Dr David Cobley

Dr David Cobley

International Development Department
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

School of Government and Society
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David Cobley's main research interests lie in the area of disability and development. He has developed a new module on this topic.


  • PhD in International Development, University of Birmingham, 2012
  • MSc in Poverty Reduction and Development Management, University of Birmingham, 2008
  • BSc (Hons) in Mathematics, University of Manchester, 1987
  • LGMB Diploma in the Management of Care Services
  • NVQ Level IV Care Management
  • D32/33 NVQ Assessor’s Award


David's background is as a practitioner in the field of disability service provision. He has worked mainly within UK disability services for the past 25 years, and has been running his own residential care service in Birmingham since 1999.

David has recently completed his PhD in International Development, focusing on disability and livelihoods. He has conducted research on this topic in Uganda, Kenya and India. He has also written an NGO field manual on the topic, based on an international field staff survey and a consultancy visit to Sierra Leone.

David currently teaches on four post-graduate modules within IDD. He combines this with his continuing role as a practitioner.


David teaches on the following post-graduate modules in IDD:

  • Social Analysis of Poverty and Development (DL)
  • Dissertation Project Module (DL)
  • Disability and Development (Campus)
  • Disability and Development (DL)

Postgraduate supervision

David has examined an MPhil thesis (University of Cape Town) on the economic inclusion of disabled youths. He welcomes the opportunity to supervise post-graduate dissertations/theses on any topic related to disability in the majority world context.


Research interests

David's previous research has focused on disability and livelihoods.

Other activities

David jointly manages his own residential care service, for adults with sensory and cognitive impairments, in Birmingham.

In the past, David has worked as a Care Manager at the Birmingham Royal Institute for the Blind for six years, and served as a voluntary Board Member at New Outlook Housing Association for 13 years.

He has also conducted consultancy work for Leonard Cheshire Disability.


Academic Publications:

Cobley, D.S. (2015) ‘Typhoon Haiyan one year on: disability, poverty and participation in The Philippines’.In Disability and the Global South 2(3):686-707

Cobley, D. (2015). Disability and Development. GSDRC Professional Development Reading Pack no. 23. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham

Cobley, D. S. (2013) Disability and Economic Empowerment in Kenya and India Saarbrucken: Lambert Academic Publishing Ltd.

Cobley, D.S. (2012) ‘Towards economic empowerment: segregation versus inclusion in the Kenyan context’. In Disability and Society 27(3):371-384.

Cobley, D.S. (2013) ‘Towards economic participation: examining the impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability in India’. In Disability and Society 28(4):441-455.

Non-Academic Publications:

Cobley, D. (2006) Three Years in the Saddle. Milton Keynes: Authorhouse.