Past Projects

Heather was Director of the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) from 2013-late 2017. DLP is a research programme that addresses an important gap in international thinking and policy about the critical role played by leaders, elites and coalitions in the politics of development. Current development thinking tends to focus on structural and institutional change, and policy reform in the economics and politics of developing countries. By contrast, the DLP’s research brings together policy makers and influencers, academic, business and civil society partners to explore and promote the role of leadership (and human agency more broadly) in the dynamic political processes of development to understand how institutional change and policy reform happen, are sustained or blocked. With its central focus on the critical role of political processes, power and leadership in shaping institutional arrangements and determining developmental trajectories, our work also has direct relevance for many other global challenges such as security, stability, peace-building, inclusive economic growth, service delivery, climate change and corruption.

DLP’s new Director is Professor David Hudson.


Heather was a member of the ANTICORRP research consortium, a large-scale research project funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program (full name Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption). The central objective of ANTICORRP was to investigate factors that promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. The project started in March 2012 and ended in March 2017. Outputs, news and so on can be found on the project website.


From 2010 – 2017, Heather was the Academic Director of the GSDRC, a partnership of research institutes, think-tanks and consultancy organisations with expertise in governance, social development, humanitarian and conflict issues. The GSDRC provides bespoke, on demand research and consultancy services in addition to regularly updated information resources available on the website. The GSDRC team has been providing high quality knowledge services to international development agencies for over a decade, with clients including DFID, the Australian Government, the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, and UNDP, among others. The GSDRC is currently led by Dr Jonathan Fisher and Brian Lucas.



The Religions & Development RPC was an international research partnership exploring the relationships between several major world religions, development in low-income countries and poverty reduction. It ran from 2005-2010 and focused on four countries (IndiaNigeriaPakistan, and Tanzania), enabling the research team to study most of the major world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and African traditional belief systems. Heather led a component on ‘Religion, ethics and attitudes towards corruption in India and Nigeria‘, along with Dr Insa Nolte. Our methodological approach included:

  • textual analysis (to determine if the language of religion is evident in the discourse on corruption, and to understand if and how public servants use this language to justify or condemn corrupt behaviour)?
  • semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with leaders and members of selected religious organisations, policy makers and staff in selected sectors, and those engaged in anti-corruption policy design and implementation.

In India, the research was led by Professor Vinod Pavarala and Dr Kanchan Malik, both University of Hyderabad. In Nigeria, the research was led by Dr Antonia Taiye Simbine, formerly Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, and Dr Emmanuel Aiyede, University of Ibadan.