Skip to main content

Programmes Global Development

Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development

The Challenge

The Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development aims to understand and communicate the state of living conditions and the natural environment around the world and how it is changing over time.

The world is constantly changing – with dramatic changes in global living conditions  over the last few centuries. Whilst real-time, hourly or daily news headlines expose us to individual, isolated events, developmental change is typically a slow process. Understanding how the world is changing requires a global overview across a range of wellbeing and development measures. Only by looking at current conditions within a long-term perspective can we contextualise where we have come from, where we are today, and what is possible for the future.

The Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development aims to present a global and long-term perspective on development, wellbeing, the natural environment, and technological change through data analysis, the visualisation of empirical data, research, and by reviewing and clearly presenting the findings in academic research literature.


Our Approach

Global development research studies the changes across a range of dimensions including income, inequality, food, energy, basic services, health, technological progress, education, violence and crime, and the environment. Our programme therefore takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to our research, supported by a team of both social and physical scientists, as well as external contributors across a range of disciplines. Studies published by the programme include peer-reviewed publications on global health and poverty, food security and sustainability, development, education and labor market selection processes, income inequality and inclusive growth, sustainability and economic growth.

One of the primary outputs of this programme is the online publication Our World in Data where we present this global overview of how the world is changing through interactive data visualisations and explainers. At Our World in Data we provide a long-term perspective on global development which is broad in its dimensions of wellbeing, alongside its compatibility with future environmental sustainability.

This project therefore aims to provide and highlight the fundamental links between economic and social history, development research, and the impact of technology and education on driving global change.

Our research also addresses gaps in the information we rely on. To support global efforts in this regard the programme also publishes the SDG Tracker, a site that allows the public to track whether the world is on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ensuring our data is available and accessible for everyone to use is integral to our approach to research. All of our outputs, including our data, visualisations and tools are therefore open-source under a permissive Creative Commons license. This means they are free to use by everyone.


Ambition

Core to the ambitions of this programme is to accurately present and synthesize data on global development, in all its aspects. However, we aim not only to get the data right, but to communicate this to as broad and wide an audience as possible. We attempt to achieve this in an engaging and digestible way at Our World in Data through interactive visualisations.

Our work is currently accessed by more than half a million readers per month (often more), spanning all countries across the world. It is also widely used in teaching, further research and covered by the world’s leading media outlets (The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Financial Times, the BBC, and many non-English media streams).

Our World in Data is supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the German entrepreneur, businesswoman and philanthropist Susanne Klatten, and generous support and donations from our readers.