Dr Robert Leurs

Dr Robert Leurs

International Development Department
Associate Professor

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

I have had wide ranging consultancy and research based experience in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East during the 1990s, around the theme of participatory development and, during the last decade, on general budget support and on the role of faith based organisations in development.  I have also had extensive experience running workshops and short courses around the theme of participatory development during the 1990s. Since 2000, the focus of my work has shifted to postgraduate teaching, on rural development, NGOs and the social analysis of poverty and inequality, in both on campus and distance learning modes, together with increasing roles in programme management and the management of learning and teaching in the department more generally. 


  • 1989 PhD, University of Manchester
  • 1985 MSc, University of Manchester
  • 1982 Licence, University of Paris
  • 1981 BA, University of Kent
  • 1980 Diploma, University of Paris


Robert studied Economics and Law at the University of Kent and French Law at the University of Paris. He then went on to study Science and Technology Policy for Developing Countries at the Univeristy of Manchester, where he also obtained his PhD in 1989, after which he joined IDD, in 1989.


I direct the campus based IDD Masters Programmes on International Development and on Poverty, Inequality and Development, and convene and teach on several modules (Rural Poverty and Development, Social Analysis of Development/Poverty and Inequality and NGOs in a Changing International Context), in both campus based and distance learning modes.

I am not currently supervising  any PhD students.

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising two PhD students, one of whom is studying the sustainability of rural water points in Malawi. The other is studying Charismatic Christianity and adherent social mobility in Ghana.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Technology for rural development in India.


Research and teaching interests

  • Participatory development
  • 'New' development professionalism
  • Process approaches to projects
  • Bureaucratic reorientation / learning methods
  • Participatory poverty assessments
  • Participatory rural appraisal (PRA)
  • Participatory learning methodologies

Current and recent research and consultancy projects

  • Religions in Development RPC, DFID
  • Evaluation of General Budget Support - Vietnam Case Study
  • Study of Donor Practices in Partner Developing Countries

Other activities

Previous experiences

  • Project Officer, DFID funded Project in the Planning and Management of Rural Development in Nigeria, based at Ahmadu Bello University
  • Researched and co-drafted a DFID commissioned Guide for the Analysis of Social Development Projects


Leurs, R (2013), Are faith based organisations distinctive? Comparing religious and secular NGOs in Nigeria, in Religion, Religious Organisations and Development, edited by Carole Rakodi, Routledge.

Leurs, R and Tomalin, E (2011) Mapping the Development Activities of Local Faith-based Organisations in Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania, forthcoming Religions and Development Working Paper

Davis, C, Jegede, A, Leurs, R  Sunmola A and Ukiwo, U (2011) Comparing Religious and Secular NGOs in Nigeria: Are Faith-Based Organisations Distinctive?, Religions and Development Working Paper 56

Leurs, R, Tumaini-Mungu and Mvungi, A (2011) Mapping the Development Activities of Faith-based Organisations in Tanzania,  Religions and Development Working Paper 58

Leurs, R (2005), Aid disbursement delays: measures, causes, solutions, Public Administration and Development, Vol 25, (5) 379-387

Leurs R (2003) Critical reflections on rapid and participatory rural appraisal, in Eade D, (ed), Development Methods and Approaches: Critical reflections,A Development in Practice Reader, Oxfam GB

Leurs R (2001) Evaluation of Rakai District Development Programme Uganda, Report on Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danida, Copenhagen

Leurs R (2000) Evaluation of the Monitoring and Evaluation Systems in Rakai District Council, DANIDA Evaluation Secretariat, Working Paper

Leurs R (2000) 'The role of the State in enabling private sector development: An assessment methodology', Public Administration and Development

Leurs R (1998) Current challenges facing participatory rural appraisal in Who Changes?, in Blackburn J, Holland J (eds), IT Publications, London

Leurs R, Barnes M, Hall D, McIver S, Stewart J (1997) Citizen Participation: A Framework for Evaluation, School of Public Policy Occasional Paper 11

Leurs R (1997) Critical Reflections on Rapid and Participatory Rural Appraisal. Development Methods and Approaches, D Eade, J Rowlands (eds), Oxfam Publications, pp. 220-226

View all publications in research portal