Dr Kate Pruce

Dr Kate Pruce

International Development Department
Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

International Development Department
Developmental Leadership Program (DLP)
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Kate Pruce is a Honorary Research Fellow in Leadership for Development with the University of Birmingham’s Development Leadership Program (DLP). Kate’s research to date has examined the politics of social protection in Zambia, with a focus on cash transfers and social health insurance. Her research interests also include the politics of development more broadly, engaging in particular with developmental leadership, gender and social justice.


  • PhD Development Policy and Management, The University of Manchester, 2019
  • MA International Development Management, The University of Manchester, 2013
  • BA (Hons) English Literature with Sociology, Trinity College Dublin, 2004


After her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Sociology, Kate gained seven years of professional experience working with national and international NGOs based in Zambia and the Netherlands, before returning to academia to study global development.

Kate completed her PhD on ‘Investigating the politics of global policy transfer: the case of social protection in Zambia’ at the University of Manchester in 2019. She has since worked as a Research Associate for Manchester’s DFID-funded Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) research centre. Most recently she held an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship based at the Global Development Institute (GDI) in Manchester. 

Kate has conducted extensive qualitative fieldwork in Zambia, and has also contributed to comparative research projects across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Her current role with DLP extends her geographical experience to include the Asia Pacific region. 

In her teaching career, Kate has taught on the politics of development, the policy process and policy analysis, as well as gender and development.


Research interests:

  • Developmental leadership and the role of coalitions
  • Global health policy and health financing
  • The politics of social protection
  • Poverty targeting and social justice
  • Gender and social policy

Current projects

The Development Leadership Program (DLP) – the DLP is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.


Pruce, K. (2021). ‘Zambia’s Social Policy Response to Covid-19: protecting the poorest or political survival?’ CRC 1342 Covid-19 Social Policy Response Series, Universität Bremen: Bremen. Available online.

Oldekop, J., Horner, R., Hulme, D., Adhikari, R., Agarwal, B., Alford, M., Bakewell, O., Banks, N., Barrientos, S., Bastia, T., Bebbington, A., Das, U., Dimova, R., Duncombe, R., Enns, C., Fielding, D., Foster, C., Foster, T., Frederiksen, T., Gao, P., Gillespie, T., Heeks, R., Hickey, S., Hess, M., Jepson, N., Karamchedu, A., Kothari, U., Krishnan, A., Lavers, T., Mamman, A., Mitlin, D., Monazam Tabrizi, N., Müller, T.R., Nadvi, K., Pasquali, G., Pritchard, R., Pruce, K., Rees, C., Renken, J., Savoia, A., Schindler, S., Surmeier, A., Tampubolon, G., Tyce, M., Unnikrishnan, V. & Zhang, Y-F. (2020) 'COVID-19 and the case for global development', World Development, 134, 105044, pp. 1-4. Available online.

Pruce, K. and Hickey, S. (2019). ‘The Politics of Promoting Social Cash Transfers in Zambia’, In: Lavers, T., Niño-Zarazúa, M. & Seekings, J., (eds.) The Politics of Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. pp. 176-201. Available online.

Pruce, K. (2019). Investigating the Politics of Global Policy Transfer: the Case of Social Protection in Zambia. PhD Thesis, The University of Manchester, UK. Available online.

Pruce, K. and Hickey, S. (2017). ‘The Politics of Promoting Social Protection in Zambia’, ESID Working Paper No. 75, Effective States and Inclusive Development: Manchester, UK. Available online.

Pruce, K. and Hickey, S. (2016). ‘The Politics of Promoting Social Protection in Zambia’, WIDER Working Paper 2016/156, UNU-WIDER: Helsinki. Available online.

View all publications in research portal


Kate Pruce on Social Protection

In this Global Development Institute podcast, Dr Kate Pruce provides insights into her chapter on the politics of promoting social cash transfers in Zambia in the open access book, The Politics of Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa. The chapter looks in detail at the political dynamics in Zambia, the balance of power, how this affects redistribution decisions, and the extent to which social protection is important for the political settlement.