Dr Lisa Thorley

Dr Lisa Thorley


I joined POLIS in September 2019. Prior to joining POLIS I worked as an evaluator in the Gender department of an international development consultancy firm where I undertook evaluations for numerous UN organisations, international NGOs, the World Bank and various donors. One of my last projects was to develop ethics guidelines for DFID’s evaluations and research. 

I have also worked for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) as an associate and worked as a freelance development consultant. Before moving to the private sector I worked at the University of Bradford in the John & Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) as a teaching and research fellow and Muzumbe University in Tanzania. 

I hold a PhD in Development and Economic Research. My thesis was concerned with how women in post conflict Northern Uganda access land and how this impacts their food security. 


  • Programme Director Post Graduate Global Development

Research interests

My research is concerned with the role of women in the development discourse and how women’s lives are influenced by development policy. I am particularly interested in sexual and reproductive health rights, HIV related stigma and poverty reduction strategies and how, or if, we are going to be able to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. My research is influenced by my experience as a practitioner and is multidisciplinary in nature. My current research is related to project interventions that aim to decrease violence against sex workers and HIV transmission in:  Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

I am also interested in issues around employability and deliver modules that highlight the importance of academia as well as gaining vital skills in the workplace, and the third sector.   

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I am the module lead for: Gender, Globalisation and Development. Global Inequalities and Development, Power and Conflict and Introduction, Development Theory and Practice, Project and Research Skills- Experiential Learning and the POLIS year in Industry module.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>