Welcome to the PhD program in innovation in global development at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University!

As a founding Chair of the program, I am honored to invite you to learn about our new and uniquely transdisciplinary program. With a strong global focus, this student-centric PhD program addresses the mismatch between what students of global development are expected to do when they graduate and what schools actually prepare them to do. Our goal in IGD is to educate and prepare well informed, confident, and deeply motivated graduates who can think critically about 21st-century development challenges, explore solutions, and apply them appropriately. Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as benchmarks, course offerings will have content tailored to the present and future needs of societies, including training in leadership and social responsibilities. IGD’s core courses and curricula go beyond the cognitive mastery of a discipline and focus on new pedagogical and dialectical approaches that can facilitate the acquisition of skills and competencies that enable communication, creativity, independent thinking, and the ability to work in multicultural contexts.

The program builds on the unmatched expertise housed within SFIS and the combined expertise of a remarkable array of world-class research centers, including the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO), the Center for Innovation, Development, and Society (CIDS), the Center for Energy and Society (CES), the GlobalResolve, and the Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society (CENTSS). CSPO, an intellectual arm of SFIS and one of the nation’s top ten science and policy think tanks, is dedicated to developing knowledge and tools that can more effectively connect progress in science and technology to progress toward desired societal outcomes. As a transdisciplinary applied research center, CIDS is committed to leveraging diverse perspectives and practices on development and channeling them to nurture cutting-edge innovations that promote a more robust future for all. As energy and society research networks, CES is focused on the social, economic, and policy dimensions of energy innovation and sustainable energy transitions. Dedicated to changing how we as a society think, learn, and talk about science and technology, CENTSS has developed novel approaches engaging people, policymakers, and scientists to solve complex social problems. The Global Resolve nurtures innovations that serve the economically poor but knowledge-rich people of society by creating collaborative opportunities for ASU students with external partners. All IGD students will automatically become part of these centers and can access their ongoing research, including communication and engagement with the SFIS faculty and staff.

IGD also sets a new standard for a research-based doctoral degree at ASU. Through cutting-edge research, evidence-based learning, best practices of mentorship and advising, the IGD program seeks to take an expansive view of development policies and practices, allowing the student to gain both depth and breadth of knowledge. This program emphasizes the study and practice of social responses to development challenges, cultural diversity, and democratic accountability. The IGD degree is innovative not only in content but also in structure. Students are expected to spend no more than 18 months in residence to complete core classroom requirements. Their doctoral dissertations can be pursued either on or off campus, aligning with individual interests and needs, with final presentation and defense on the ASU campus. Students so inclined may return to their workplace and pursue their dissertation research through close collaboration with a designated faculty chair and members of the dissertation committee using innovative digital platforms to communicate and remain updated.

Candidates with advanced degrees from a variety of development-related subjects will be eligible to apply to the IGD program. IGD’s commitment to modernizing graduate education not only benefits society for generations to come, but it also plays an important role in ensuring its place as a leading force in the field of development. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss the many opportunities available through our program.


Netra Chhetri, PhD