Who We Are

Director – Professor David Hudson

David Hudson

David Hudson is the Professorial Research Fellow in Politics and Development at the University of Birmingham (UK) and the Director of the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP). He has written widely on the politics of development, in particular on the role of coalitions, leadership and power in reform processes and how development actors can think and work politically; the drivers of global migration, finance and trade and how these processes shape national development; and how people in rich countries engage with global development issues, as part of the Gates Foundation’s Aid Attitudes Tracker. He has extensive fieldwork experience and loves nothing better than working with survey, network, and interview data. He is also actively involved with practitioners and policymakers, providing evaluations, design and policy advice, consultancy and training with donors and NGOs.

David has published in a range of journals, including the Journal of International Development, Political Studies, Contemporary Politics, and The International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning. He has also given evidence to the UK Parliament's International Development Committee.

Email: D.E.Hudson [at] Bham.ac.uk

Deputy Director (Lecturer) - Dr Claire Mcloughlin

 Claire McloughlinClaire is a Lecturer in International Development at the University of Birmingham and Deputy Director of the Developmental Leadership Program. Her research focuses on the political sociology of vital public service delivery in conflict-affected and divided societies. In particular, she is interested in the politics of distributive justice and procedural fairness in service delivery, and the historical processes that embed welfare provision in social contracts. She has published on how and when services become significant for processes of state (de-)legitimation. She has a particular interest in the role of higher education in state legitimation and nation-building. 

Email: C.Mcloughlin [at] Bham.ac.uk


Senior Research Partner – Chris Roche

Chris RocheChris is Associate Professor and Chair in International Development at La Trobe University in Melbourne, where he is also Director of the Institute for Human Security and Social Change. He has over 25 years’ experience working for international NGOs as a project manager, evaluator, policy researcher and director. 

He is particularly interested in understanding how social change happens, who is involved, and how the effectiveness of attempts to promote change is understood and assessed. His research interests also include complexity, power and politics; leadership, networks and coalitions; the role of civil society and International NGOs;  and poverty, gender relations and inequality.



Research Fellow - Dr Niheer Dasandi

Niheer DasandiNiheer completed his PhD at University College London on the relationship between international and domestic inequalities and poverty. His current research focuses on the links between inequality and poverty, the politics of policy reform in developing countries, the political economy of aid, and political-bureaucratic interactions. Before starting his PhD, Niheer spent two years as a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme. Niheer is based at the University of Birmingham where he is Birmingham Fellow in Politics and Development, in the School of Government and Society.


Email: N.Dasandi [at] Bham.ac.uk


Communications Manager - Sarah O'Connor

Sarah O'ConnorSarah has more than 10 years' experience in international development knowledge management and communications. She is also GSDRC's information officer, and before joining GSDRC (then known as the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre) in 2008 she worked in publishing and as an editor and web manager for an international NGO. Sarah joined DLP in 2013, and is based at the University of Birmingham.

Email: S.A.OConnor [at] Bham.ac.uk



Project Officer - Edward Avenell

Edward Avenell

Edward holds a MA in International Relations/Security from the University of Birmingham.  His research interests are US Foreign policy, US - UK relations. and Crisis Diplomacy.  He oversees management of the DLP.  Edward has experience in graphic and web design and provides communication support.  Edward joined DLP in January 2014 and is based at the University of Birmingham.

Email: E.J.Avenell [at] Bham.ac.uk


About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States

Thursday 12th October 2017

In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.

Read more

Why political settlements matter

Thursday 5th October 2017

Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).

Read more

Follow: @dlprog