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Launch of the FutureWORKS initiative to create a more inclusive future of work in the Global South

IDRC is pleased to announce the launch of FutureWORKS, a five-year interdisciplinary Southern-led research initiative devoted to the future of work in the Global South.
Picture of people’s hands around a desk
Matthew Henry

Major disruptions such as artificial intelligence and climate change are restructuring labor markets around the world, with many consequences that are yet unknown. Policy decisions made today will shape the impact of these transitions on the world of work, especially their impact on the most vulnerable workers and communities across the Global South.  

IDRC’s new initiative, FutureWorks, aims to ensure that these changes are channeled towards resilient skills development and inclusive, decent employment. Following an open call for proposals in May 2023, five organizations were selected from 100 applications to lead FutureWORKS research hubs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Each will receive up to CAD1.7 million to: 

  • advance a nuanced research agenda through open, competitive calls with regional partners 
  • foster regional networks of academic, private sector, civil society and government officials 
  • promote knowledge exchange and work with key decision-makers to position evidence for use in policies that advance a more inclusive and sustainable future of work across the Global South 

Hubs are dedicated to support regionally nuanced evidence, recognizing that the drivers of the future of work affect each region differently. Themes prioritized by hubs will focus on advancing resilient skills systems and lifelong learning amid digital transformations, strengthening social protection systems, transitioning to low carbon economies and promoting decent work. Gender, equity and inclusion will be at the centre of the research supported.  

A global knowledge mobilization hub hosted by Just Jobs Network was also funded to facilitate synergy building, peer learning, knowledge synthesis and mobilization across the five FutureWORKS regional hubs, as well as to maximize the reach and impact of the evidence generated.