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Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.

The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001 within the Department of Development Sociology, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Development Sociology, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration, but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Banner image courtesy of David Sasaki on Flickr.

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Video - Parfait Eloundou on the 'Future of Development' Symposium

May 1, 2018

This symposium is the first in a new series of events, led by the Polson Institute, that will explore topics that define the 'Future of Development'. By bringing critical voices into dialogue with practitioners and policy-makers, the series is creating opportunities to think through the social and political challenges that influence the effectiveness and fairness of global development. Read more

Blog - The Social Side of Cold, Hard, Data

May 1, 2018

By Jaron Porciello
Nearly a decade ago I worked with group of graduate students in west Africa who were collecting daily soil samples. The small research field, overcrowded with curled and drooping maize, was far enough from their research lab and classrooms that the students drove to from the lab to the field in a shared institutional car.... Read more