DSAI Activities

Through our core work DSA Ireland builds research capacity in the development studies constituency in Ireland and supports a vibrant, dynamic community of researchers, practitioners and policy makers who are committed to change for the most vulnerable in low- and middle-income countries. Our main activities are key vehicles for us to:

  • support cohesion and capacity-building in the development studies sector;

  • promote strategic alliances and partnerships to grow the development studies sector;

  • harness research which supports and promotes coherent evidence- based development policy and practice aimed at the reduction of global poverty, the enhancement of all forms of equality and respect for human rights.

Core Activities

DSAI Annual Conference

Held in October or November each year over two days, the DSAI Annual Conference is a key event in the calendar for researchers, policy makers and practitioners across the sector. Each year, our Steering Committee picks a Conference Theme of current relevance to the international development community in Ireland and secures high calibre keynote speakers and panel discussions to explore the theme. Through an open call for papers, our study groups also facilitate further breakout sessions on their themes. It is also a time for our members to connect with us through our AGM. Each year at our conference we announce the winner of that year’s Robert Chambers Award and Best Student Paper Competition.

DSAI Summer School

The DSAI Summer School provides a focussed 2-day programme of workshops focussed on Research Methods for Development, engaging NGOs, Policy Makers, and Academics both as contributors to the programme and as participants. The Summer School is often hosted in a regional location; in 2019 by University College Cork and it will be hosted in 2020 by NUI Galway.

Study Groups

Throughout the year the DSAI Study Groups run a number of events and seminars and support the publication of policy-briefings, discussion documents and recommendations for research, policy and practice.

DSAI Working Paper Series

DSAI’s working paper series publishes high quality research papers across the broad field of development studies. Working Papers constitute work-in-progress publications. They are published to bring about discussion, contribute to the advancement of knowledge, and to inform the conceptual and empirical basis for policy-making. They are also an important mechanism and opportunity for researchers to have work in progress peer reviewed by experts in the field before submission to journals. Subject to budget, accepted paper authors also receive an honorarium.


To celebrate the contribution of Professor Robert Chambers to innovation and research for empowerment and sustainable development in the field of development studies, DSA Ireland established the Robert Chambers Award. The award with a value of €300 is given annually to the most innovative paper demonstrating potential to make a significant contribution to strengthening just and sustainable development for the world’s poor.

The DSAI are also committed to recognising the work of outstanding student researchers. Each year the association makes a best Student Paper award, with the same value.