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:

Emilie Combaz

Emilie joined GSDRC at the University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute in 2012. Her PhD, completed in 2011, examined how torture was handled as a multilateral issue from 1945 to 2009 at the UN, the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States. Along with her work at GSDRC, Emilie facilitates research coordination within HCRI. She is a native French speaker, is fluent in English and German, and has a working knowledge of Spanish. She holds a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po, Paris. For further details, see Emilie’s University of Manchester staff profile.

Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 3483; 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:

Siân Herbert

Siân joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in 2013. Previously, she worked as a researcher for the think tanks the Overseas Development Institute and Open Europe. Siân also writes freelance, and has been published by the Guardian, Chatham House and Argentine think tank El Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales (CAEI). She is fluent in Spanish and speaks competent Portuguese. She holds an MA in International Relations and Negotiations and International Economic Relations from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Argentina. For further details, see Siân’s University of Birmingham staff profile.

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 4965; Email:

Elisa Lopez Lucia

Elisa joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in March 2015 from the University of Warwick, where she was researching the regionalisation of security in Africa and Latin America. Among her other research interests are EU foreign and security policy in Africa, and the security and development policies of Nigeria and Brazil. Elisa previously worked at the French Ministry of Defence and the EU’s Directorate-General for External Relations (now the European External Action Service).  She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. For further details, see Elisa’s University of Birmingham staff profile.


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:

Anna Strachan

Anna joined GSDRC at the Institute of Development Studies in 2013. Her PhD, completed in 2013, looked at the decision-making processes behind Norwegian conflict mediation efforts in the Philippines, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka. She speaks German, French, Swedish and Arabic. She holds a PhD in International Relations from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.



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:


Timothy Fisken, Publications Assistant

Timothy joined GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in 2013. Prior to this, he worked as Managing Editor of SAGE’s Encyclopedia of Political Theory, and in knowledge and information management at the Government Office for the East of England. Timothy has a PhD in Political Theory and Comparative Political Economy, and is experienced in online and print publishing and web development. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.



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.



Edward Avenell, Research Administrator

Edward joined the GSDRC at the University of Birmingham in January 2014.  He holds an MA in International Relations and Security from the University of Birmingham.

 Tel: +44 (0) 121 4147232; Email: