Investigating the nationalist-turn in UK development policy through academic-practitioner collaboration

Project Details


This project, which is funded by the Reid Research Fund, Royal Holloway University, will advance our understanding of the nationalist turn in UK policy by bringing together academics, policy makers, and practitioners. Our research has examined and challenged the shift in UK aid policy away from a needs-based approach with a focus on poverty reduction towards a national-interest based model. More specifically, we have documented how the conceptualisation and implementation of UK development assistance shifted from a security paradigm in the 1990s/early 2000s – i.e., aid distributed in an attempt to mitigate the perceived risks posed to the UK by immigration, organised crime or terrorism – to an even more nationally-oriented paradigm, where aid provision is motivated by narrowly-defined foreign policy goals (primarily business interests) and domestic party-political goals. Whilst other research supports our conclusions, it is not yet clear to what extent this nationalist turn is limited to the development sector in the UK or is a more pervasive trend affecting other sectors and other donors.

Our proposed project aims to firstly extend our understanding of this policy trend in the national and international contexts and secondly to collaborate with policymakers and practitioners to enhance the impact of our work. Through the project, we hope to build a new stakeholder network to develop a better understanding of the nationalist turn underpinning current development policy and its implications for development policy and practice and beyond.
Effective start/end date1/02/231/02/24

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty