Overseas Development Institute
Formation1960 (64 years ago) (1960)
TypeThink tank
Headquarters203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ
  • London, United Kingdom
Chief Executive
Sara Pantuliano

ODI, formerly the Overseas Development Institute,[1] is a global affairs think tank, founded in 1960. Its mission is "to inspire people to act on injustice and inequality through collaborative research and ideas that matter for people and the planet." It does this through "research, convening and influencing, to lead new thinking and future agendas to deliver transformational change."[2] Its chair is Suma Chakrabarti.


In 1960 ODI began in small premises in Regent's Park, central London and operated a library devoted to international development issues as well as performing consultancy work and contracts with the Department for International Development (then known as the Overseas Development Agency) of the UK government.[3] Since then it has moved several times and is as of 2019 on Blackfriars Road.[4]

Since 2004 it has had a Partnership Programme Arrangement with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.[5] The institute also developed a strong focus on communications and 'bridging research and policy'.[6]

In 2007 the ODI was named 'Think Tank of the Year' by Public Affairs News magazine.[7] It was named 'Think-tank to Watch' in the Prospect 'Think-tank of the Year' awards in 2005 and is considered to be in international policy circles to be one of the world's leading think tanks on development.[8]

It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010, with guests including former ODI Fellow and UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable.[9][10]


As of 2014 ODI had more than 230 staff.[11] The Chief Executive is Sara Pantuliano. Alex Thier was ODI Executive Director 2017 – 2019. From 2013 until 2016 it was directed by Kevin Watkins who took over from Dr Alison Evans, formerly of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University.[12] ODI does not engage in teaching.

As of 2021, ODI conducts research and convening in the following global affairs areas:[13]

Event series and publications

ODI hosts regular event series with conferences and panels discussing a wide range of development issues. Speakers include ODI staff,[14] visiting development policymakers,[15] DFID officials [16] and other prominent figures such as Justin Yifu Lin, the former World Bank Chief Economist,[17] Julia Gillard, the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, and David Miliband, chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee.

In 2020 ODI published 235 papers, research reports, briefings, case studies and analysis.

ODI has two academic journals, Development Policy Review and Disasters.


ODI runs a fellowship scheme, which sends young postgraduate economists of all nationalities to work in the public sectors of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific on two-year contracts. Since 1963 ODI has sent over 1000 postgraduate economists to work in 40 mostly low-income countries. Participants were initially known as Overseas Development Institute Nuffield Fellows (ODINs) and later titled as ODI Fellows.[18]


As a registered charity, ODI's income relies on "grants and donations from foundations, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, governments, multilateral agencies and academia".


David Steven of Global Dashboard criticized the ODI for not making the distinction between subsidy and having a lower VAT rate on fuel comparison to other goods.[19]

Selected publications

See also


  1. ^ "ODI Annual Report and Accounts 2020–2021" (PDF). ODI. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Organisational information – About us – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  3. ^ "at 50 – About ODI – Overseas Development Institute". ODI. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Contact details and directions – About us – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  5. ^ "Partnership Program Arrangement (PPA) between UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) 2008–2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  6. ^ Maxwell, Simon, and Diane L. Stone, eds. Global knowledge networks and international development. Routledge, 2004.
  7. ^ publicaffairsnews.com
  8. ^ Stone, Diane. "Rapid knowledge: 'Bridging research and policy' at the Overseas Development Institute." Public Administration and Development 29, no. 4 (2009): 303–315.
  9. ^ "Advancing knowledge, shaping policy, inspiring practice: ODI at 50". ODI. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Vince Cable MP at ODI's 50th Anniversary". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  11. ^ "About ODI – Overseas Development Institute". ODI. n.d. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Kevin Watkins appointed new Executive Director of ODI". ODI. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Our work". ODI. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Governance for development in Africa: building on what works – Events – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Multilateral Development Banks' Capital Adequacy Frameworks: options for reform? – Events – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  16. ^ "DFID at 20: what have we learned, and where next? – Events – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  17. ^ "The role of industrial policy in development (video) – Events – ODI". ODI. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  18. ^ "ODI Fellowship Scheme". ODI. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  19. ^ "ODI calls for VAT hike on energy bills (updated: ODI fights back)". Global Dashboard. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  20. ^ Robillard, Sabina; Atim, Teddy; Maxwell, Daniel (December 2021). "Localization: A "Landscape" Report" (PDF). Tufts University.