published a paper titled What is Development Studies? The paper argues that development studies is, despite some understanding of its meaning, also contains different approaches. The paper seeks to highlight these differentiations and to understand both commonalities and differences. Read a blog post by author Andy Sumner, Professor of Development Studies at King’s College London, below.

“Development Studies is an established area of scholarly enquiry, which implies some consensus over what the study of development entails. Does such a consensus exist?”

The Debate Revisited

“Although there is some common understanding on Development Studies being about ‘development’ and inter-disciplinary as well as normative in orientation, there is a set of quite different approaches to Development Studies is or what Development Studies should be. 

There are several waves of literature since the end of the Cold War on the question of the identity of Development Studies.”

So what?

“Yet, there is more unpacking to do. Each approach has been outlined in crude aggregate. Furthermore, each approach encompasses various sub-approaches; and different disciplines, methodologies, and ways of knowing are dominant in each. There is also a need to lay bare the uneven power bases and outlets in which any conversations might happen. In short, to fully understand the different approaches to Development Studies, there is a need to comprehend the institutional basis of each in departments and journals. Both the latter are typically based in the North, albeit with increasing diversity on editorial teams and boards. 

Specifically, there is a set of questions to probe further to understand the politics of knowledge generation in Development Studies, such as: Where is each approach anchored in terms of countries, research institutes/university departments, and research funders? Where do researchers in each approach publish in terms of journals, working paper series, and books? Lastly, are those publications in Development Studies or in the researchers’ ‘home’ disciplines? 

Exploring these further would be a useful next step to developing a conversation.”

This text was first published by Andy Sumner at EADI blog.

Four development research funding calls by the Swedish Research Council

The Swedish Research Council has launched four new and open calls related to development and development research.

The Swedish Research Council is Sweden’s largest governmental research funding body and supports research of the highest quality within all scientific fields. Every year, we pay out almost 7 billion SEK to support Swedish research.

Research project grant within development research

The purpose of the Research project grants in development research is to give researchers the freedom to formulate their own research idea, method and implementation, and to solve a specific research task within a limited period. Project grants in development research are funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low-income countries.

Grant period: 4 years
Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK and maximum 1 500 000 SEK per year, however, a total maximum of 4 500 000 SEK if the application is for 4 years.

Starting grant within development research

The purpose of the grant is to give junior researchers the opportunity to establish themselves as independent researchers in Sweden. The grant is also intended to promote the quality and renewal of Swedish research.
Establishment grants in Development Research are funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low-income countries.

Grant period: 4 years
Grant amount: Minimum 400 000 SEK per year, maximum 1 200 000 SEK per year.

Network grant – Swedish research links

The purpose of the network grant Swedish Research Links is to establish a network around a specific research idea, aimed at a joint research project. The grant shall support the development of long-term joint research between Swedish researchers and researchers from low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries.
The network grant Swedish Research Links is funded by the Government’s 17 funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low income and lower-middle-income countries. Grants are available within all scientific areas.

Grant period: 1 – 2 years
Grant amount: Maximum 400 000 SEK per year.

International postdoc within development research

The purpose of the grant is to give newly qualified researchers with a doctoral degree from a Swedish higher education institution (HEI) the opportunity to expand their networks and their competencies by working abroad under secure employment conditions. The grant is also intended to promote the quality and renewal of Swedish research. International postdoc grants in development research are funded by the Government’s development aid funds, and the research shall be of particular relevance to the fight against poverty and for sustainable development in low-income countries.

Grant period: 18–36 months
Grant amount: 1 150 000 SEK per year.

Consult the guide for applicants and read more about how applications are assessed.

Internship opportunity at SweDev Secretariat hosted by SEI


Are you passionate about development issues? Do you want to gain experience in bridging development research to policy? You should consider applying to FUF’s Internship Program for the 2022 Autumn call.

Job description

The intern should have a great interest in development issues, be motivated and driven by external work and web communication. The intern should be fluent in English. Good knowledge of Swedish is an asset.

The intern will be working directly to support the bridge between development research and policymaking through communication and advocacy. The intern will also be part of monitoring current development issues and identifying opportunities for SweDev to influence the public debate. Main tasks include:

  • Maintain and expand SweDev’s online presence by creating content, articles, blog posts, and editing and updating SweDev’s website
  • Participate in communication and advocacy work
  • Support tasks within SweDev’s education group and research group
  • Monitor trends and issues relevant to SweDev and identify opportunities for SweDev to influence the public debate on development issues
  • Support with administrative tasks in SweDev’s secretariat
  • Participate in the work and coordination of the Development and Aid Policy team at SEI
  • Any other tasks that arise

The Swedish Development Forum (FUF) Internship Program

FUF (Föreningen för Utvecklingsfrågor) provides about 40 internships to our university student members each semester. Within the different internship positions, you can join our network and directly work with SweDev Secretariat being a Communication and Research Intern! We are one of the 9 positions that do not require knowledge of Swedish.

Do not send any application to the SweDev Secretariat. Should you have further questions about the application process, please contact Ronja Bäckström, FUF program manager at .

Do you need any more details about the internship? Feel free to contact our Secretariat or our current intern Alessandro, enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus AFEPA Programme at SLU.