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CPAID People

Meet the researchers and partners at the Centre for Public Authority and International Development

CPAID Investigators

CPAID will use innovative approaches to research beyond narrow academic concerns...building on our deep and long-term engagement with the cultures, politics, histories and security dynamics of many African countries.
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Professor Tim Allen is the Principal Investigator at the Centre for Public Authority and International Development.

A Professor of Development Anthropology in LSE's Department of International Development and Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, Tim Allen has expertise in complex emergencies, ethnic conflict, health and forced migration.



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Professor Melissa Parker is an Investigator for CPAID and a medical anthropologist at the Department of Global Health and Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Melissa has worked on a range of global health issues in Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2014 she helped to establish the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform.



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Dr Duncan Green is an Investigator for CPAID and a Senior Strategic Adviser at Oxfam GB.

Duncan is the author of How Change Happens and From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World. He also runs the blog 'From Poverty to Power'

Twitter: @fp2p



Professor Koen Vlassenroot is an Investigator for CPAID and the Director of the Conflict Research Group at Ghent University.

Koen is also Director of the Africa Programme at the Egmont Institute in Brussels and an international expert on conflict dynamics in Central Africa. He conducts research on armed groups, conflict and governance.

Twitter: @kvlassen


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Dr Naomi Pendle is an Investigator at CPAID. Her work focuses on governance in times of conflict and famine. Her multidisciplinary research uses ethnographic, archival, oral history and qualitative methods.





Dr Anna Macdonald is an Associate Professor in International Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa.

As a CPAID co-Investigator, Anna researches the politics of transitional justice in Uganda, and in authoritarian contexts more generally. A second strand of her research examines citizen engagement with rule of law institutions in contexts where people are deeply critical of the state.




Dr Grace Akello is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Gulu University in Uganda. Her main research interests include how young people in complex emergencies identify, prioritise and manage their health complaints.

Dr Akello's research interests include HIV/AIDS, young people and complex emergencies and health preparedness.




Dr Gedion Onyango is a CPAID Investigator, Research Officer  at The Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa, and a Lecturer of public policy and public administration at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is also Afrobarometer’s co-National Investigator in Kenya.



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Dr Nicole Stremlau is a research professor at the University of Johannesburg and head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy the University of Oxford’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

Her research is on new technologies and governance, particularly in conflict-affected regions as well as law-making processes in areas where the state has limited reach.






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Professor Alex de Waal is member of the CPAID board and a co-Director for research at the LSE Conflict Research Programme.

Alex is also an Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and has worked in north-east Africa for thirty years, including as an adviser on Sudan to the African Union.




Professor Elizabeth Robinson is the Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and member of the CPAID board. 

Elizabeth is an environmental economist with over twenty five years’ experience undertaking research particularly in lower-income countries. She was on the UK Defra Economic Advisory Panel for five years. Between 2019 and 2020 she was Specialist Advisor to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health, and Environment.




Professor Gibril Faal is a Visiting Professor in Practice at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa and member of the CPAID board. 

He is the co-founder and director of GK Partners, specialising in socially responsible business models, sustainable development and programme implementation.



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Dr Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute of Development Studies and member of the CPAID board. She co-founded and co-directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre from 2006 to 2014. 

Her interdisciplinary, policy-engaged research in Africa and beyond links environment, agriculture, health, technology and gender, with particular interests in knowledge, power and the politics of science and policy processes.



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Professor Christian Lund is a member of the CPAID board and Head of Section for Global Development at the University of Copehangen. 

His research focuses on local politics and the dynamics of property in developing societies. He investigates how socio-legal conflicts over citizenship and land feed into state formation processes and has field experience in Niger, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Laos and Indonesia.



CPAID Academics

Laura Bear

Laura Bear

Professor Laura Bear specialises in the anthropology of the economy, infrastructures and time. Bear has held positions as a board member in the Economy and Society editorial collective, the LSE International Inequalities Institute and ESRC Rebuilding Macroeconomics Research Network.

Research interests: anthropologies of the economy, state, infrastructures, time
Regions: South Asia

Twitter: @BearLauraLSE



Cathy Boone 

Professor Catherine Boone is Programme Director in African Development at the LSE Department of International Development. Her work focusses on commercial land tenure policies in West Africa.

Research interests: political economy, political development, property rights, land
Regions: Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire

Twitter: @cboone2023



Claire Elder

Dr Claire Elder completed her DPhil in Politics at Oxford University after working for the International Crisis Group and years of experience in north-eastern Africa. Her research focuses on public authority and the political economy of state-building in weak states.

Research interests: political economy, diaspora, statebuilding, weak states
Region of focus: Somalia

Twitter: @celder_m



Julian Hopwood

Dr Julian Hopwood has lived in Gulu, northern Uganda since 2006, where his work for CPAID is mainly focused. He teaches on the Medical Anthropology programme at Gulu University. He recently completed his PhD at Ghent University on land ownership in Acholi, following earlier careers in community mental health in UK and humanitarian-development work in Uganda.

Research interests: ‘Customary’ communal land; environmental, state and community-level justice issues; mental health and resilience.
Region of focus: 
Northern Uganda, South Sudan




Tom Kirk

Dr Thomas Kirk is a researcher and consultant based at LSE. His research interests include the provision of security and justice in conflict-affected regions, and exploring how power works from top to bottom in development programmes.

Research interests: security, authoritaniasm, power, water governance
Region of focus: DRC




Jonah Lipton

Dr Jonah Lipton is an anthropologist at LSE where he attained his PhD examining family life, work and coming of age among young men in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Jonah gained a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

Research interests: political economy, urban neighbourhood life, crisis and humanitarianism
Region of focus: Sierra Leone

Twitter: @Jonah_Lipton


Laura Mann

Laura Mann

Dr Laura Mann is an Assistant Professor in the LSE Department of International Development and focuses on the political economy of African development, communication technologies and data in East Africa.

Research interests: political economy, knowledge production, communication technologies and data
Region of focus: Kenya




Esther Marijnen

Dr Esther Marijnen is a political ecologist working on nature-society relations in areas of armed conflict. She studie the militarisation of nature conservation, processes of environmental change in violent environments and the intersection between geography, authority and war.

Research interests: conservation, environment, conflict, war, violence
Region of focus: Central Africa, DRC

Twitter: @Esthermarijnen



Ryan O'Byrne 

Dr Ryan O’Byrne researches the migration experiences of South Sudanese in Uganda, and the country's international diaspora. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from University College London based on ethnographic fieldwork in South Sudan.

Research interests: migration, displacement, resilience, public authority
Region of focus: Uganda, South Sudan




Samuel Olarniran

Dr. Samuel Olaniran is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Journalism, Film, and Television, University of Johannesburg. Samuel’s research focuses on the conceptual development around public authority and how the implementation of new technologies can facilitate confidence in predicting the occurrence of conflict and mitigate its impact.

Region of focus: South Africa

Twitter: @psalmuel35 



Elizabeth Ngutuku

Dr Elizabeth Ngutuku is an interdisciplinary scholar-activist. Her work specialises in voice and the lived experience of marginalised children and youth, sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as young people's experience in conflict situations.

Research interests: child poverty, social protection, youth activism, sexual health
Region of focus: Kenya, East Africa




Iliana Sarafian

Dr Iliana Sarafian is a postdoctoral researcher at CPAID. Iliana’s research is in the fields of minority health and wellbeing, gender, ethnicity, and social inequalities in European contexts. 

Research interests: Resilience, gender, social inequality, ethnicity, European Roma populations. 
Region of focus: 
UK, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria.




Rebecca Tapscott

Rebecca Tapscott is a CPAID academic and an Ambizione Research Fellow at the Geneva Graduate Institute. Rebecca studies authoritarianism, political violence, and local security, as well as the politics of research ethics. She is the author of Arbitrary States: Social Control and Modern Authoritarianism in Museveni's Uganda (OUP, 2021).

Twitter: @rtapscott


CPAID Consultants

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Jacky Atingo | CPAID Consultant

Jacky Atingo holds an MSc in Development Studies with a major in Human Rights and social justice from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a post-graduate diploma in Peace and Conflict Management from Gulu University.

Research interests: gender-based violence, rebel movements, transitional justice, ex-combatants
Region: Northern Uganda





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The Conflict Research Group is a multidisciplinary research unit at Ghent University in the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences. It is primarily interested in the micro-level dynamics of civil conflicts and concentrates both on the impact of civil conflicts on local communities, and on the links between local and global dimensions of conflict.



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Oxfam is an international confederation of 20 organisations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries. Oxfam is determined to change the world by mobilising the power of people against poverty. Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.



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Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians who partner with communities, corporations and governments to transform lives around the world.

Its mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.




The Bridge Network is a non-governmental research organisation. It was founded and is run by South Sudanese earlier career researchers from a collection of different ethnic and social backgrounds with representatives from the three regions of South Sudan. Currently, The Bridge Network is undertaking a project on land grabbing, land rights and land value..




University of East Anglia







University of Bath







University of Gulu







University of Nairobi