Dr Mark Davis

Dr Mark Davis


I am economic sociologist of alternative finance with significant experience of working in inter-disciplinary spaces on a range of issues relating to social, environmental and economic sustainability.

I specialize in engaged, impact-oriented research that has: changed regulation in the UK’s crowdfunding markets to enhance investor protection; co-created with industry and local authorities a new Community Municipal Investment (CMI) structure to fund a pipeline of projects to deliver on local Climate Emergency strategies; and contributed to the effective design of new prosumer business models to secure the active participation of citizens in Europe’s green energy transition.

I have secured significant external research funding with grants from EC Horizon 2020, EC Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, the UK Government (DCMS/GIEU), Charitable Trusts (Friends Provident Foundation), and conducted independent social impact research for industry (Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd). This funding has supported 9 research projects that have provided the basis for publications in leading international journals focusing on innovative finance solutions to net zero energy transitions.

I am a member of the Editorial Board of the BSA’s flagship journal, Sociology, and a member of the Advisory Group for the Friends Provident Foundation’s Fair Economy grant programme.

From 2018-2021, I was external examiner for the MAs in International Development, International Political Economy, and Political Strategy and Communication at the Brussels School of International Studies

I was an Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe (2008-2011), working intermittently in Paris and Strasbourg to co-create the Charter of Shared Social Responsibilities. I have also worked with UK think tanks and civil society groups on alternative finance models for building a greener, fairer economy, including CompassFinance Innovation Lab, FinTech North, and New Economics Foundation. I enjoy the public engagement aspect of my work, being a regular panellist at the Leeds Salon, and have communicated my research via regional radio and national podcasts, and my work on CMIs has been covered by national press.

My academic leadership roles at Leeds have included founding and directing the Bauman Institute research centre (2010-2020), directing the Building Sustainable Societies Transformation Fund project (2013-2016), working on the Steering Group of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute (2014-2017), and being Admissions Tutor for the School of Sociology and Social Policy (2015-2018). I also designed and for six years led the School’s MA Social and Political Thought programme (2010-2016).


  • 2021-2023: Co-I Net Zero Neighbourhoods (UKERC Flex Fund)
  • 2017-2020: PI Financing for Society (UK Government Inclusive Economy Unit)
  • 2010-2020: Director of the Bauman Institute

Research interests

My inter-disciplinary research agenda has been supported by the following grants:

2021-2023 UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) Flexible Fund

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 Sociology and Social Theory
  • MA Sociology
  • BA (Hons) Social Science

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association
  • Friends Provident Foundation: Programme Advisory Group

Student education

In 2021/22, I am module convenor for the second year undergraduate module Central Problems in Sociology (SLSP2730).

I have supervised 7 doctoral students to completion since 2013 and I currently supervise 4 PhD Projects: Caroline Bentham, Sherif Youssef (both with LUBS), Karl Lukas Chakravorty-Aspelin and Joseph Howell (both SSP). I enjoy interdisciplinary supervision across Faculties, having supervised with colleagues in Earth & Environment and Leeds University Business School. 

I have hosted a number of international PhD students since 2010, including Soares (Brazil, 2015, 2016), Alvarez (Spain, 2019), Leiva (Mexico, 2019), and Bastero (Spain, 2018 with whom I have published). I have also examined six doctorates, three of them internationally (Andrews, 2017 - Melbourne; Aidnek, 2018 – Tallinn; Leiva, 2020 – Valencia).

I welcome new applications from doctoral students who are motivated to study in areas relevant to my own research activities.

Research groups and institutes

  • The Bauman Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<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>