Our History

The Research for Development Impact Network (RDI Network) began in 2009 as a Committee of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), facilitating partnerships and collaboration between ACFID Member NGOs and Australian universities. It has formerly been known as the Universities Linkages Network, and as the ACFID University Network. It has grown steadily since that time, and now reaches over 2,400 individuals around Australia and beyond.

You can download a timeline of the RDI Network’s history from 2006 to 2018 here [PDF].

Blair Exell, Juliet Willetts, Marc Purcell and Jo Crawford at RDI Network launch, Feb 2016

A key contribution of the Network to the international development sector in Australia to date has been a series of cross-sector conferences, hosted in partnership with different universities around Australia.

These conferences have advanced the profile of research produced by academics and practitioners in Australia, and have produced a series of peer reviewed volumes of the Development Bulletin.

Between 2012 and 2015 the Network undertook a major project to engage a sector-wide consultation process to produce the Principles and Guidelines for Ethical Research and Evaluation. This resource continues to be distributed and utilised by researchers working for NGOs and research institutions working around the world.

In February 2016, the Network launched with a new brand under its current name, continuing to work in close partnership with ACFID towards a renewed series of objectives, with the support of the Australian Government through the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In 2018, the Network completed a review of its work program. If you would like to see the full report, please contact us.

In 2023 the RDI Network became a registered not-for-profit public company, with a new governance structure of a Board of Directors and Committee members to provide strategic guidance and leadership of the network. The new company structure offers an exciting time for the network to demonstrate, champion, advocate strengthened uptake and use of evidence in policy and practice.