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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Cambridge Global Challenges currently has three strategic themes around which we prioritise our activities


Climate Adaptation

Climate change represents the greatest existential threat to the future of humanity, destabilising ecosystems, economies and peace on a global scale - effecting progress on all the SDGs. Whether commitments to limit emissions made in the Paris Agreement are met, halting climate change is no longer possible. Global temperatures have increased by 1°C and seem set to continue rising and, whilst me must urgently increase efforts to mitigate further increases in global temperature, we must also adapt to what is now happening.

Despite the Global North being responsible for the majority of emissions, it is the Global South which is most impacted by climate change. As such, it is a priority to help Global South countries adapt to the severe effects of climate change and also to facilitate South-South & South-North knowledge exchange regarding successful techniques for adapting to the challenges of climate change.


The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global health emergency has resulted in a significant impact on progress toward the SDGs, halting or reversing existing gains in multiple areas including education, youth employment and gender equality. It is important that to take a global approach toward understanding the impact of COVID-19 and the ways in which it can be addressed in order to minimise its detrimental impacts on the SDGs and that of future pandemics. Nations in the Global South have frequently adopted innovative and effective interventions to deal with the pandemic, but it remains vital to investigate how Northern institutions can facilitate further progress and learn from the South in order to progress the SDGs.

Youth and Work

The World Bank estimates that 1 billion young people will enter the labour market in the next 10 years and only 40% of them are likely to find formal employment. Nine in ten of the 1.8 billion young people around the globe live in low and lower middle income countries, many of whom are in insecure, low-paid work or without jobs. Lack of access to education, particularly for the poorest households poses significant barriers to accessing secure, meaningful work. COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues, particularly with regard to educational access and skill development, having a particular impact on young women.

Addressing these issues is enshrined in the SDGs and providing agency to young people, particularly in LIMC countries, is key to creating a generation of transformative leaders who will continue to drive progress on the SDGs.

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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Register to Cambridge Global Challenges and to the IRC's mailing list here.


Learn about the support we provide 

Learn how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research here.


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