EOI | University Host for Research for Development Impact (RDI) Conference:

Topics Cross-sector partnerships | Networking
Image of university icon with the words 'Expression of Interest: Hosting the 2021 RDI Network Conference'

The Research for Development Impact Network (RDI Network) is calling for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for a University partner to host the Eighth RDI Conference, to be held in mid-2021.

EXTENDED DEADLINE are extending the EOI submission date through until COB Tuesday 23 June


The Research for Development Impact Network (RDI Network) is a network of practitioners, researchers and evaluators – working in international development. The Network has become a key outlet for accessing diverse research expertise, brokering partnerships, convening forums and conferences, as well as supporting ethical research practice among NGOs and academia in Australia. RDI Network is a partner of and hosted by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The  RDI Conference is the biennial flagship event of the RDI Network and is recognised as one of the key events in the Australian development sector calendar. The aim of the RDI Conference is to provide a forum to explore cross-sector and transdisciplinary collaboration, discuss key emerging issues and debates in development, and strengthen development research and practice in our region. Previous Conference themes have included Leadership for Inclusive Development, Evidence and Practice in an Age of Inequality and Development Futures: Alternative Pathways to end Poverty.

For University hosts, the RDI Conference provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate engagement with international development priorities. It offers the chance to increase the visibility of the host institution and its’ research, further building the host’s connections across the development sector into the realms of both policy and practice, and convening hundreds of experts, industry leaders, innovators and implementers in the sharing of ideas and practice.

You can find out more about the RDI Network here.
You can find out more about past RDI Conferences here.

Roles and Responsibilities of the University Host

The University Host, working alongside the RDI Conference Committee, will:

  • lead the strategic direction for the conference, including ensuring at least four representatives of the University sit on the Conference Committee and coordinating the conference committee to solicit abstracts and develop the conference program;
  • provide an accessible and appropriate venue for the conference, conference dinner, and approved side events, including providing a plenary event venue for at least 350-450 people, and a mixture of larger and smaller rooms ideally located within close proximity, as well as quiet separate spaces for prayer and breastfeeding requirements;
  • coordinate conference communications and outreach, including dedicating staff time to drafting relevant communications and outreach before and during the conference, encouraging participation of staff and students within the university, and building and hosting a separate conference website to hold conference information, conference papers, and abstract submissions;
  • provide financial, logistic and budget management support, through provision of a dedicated focal point(s) to monitor and maintain conference budget, pay invoices, receive sponsorship;
  • support volunteer and logistics staff management and recruitment, including those staff responsible for IT, video and filming, conference rapporteuring and ushering; and
  • organise catering for conference events, including ensuring consideration of food allergies and preferences and upholding good practices in terms of sustainability and minimisation of food


Support provided to the University Host

The RDI Network and ACFID will provide the University Host with a range of support, including:

  • start-up funding for the purposes of advancing preliminary planning and organising;
  • conference planning resources and lessons learned from previous conferences, including provision of a handbook outlining the purpose of the conference, the core tasks and processes expected, key milestones, expected roles of conference convenors and accompanying staff, and the process for identifying members and expected contributions from the conference committee; and
  • conference coordination support from the RDI Secretariat and Conference Committee, including identifying speakers, developing the program, sourcing sponsorship, liaising with DFAT and other relevant stakeholders, promoting registration and drafting communications.

The individual and mutual benefits for each partner will also be clearly articulated through an MoU to be established between RDI Network and the host university.


How to submit your EOI: 

If your institution is interested in hosting the RDI Conference 2021, please send a brief expression of interest (maximum 4 pages) by COB 23 June 2020 to Jen Branscombe, RDI Network Officer at [email protected].

Please include in the EOI:

  • why your institution is interested to host;
  • a proposed thematic focus area for the conference, with reference to your institution’s interest in the theme, and the broader relevance to the development sector;
  • details of who from your institution would provide leadership and details of staff across the university that would be involved;
  • confirmation that you understand the expectations described above concerning the host university role and are able to commit the necessary resources to develop the event in a collaborative manner;
  • details of the proposed venue(s) for the conference and associated side events;
  • your sustainability policies in relation to events; and
  • a proposed period or specific dates which would suit your institution to host.