Working to improve lives, reduce inequality and protect the environment

The world is complex, and the challenges can seem overwhelming. Here in the Department of Global Development, we unlock the energies and talents of experts from a range of disciplines to address some of the biggest problems facing humanity. We know solutions are hard. But we never stop asking questions, seeking answers and partnering with people and communities to make life better, everywhere. 

With a focus on education with impact, our transdisciplinary approach emphasizes real-world engagement with communities in New York state and around the globe. Our dynamic learning atmosphere and academic culture goes beyond purely technical work to provide deep analysis and transformative solutions.

This is what we do. We catalyze change and provoke fresh understanding. We develop next-generation leaders through engaged and active learning that connects students with field experiences. This is who we are. We are committed to justice, to science, to people and we never stop striving to make direct social impact all around the globe.

60+

Researchers

186

Undergraduate students

54

Graduate students

The world is complex. But we believe understanding is possible.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to tackle the biggest challenges of our time.

Food Security & Nutrition

Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 

Development Sociology

Understanding human behavior and interactions

Rural & community development

Solving local problems with homegrown solutions

Climate change

Sustaining a healthy Earth

Gender, race and ethnicity

Fighting for equality for everyone, everywhere

Economics

Confronting the cycle of poverty 

Education & leadership

Cultivating next-generation leaders  

Plant Sciences

Breeding crops for a food-secure world

Demography

Studying the structure of the human population

On the international stage

A woman with glasses on the top of her head sits at a desk in an office
Engaged research

54+

Visiting scientists & fellows

from over 20 countries

Making a sustainable impact

Recent insights, news and events in the Department of Global Development

Two farmers holding produce in a greenhouse

News

Harvest of generosity
As hunger rose in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Rick and Laura Pedersen responded by sharing the bounty of their farm with their local food bank in upstate New York. “It’s distressing to think about that many people in our community...
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
Illustration of the world with icons and lines connecting continents

News

Borlaug Global Rust Initiative story map documents dozen years of impact
An international community of hunger fighters called the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) joined forces starting in 2005 to confront climate change and diseases that threatened wheat — one of the world’s most important crops. For 15 years...
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
A hand touches cassava stacked in basket

News

Next generation cassava varieties approved for release in Nigeria
Five new cassava varieties developed with support from NextGen Cassava have been approved for release in Nigeria. These next generation varieties deliver promising options for smallholder farmers in resisting cassava diseases and marketing their...
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section