Staff profiles

Brian Lucas, Manager

Brian is a project manager specialising in knowledge management and information technology solutions for international development and environmental issues. He has experience as a manager, communicator, and educator in the public, private, and NGO sectors. Brian joined the Governance Resource Centre in 2004. He led the bid to form the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC), becoming its Manager in 2005, and overseeing its expansion. Previously, Brian managed the information services unit at GRID-Arendal in Norway, a United Nations Environment Programme collaborating centre. He holds a MSc in Management of Non-Governmental Organisations from London School of Economics. His responsibilities include coordinating GSDRC work, strategic management and oversight, and managing relations with clients. For further details, see Brian’s University of Birmingham staff profile.

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5037; Email:

Research team

GSDRC’s specialist researchers synthesise the latest evidence and expert thinking on governance, social development, humanitarian and conflict issues to inform policy and practice. They produce Topic Guides, Literature Reviews, Conflict Analyses and rapid-response Helpdesk Research Reports for a range of agencies, and undertake consultancy projects.

William Avis

William joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in June 2015 from the Overseas Development Institute. He spent four years with ODI in various research roles, most recently with the growth, poverty and inequality team. Among his ODI publications are The data revolution: finding the missing millions, and Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad. William’s research interests include identity and conflict, globalisation and political voice. His PhD examined constructions of Assamese identity in post-independence India (University of Sheffield).


Becky Carter

Becky joined GSDRC at the Institute of Development Studies in 2012. She has worked on aid evaluations and reviews as a consultant for aid agencies and other organisations, and within the World Bank Her recent work has focused on inclusive institutions, aid evaluation capacity and theory, and policies and approaches to aid in fragile and conflict situations. She holds an MA in Latin American Area Studies from the University of London. For further details, see Becky’s IDS staff profile.


Tel: +44 (0) 1273 915 787; Email:

Iffat Idris

Iffat110x149Iffat joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in January 2016, having spent 10 years as an independent consultant for international development organisations, including the UN System and the World Bank. Iffat lived in Pakistan for fourteen years, where her work focused on governance, disaster management, conflict analysis and capacity development. In recent years, she has been promoting the right to information across the South Asia region: she is co-chair of the South Asia Transparency Advisory Group.  Iffat holds a PhD in political science from the University of Hull; her thesis on ethnic conflict in Kashmir was published by Oxford University Press.


Ed Laws

Ed LawsEd Laws joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in 2016. He is a Research Associate of the Developmental Leadership Program, having worked as a researcher for the organisation between 2010 and 2013. He has recently worked as an independent consultant for ODI on the politics of universal health coverage. He specialises in political economy and political settlements analysis and has fieldwork experience in Kenya, investigating environmental sustainability in the informal sector. He has a PhD in Politics from the University of York.


Brigitte Rohwerder

Brigitte joined GSDRC at the Institute of Development Studies in 2013. Previously, she worked as a researcher for the Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) on evaluations for DFID, UNICEF and the Government of Afghanistan. She has also worked on issues related to disability inclusion, education, refugee return, disaster preparation and response. She holds an MA in Post War Recovery Studies from the University of York. For further details, see Brigitte’s IDS staff profile.

Tel: +44 (0) 127 3915787; Email:

Communications and administration

Sarah O’Connor, Communications Manager

Sarah has over ten years’ experience in international development, largely in knowledge management roles. Before joining the GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in 2008, she was an editor and web manager for an international NGO and also worked in the publishing sector (Oxford University Press and Learning Media Ltd.). She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Oxford.

Tel: +44 (0) 121 4143911; Email: