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AidData is a research lab based at W&M’s Global Research Institute. AidData equips policymakers and practitioners with better evidence to improve how sustainable development investments are targeted, monitored, and evaluated.

AidData's interdisciplinary team works together to use a wide range of novel methods, tools, and data sources to answer questions about foreign aid flows that cut across sectors, geographies, and disciplines. Their research serves the unique needs of both the policy and academic communities, as well as acting as a bridge between the two.

Project Leader

Brad Parks

Focus Areas

AidData's research agenda is focused on catalyzing innovation in five program areas (below) that empower decision makers in development organizations.  Our interdisciplinary team works together to seek entry points for evidence in foreign policy cutting across regions and sectors, including economic development, education, the environment, fragility and conflict, governance, health, HIV & AIDS, infrastructure, poverty, public diplomacy, "children on the move" (refugees & trafficking), rural development, and sustainable development.

  • Transparent Development Footprints — Tracking China's spending on public diplomacy, official Chinese finance for development, and other underreported financial flows (which we call "TUFF") from opaque donors, lenders, and investors
  • Sustainable Development Intelligence — Geographic and demographic tracking and targeting of sustainable development investments to ensure no one is left behind
  • Listening to Leaders — Understanding the priorities and perspectives of leaders in low and middle-income countries, and measuring the performance of external development partners
  • Geospatial Impact Evaluations — Rigorously evaluating the impacts and cost-effectiveness of specific interventions and large investment portfolios with spatial data
  • Geospatial Data Framework — Creating high-resolution, high-frequency measures of development outcomes, powerful spatial data integration and extraction infrastructure, and next-generation geospatial analysis tools


Student Opportunities

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William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, World Bank, among others.