About the Development Policy Centre

The Development Policy Centre (Devpol) is a think tank for aid and development serving Australia, the region, and the global development community. We undertake independent research and promote practical initiatives to improve the effectiveness of Australian aid, to support the development of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island region, and to contribute to better global development policy.

We were established in September 2010 and are based at Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University.

We are currently a team of about 20 full-time equivalent researchers and program staff. Devpol is also the hub of a large network of Associates, and home to several PhD students and interns.

Several large projects support our broader research agenda. You can learn more about these projects below:

We share our research through a variety of platforms, including:

To learn more about the centre, read our annual letters and reports which are located on the Devpolicy Blog site.

Devpol’s work is supported through funding from various organisations.

Harold Mitchell AC announced a donation from the Harold Mitchell Foundation to the Centre of $2.5 million over five years in November 2012, which has supported the centre’s core functions, enabled it to develop its research programs and outreach work, and to run initiatives such as the annual Mitchell Oration and Mitchell Humanitarian Award (2017-202). The support of the Harold Mitchell Foundation has been crucial to the centre’s growth.

Funding from the Harold Mitchell Foundation has been matched by a mix of cash and in-kind funding from The Australian National University and Crawford School of Public Policy.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided support since 2014 for us to continue our research into Australian and New Zealand aid.

We receive funding from the Australian aid program in support of our work on PNG in partnership with University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).

We also receive funding from the Australian aid program through the Pacific Research Program for research relating to economic development in the Pacific, including our work on Pacific migration.

We acknowledge current and past funding and support from The Asia Foundation, The Asian Development Bank, the UPNG and the University of the South Pacific direct to the various conferences we co-organise.

An anonymous donor provides funding to support our PNG and Pacific Greg Taylor Scholars.

We are thankful to all our individual donors and gratefully accept donations from the public.

Financial statements are published as part of our annual reports/letters.

“Your expertise and collaborative engagement are a cornerstone for the success of this School, College and The University. Keep up the great work!”

Renée Fry-McKibbin, Professor & Interim Director, Crawford School of Public Policy, August 2022

“Let me say thanks to the whole team who pulls together the Devpolicy blogs – they are a big resource for our sector and get regular reading/sharing in my circles.”

Matthew Maury, CEO Tearfund Australia, Chair Emergency Action Alliance, Deputy President of the ACFID Board, 2022

“The invaluable Devpolicy Blog (from the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University) has gathered the figures…”

Graeme Dobell, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2022

“I was struck by the number of Papua New Guineans who spoke to me of their experience with ANU, either as students, undergraduates and post-graduates, through ANU-University of Papua New Guinea partnerships, like the one between the Crawford School and University of PNG School of Business and Public Policy. They spoke of academic exchanges and scholarships, but so many of them said to me that their link, their connection with ANU changed their lives for the better.”

Julie Bishop, ANU Chancellor and Australia’s former Foreign Minister, 2022 (Read more about the ANU-UPNG partnership, and the Development Policy Centre’s role in it.)

“The Development Policy Centre does an outstanding job bringing together researchers – and a wide range of stakeholders – from across Australia, the Pacific, Asia and beyond.”

Frances Adamson, former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australasian AID Conference, 2019

“Since its establishment, the Development Policy Centre at the ANU has become the preeminent research centre for aid and for development in the Asia-Pacific region, and in its first five years of existence the Centre has done some outstanding work, and I congratulate all of those who have been around to help provide support and [are] active in the Centre.”

Professor Brian Schmidt AC, Vice-Chancellor, ANU, 2015

“[Y]ou keep us on our toes, you do very good work at the Centre.”

Peter Varghese AO, former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015

“[T]he research, the publications, the regular blog produced by the Development Policy Centre have become must reads for anyone interested in the current state and emerging trends in international development.”

Gordon Hein, Senior Vice-President of Programs, The Asia Foundation, 2014

“While at the World Bank I came to appreciate the contributions that the Centre and similar organisations can make in facing the challenges of development. When I was in charge of World Bank operational policy I interacted a great deal with Nancy Birdsall’s Center for Global Development in Washington, and as Regional Vice President for East Asia a similar relationship emerged with the Development Policy Centre. In my experience, these centres play a key role in fostering public engagement on development issues, thereby ensuring improved public understanding of and support for development aid. Second, their separation from traditional donor resources allows them to be an objective, if not always appreciated, source of analysis or criticism of official aid. Finally, they are often in a much better position than traditional aid agencies to foster innovative thinking on aid. I also want to acknowledge the commitment that Harold Mitchell has made to the Development Policy Centre. Having a secure private source of funds helps ensure the independence of the Centre, allowing it the flexibility to take on difficult issues.”

Jim Adams, former World Bank Vice President for East Asia, 2013

“We very proudly fund the Development Policy Centre… We’ve been absolutely delighted to work with Stephen and his team and this first [Australian aid] stakeholder survey is a good example of why. One of the reasons Harold [Mitchell] wanted to fund the Development Policy Centre was because in terms of transparency in the aid program, he saw the importance of independence… I certainly believe that is required now more than ever, and what we have gleaned from this particular exercise will be absolutely critical in looking at how the aid program moves forward in a very uncertain time that is full of risk, but also many opportunities.”

Stephanie Copus-Campbell, former Executive Director, Harold Mitchell Foundation, 2013

“I welcome the donation that Mr Mitchell is doing to institutions like Crawford because one of our biggest challenges is changing the mindset of our own development partners and the only way to do it is for people to actually reflect and think of what has happened before.”

Emilia Pires, former Finance Minister of Timor-Leste, 2012

“The Centre is generating expertise, knowledge and new ideas on aid and development policy. The University is committed to enhancing public policy and the Centre is making an important contribution to achieving this objective.”

Ian Young, former Vice-Chancellor, ANU, 2012

“The work the Development Policy Centre is doing is literally changing lives. I am enormously proud of the work that you have done to date and very much looking forward to the work you will do in the future.”

Andrew Leigh, MP for Fraser, 2012

“By providing a forum for discussion of aid policy and development effectiveness, the Development Policy Centre has filled an critical gap in Australia. As both private giving to overseas development and Official Development Assistance increase, the Centre is helping to create informed debate about the impact this spending is having. The Centre is supporting a flow of ideas between government, the private sector and NGOs on development, particularly in PNG and the Pacific.”

Julia Newton-Howes, CEO, CARE Australia, 2012

“I think the Development Policy Centre has really carved out the leading role in this country in terms of fostering and stimulating debate on development issues. For AusAID that is particularly important because, as you know, we are in the fortunate position of managing what is really unprecedented growth in the Australian aid program … It’s really critical to underpin that growth with a well-informed public debate about what we are doing with the funds that are being provided to us…”

Peter Baxter, former Director General, AusAID, 2012

“I think that the work that the Development Policy Centre is doing on the Pacific is simply superb. I’m a regular user of the blog, which I find very, very informative.”

Vivek Suri, Economic Adviser, Operations Policy and Country Services, World Bank, 2012

“I think that the Development Policy Centre is set to make a huge contribution to aid policy debates, both at home and abroad. I don’t just see it as an asset for big institutions such as AusAID, but a boon for everyone in the development field in the world.”

Harold Mitchell AC, founder of the Harold Mitchell Foundation, 2012

“I commend you for the extraordinary list of things that you have done in your first year. It really is quite remarkable.”

Simon McKeon AO, 2011 Australian of the Year and Chancellor, Monash University, 2011

Published on Nov 21, 2012
Professor Stephen Howes discusses the work of the Development Policy Centre in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and how a generous donation from the Harold Mitchell Foundation will help ensure Australian aid best helps developing countries in need.

Published on Nov 21, 2012
In this press conference, Founder of the Harold Mitchell Foundation, Harold Mitchell AC, explains why he has donated A$2.5 million to the Development Policy at ANU and how private interests and research can work to advance development across the globe.

Updated:  16 June 2024/Responsible Officer:  Devpolicy Admin/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team