Understand guideline and funding cycles
MacArthur publishes program guidelines to help applicants determine whether their idea for a grant fits within a particular grantmaking strategy.
As a general rule, applicants should base this decision on three related criteria that appear in program guidelines: the topical focus addressed by the grantmaking strategy; the geographic area covered by the grantmaking strategy; and the type of funding (i.e., general operating support, research, program support, etc.) that supports the grantmaking strategy.
Like most strategic grantmaking foundations, the MacArthur Foundation considers funding only those applications that closely match the topical, geographic, and funding criteria for a specific grantmaking strategy.
Extreme poverty in much of the world is rooted in a complex set of causes including poor agricultural productivity, the stress of climate change, the burden of tropical disease, and the absence of basic infrastructure, such as roads and telecommunications. A major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the lack of a cadre of “generalist” professionals trained across fields of public health, agronomy, engineering, economics, and environmental science that can recognize these interrelated challenges and know how to address them, drawing from specialist expertise and regional knowledge as needed.
To address the multisectoral challenges of sustainable development, MacArthur has launched a $16 million global initiative to support the creation of new, graduate level training programs at universities around the world. The two-year Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs provide graduate-level students with the core skills and knowledge required of a generalist development practitioner. The degree is built on coursework in four main pillars: health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and management, supplemented by two summers of field training, as recommended by the MacArthur-supported International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice.
MacArthur support is intended to help create a critical mass of new MDP programs at universities worldwide to launch a new field of development practice.
MacArthur also provides support to the global network of MDP universities, facilitated by the Global MDP Secretariat, located at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The Secretariat provides assistance to universities seeking to establish MDP programs, and also helps to: develop the program’s curriculum, case studies, and standards; maintain an open-source, virtual library for curricula and other course-related resources for the programs; organize meetings and workshops for MDP universities; offer an online “Global Classroom” on sustainable development practice; and strengthen the global network of MDP universities.
The key staff officer for this program area is Program Officer Milena Novy-Marx.
What MacArthur Funds
The Foundation provides support to universities and other institutions around the world to offer new Master’s in Development Practice programs, based on a model of rigorous, inter-disciplinary training and the curriculum recommended by the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice. It also supports efforts to strengthen the global network of MDP universities.
Universities or other institutions interested in developing an MDP program are encouraged to join the global network of Master's in Development Practice universities, which is being coordinated by the MDP Secretariat at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The Secretariat is able to offer guidance, curricular resources, and other support to aspiring MDP programs. For more information, please contact MDP Secretariat Director Lucia Rodriguez or Associate Director Susan Rhodes.