This contribution introduces Irish perspectives on global development, drawing on the context of Ireland’s own development trajectory as a ‘network’ developmental state. It is a late but progressive supporter of global development, characterized by the historical preponderance of the missionary/charity sector, strong partnerships with the civil society and private sectors and relatively underdeveloped endogenous public good institutional capacities and allied research structures. Ireland’s global development research relies strongly on multilateral networks and a number of priority topics are outlined and discussed. The relatively circumscribed list of topics and countries is set in a wider context of a progressive and ambitious networked donor policy and applied development practice. The unsolved , fundamental global challenge of Sustainable Human Development is highlighted as the SD concept has failed to link ecosystems, human needs/well-being/rights and social development. The Future Earth programme for Science and Society links knowledge about planetary processes, societal transitions and global development, providing a sound basis for interdisciplinary, integrated engagement for societal transformation towards sustainable human development. This will require a broader range, and better integration , of social science tools and approaches. Five priority messages are highlighted to reframe science for society in terms of broad human development goals, encompassing livelihoods, capabilities, assets, networks, education, and solidarity.