researchRural Development Training and Research Institute (RDTRI) was established in 1974 and at that time, the institution was making its involvements in the field of rural development only through its programmes. Within the traditional rural development, in an approach where the priority had been given to physical development, issues with regard to achieving rural development targets came to exist. As a result of the strategic endeavor to initiate Change Agent Programme as the functional training and research programme of applying participatory development approach in 1978, Research and Development Division was instituted. As such, the regulatory activities of experimenting the participatory development concept as a novel development approach were introduced to the scope of the Research Division. Accordingly, from 1978 to 1998, the operational functions of the Change Agent Program became its main responsibility. Following the end of project period in 1998 and with the decision to make independent and institutionalize the 64 stations where the Change Agent Programme was implemented, Prajashakthi organization network was established. It was the role of the Research Division to provide necessary guidance and consultation to the said organizing network.

Participatory development as a development approach targeting poor families was developed as a functional program through the Methodology Research Division. Similarly in 2000, in collaboration with Canadian International Development Agency, the division was also involved in the training and research activities of incorporating/absorbing the concept of Gender Identity concept for development programmes. Over a period of nearly 40 years, engaging in research activities such as functional research, social research, surveys and case studies across broad areas of rural development and poverty alleviation, knowledge sharing activities such as experience exchange workshops and open dialogues, and the activities such as publishing of research papers and the publishing of the newspaper called "Sathya", are amongst the primary functions carried out by the Research Division.

Research Programmes in progress-2020

Research Programme Objective
Functional research for empowering the poor. Obtaining contribution toward sustainable development through empowering Samurdhi beneficiaries.
Survey on the views of beneficiaries regarding the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the micro finance service facilities provided by Samurdhi Banks. While conquering  the issues and limitations so far created within the service facility product (cluster) provided by the Samurdhi Community-based Banks for their service recipients, researching on productivity tactics and financial tools that can improve its financial and social performance.
Training programmes for university students on the applications of rural planning and participatory development as a methodology for rural development and poverty alleviation. Preparation of a methodology for improving the productivity of rural development programmes and minimizing rural poverty through the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes on participatory planning techniques in university students.