Dr Mark Davis

Dr Mark Davis


I came to Leeds as a Masters student in 2000. I completed my doctorate here in 2006 before being appointed in the School as an academic member of staff. I then worked intermittently in France as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe (2008-2011) co-creating the Charter of Shared Social Responsibilities. In 2010, I founded and have since led the Bauman Institute research centre alongside my appointment as Director of Building Sustainable Societies, one of the University's interdisciplinary Transformation Fund projects (2013-2015). I was also recently the School's UG and PG Admissions Tutor (2015-2018).

My research focusses upon the dynamics of capitalism and democracy. Conceptually, this work takes the legacy of Zygmunt Bauman’s long career at Leeds in a new direction via insights from economic sociology and socio-economics. As processes of financialization intensify, I am interested in how money organizes social life and how innovative and socially-responsible business models may open up the potential for doing radically different things with our money in order to create a more equitable and sustainable society.

Practically, I am evaluating the social impact of financial innovations promising to put citizens at the heart of new systems of trust regarding money, e.g. FinTech, Crowdfunding, BlockChain, and DLT Cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin). This mutli-disciplinary research agenda is supported by grants from EU Horizon 2020; EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions; UK Government departments; Charities; and, industry investors commissioning independent academic research (further details below).

I am committed to ensuring the policy and industry relevance of my social science research. In my time at Leeds, my work has been used by professional bodies to define best practice within the crowdfunding industry, to formulate national policy and regulatory activities, to lobby government on industry standards, and to develop socially-responsible business model archetypes for financing Nationally-Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) as well as the EU’s green energy transition. I have also worked as a consultant to UK think tanks and civil society groups, e.g. Finance Innovation Lab, FinTech North, New Economics Foundation, and Compass.

I enjoy communicating aspects of my research in the media, having appeared in two independent documentary films (The Trouble with Being Human These Days, 2013; Money: A Confused User’s Guide, 2015), and via recent interviews on regional radio and in the press.


  • Founding Director of the Bauman Institute

Research interests

At the intersection of capitalism and democracy, I am currenrly evaluating financial innovations that promise to enhance opportunities for citizens to deliver socially-beneficial outcomes with their money, e.g. FinTech, Crowdfunding, BlockChain, and other DLT Cryptocurrencies. This mutli-disciplinary research programme is supported by the following grants:

2018-2021 EU Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Actions (Social Sciences and Humanities Support for the Energy Union)

2018 UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

2017-2018 Horizon 2020 / Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (Individual Fellowship)

2015-2016 Friends Provident Foundation

2015 Energy Systems Catapult Ltd

2014 Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd

2012 Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd

  • (PI) Social Impacts of Local Energy Developments (SLED): A case study of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (with Dr Katy Wright, 24 months), Value: £97,000.00
<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>


  • PhD Freedom in the English-language Writings of Zygmunt Bauman
  • MA Sociology (Leeds)
  • BA Hons Social Science (Newcastle)

Professional memberships

  • External Examiner at the Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), University of Kent - from 2019

Student education

My teaching within the School focuses upon the broad areas of financialization and innovation; consumerism; capitalism, democracy and global finance; economic sociology and political economy; modern sociological theory; and philosophy of social science.

I am interested in supervising undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral students who are enthusiastic and self-motivated to study in any area relevant to my main research activities.

Research groups and institutes

  • The Bauman Institute

Current postgraduate research students

<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://essl.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>