Staff profiles

Management team

Heather Marquette, Director

marquette-heather-01Heather has been the GSDRC’s Director since April 2010. She is also Reader in Development Politics in the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department. A political scientist by training, Heather has 14 years of international experience in research, policy advice, consultancy and training in governance and development. Her work has focused primarily on Africa, (Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana in particular), Afghanistan and India. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Durham. Her responsibilities include providing academic oversight, and developing strategy. For further details, see Heather’s University of Birmingham staff profile.


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:

Huma Haider

HumaHuma joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in 2007. She is a licensed attorney (New York State Bar) and worked previously in the Prosecution Support Section of the War Crimes Chamber, Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has also researched issues of refugee / IDP return, coexistence and reconciliation in Bosnia.

Prior to this, Huma was Director of Research and Publications at the Atlantic Council of Canada (an NGO focusing on NATO, security and development, and peacebuilding); and founding editor of The Transatlantic Quarterly (a journal focusing on the interplay of political, socioeconomic, legal, cultural and military components in the development of peace and security). She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics. For further details, see Huma’s University of Birmingham staff profile.

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8468; 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.


Claire Mcloughlin

Claire McloughlinClaire is a senior researcher with GSDRC and the Developmental Leadership Program at the University of Birmingham. She joined GSDRC in 2004, and has published extensively on the politics of basic services and their effects on state-building. Her current research focuses on access to basic services and state (de-)legitimation in conflict-affected situations. She holds an MA in International Relations and World Order from the University of Leicester. For further details, see Claire’s University of Birmingham staff profile.


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 team

The communications team provides GSDRC’s online knowledge services, managing the website, including professional development reading packs and the library of research summaries, and a monthly e-bulletin. The team also manages the publication, dissemination and impact monitoring of GSDRC research outputs.

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:


Isobel Wilson-Cleary, Research and Communications Support Officer

Isobel Wilson-Cleary

Isobel joined the GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in July 2015 from INTRAC, where she supported INTRAC’s Training Programme. She holds an MA in Cultural Heritage and International Development from the University of East Anglia. She is also Vice Chair of Development in Action, a youth-led development education charity.