Dr David Cobley

Dr David Cobley

International Development Department
Director of Education

Contact details

School of Government
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David Cobley is a Lecturer in Disability and Development and Director of Education. David’s main teaching and research interests lie within the field of disability and international development.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2019
  • 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 has taught within the International Development Department since 2012, and became a lecturer in 2021. Prior to this, he has spent much of the past 35 years working within the UK disability sector, first as a carer and then more recently as a care manager and care home proprietor. He has conducted research and consultancy work on disability in several countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, India and the Philippines. He has also written a textbook, published by Routledge in 2018, entitled ‘Disability and International Development: A Guide for Students and Practitioners’.


David convenes the following modules:

  • Disability and Inclusive Development (PG On Campus)
  • International Development (PG On Campus)
  • Disability and Development (PG Distance Learning)
  • Distance Learning Induction Module (PG Distance Learning)

David contributes to the following modules:

  • Poverty, Inequality and Development (PG On Campus)
  • Social Analysis of Poverty and Development (PG Distance Learning)
  • Global Development Challenges (UG On Campus)

Postgraduate supervision

David regularly supervises Masters level dissertations and is currently supervising two PhD students. He has examined an MPhil Thesis and a PhD thesis, both at the University of Cape Town.


Research interests

David's previous research has focused on disability, especially around livelihoods, disaster recovery and the impact of COVID-19.

Other activities

  • Care home owner/manager (1999 – 2020)
  • Board Member at New Outlook Housing Association (2003-2013)
  • Care Manager at New Outlook Housing Association (1994 - 1999)


Recent publications


Cobley, D 2023, Disability and International Development: A Guide for Students and Practitioners. 2 edn, Routledge. <https://www.routledge.com/Disability-and-International-Development-A-Guide-for-Students-and-Practitioners/Cobley/p/book/9781032187471>

Cobley, D 2018, Disability and International Development: A Guide for Students and Practitioners. Rethinking Development, Routledge, London. <https://www.routledge.com/Disability-and-International-Development-A-Guide-for-Students-and-Practitioners/Cobley/p/book/9781138631915>

Cobley, D 2013, Disability and Economic Empowerment in Kenya and India. Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken.


Cobley, D 2022, 'Rising to the challenge: disability organisations in the COVID-19 pandemic', Disability & Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2022.2114884

Cobley, D 2015, 'Typhoon Haiyan one year on: disability, poverty and participation in the Philippines', Disability and the Global South, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 686-707. <https://disabilityglobalsouth.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/dgs-02-03-01.pdf>

Cobley, D 2013, 'Towards Economic Participation: Examining the Impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in India', Disability & Society, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 441.

Cobley, D 2012, 'Towards Economic Empowerment: Segregation versus Inclusion in the Kenyan Context', Disability & Society, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 371.


Cobley, D 2022, Disability and Sustainable Livelihoods: Towards Inclusive Community-Based Development. in F Nunan, C Barnes & S Krishnamurthy (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Livelihoods in the Global South. 1st edn, Routledge International Handbooks, Routledge, London, pp. 246-256. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003014041-26

Commissioned report

Cobley, D 2015, Disability and Development. Professional Development reading Pack, GSDRC.

Other contribution

Cobley, D 2015, Disability and Development. GSDRC Professional Development Reading Pack No. 23..

View all publications in research portal