Congratulations to former MSc Development Studies student Susannah Robinson who has been chosen as one of the winners of the 2014 Global Development Network (GDN) Next Horizon Essay Contest. Susannah won the award for her essay What Goes Up, Must Come Down: the Role of Open Data in Improving Aid Accountability’ which was adapted from her MSc Dissertation.

The contest invited original and innovative thinking to inform the ongoing discourse on development assistance and its role in post-2015 development finance. The international contest received 1,470 submissions from 142 countries around the world; Susannah was chosen as one of 13 winners and said of her achievement;

GDN_Susannah-RobinsonOne of the worries after studying development in an academic context is that a lot of the theory will end up being irrelevant in the field. The idea that the volume of reading done for the ID courses – and the core DV400 course was notorious for its 86-page reading list – would be eclipsed by day-to-day admin was, frankly, depressing. Yet with the international community beginning to look for new models for aid and development, a theory-rich background is turning out to be one of the most helpful skill sets to have.

In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Development Network recently awarded 13 researchers a grant of $20,000 each for essays examining how to reinvent global development assistance following the Post-2015 Agenda. My submission was lucky enough to be one of those selected – something which would have been impossible without the understanding gained from my courses in the Masters programme. It certainly made up for those 86 pages!

Susannah Robinson is a 2014 graduate from the MSc Development Studies programme. She currently works for the World Health Organization in Geneva. Read her winning essay in full here.