Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Development (Developmental Leadership Program) - School of Government - 97319 - Grade 7

University of Birmingham

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Position type:

Full time



04 May 2021
01 Aug 2021

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-210000OC

Position Details

School of Government

College of Social Sciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322. With potential progression once in post to £42,792 a year.

Grade 7

Full Time

Fixed Term Contract from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022

Closing date - 23 May 2021


For more than 10 years the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) has explored how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development. In its research, DLP focuses on the role of leadership in forming locally-legitimate institutions that can promote development outcomes - from sustainable growth, to political stability and inclusive social development. DLP has been based in the University of Birmingham since 2014, is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and has been influential in shaping international development policies and programmes globally since its inception.

In 2019, DLP was awarded its third phase of funding to work in collaboration with Universities, NGOs and governments across the Asia Pacific region on a portfolio of innovative and locally-owned research projects. The projects explore developmental leadership in a range of contexts including women’s political leadership, education, Pacific regionalism and disability. At their heart, the projects ask how leadership makes a differences in some of the most dynamic, complex and often neglected spaces.

Despite the challenges faced by the international research programme while operating in a global pandemic, DLP has continued to progress its research and engagement activities. During the next year, research findings from the latest phase of DLP will start to emerge. Plans to maximise the uptake and impact of the research include conducting complementary desk-based research on overarching portfolio themes, as well as delivering an ambitious programme of global dissemination activities such as topical webinars, policy and practitioner briefs, and conferences.

During the past year, DLP has also delivered critical outputs on the importance of leadership in responding to the crisis. Building on the success of our recent blog series and policy newsletter, the ‘Leadership Observatory’, DLP will deliver an additional research project on how leadership matters for countries’ and communities’ COVID-19 responses – both during the pandemic but also in aiding economic recovery once the immediate public health crisis has subsided. This new project will therefore produce policy-relevant outputs that will be used to inform DFAT programming and shared with the international development community more broadly.

The Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Development will play an important role within this research-policy nexus – drawing together DLP findings, disseminating findings and leading the drafting of policy papers and publications.

Summary of Role

The Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Development will be located within the International Development Department. Within the University, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will be mentored by Professor David Hudson and Dr Claire Mcloughlin who have considerable experience of working on the politics of development, in particular on the role of leadership, coalitions, and power in reform processes. The role of the Post-Doctoral Fellow will be to take a lead in the drafting of policy papers and publications based on engagement with the DLP research portfolio and DFAT, using material the partners have collected on their activities and interventions. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will also provide research and organisational support for DLP’s engagement and impact activities – including global dissemination events.

There will be potential for both sole authorship and co-authorship of research and policy outputs. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will work under the guidance of DLP’s management team and principal partners, including Professor David Hudson, Dr Claire Mcloughlin, Professor Chris Roche (La Trobe University), Alana Tomlin (Program Manager), and DLP’s points of contact at DFAT, FCDO, the World Bank and other partner organisations including the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Project outputs will be published by DLP and in relevant journals and presented to members of DFAT and relevant stakeholders. There will also be an opportunity to make presentations at DLP events and established academic and policy conferences.

Main Duties/Responsibilities

  • The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.
  • Conducting policy-relevant research on international development issues, including on the role of leadership, governance and politics.
  • Drafting policy reports and research papers under the guidance of a mentor as a co-author.
  • Establishing and maintaining a database of relevant academic and policy contacts.
  • Keep up to date with emerging research and policy in relevant subject areas.
  • Assisting in the organization of project workshops and seminars.
  • Participating in DLP engagement events and activities.
  • Preparing blog posts and website news stories.
  • Making presentations to the DFAT and other stakeholders.
  • Provide DFAT's Office of the Chief Economist with regular evidence and briefings on how developmental leadership can contribute to their ‘Partnerships for Recovery’ policy.
  • Maintain consistent communications with key stakeholders and the DLP research portfolio.
  • Collate data on leadership for development activities.
  • Assist in the drafting of research (funding) proposals.
  • Assist in the recording of podcasts on suitable topics.
  • Promote equality and values diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

Person Specification

  • The successful candidate will hold a PhD (or be close to completion) in international development, political economy analysis, political leadership or another related area.
  • Fieldwork in a relevant area.
  • The potential to develop a world class publication record. An interest in and strong understanding of the role of leadership in political processes and international development.
  • A record of producing high quality written material to deadlines.
  • The capacity and interest to work as part of a collaborative, international team.
  • Understanding of current and emerging priorities and debates in international development, including gender issues, disability inclusion and regionalism debates in the Asia Pacific.
  • Understanding of knowledge management, research communication and research uptake in an international development context.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Ability to plan and organise work independently, taking responsibility for work in a proactive and independent manner.
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly.
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly.
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes.


  • Previous experience of working on/in the Asia Pacific region (including South Asia and South East Asia).
  • Knowledge of website creation and maintenance.
  • A record of producing high quality policy reports.
  • Experience of organizing and/or facilitating workshops and speaker events.
  • Good quality presenting skills and experience.
  • Experience of working on policy issues or for a policy organisation or think tank.
  • Experience working with bilateral or multilateral development agencies.
  • Good networking skills.
  • Good IT skills.


Enquiries to Alana Tomlin, DLP Program Manager (

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