Professor Francis Davis BA MSc MPA FRGS

Professor Francis Davis

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Religion, Communities and Public Policy
Director of Policy, Edward Cadbury Centre

Contact details

I work at the intersection of business, civil society, and central and local governments. I am especially keen to hear from others interested in questions of governance, human rights, civic innovation, poverty reduction and enterprise especially as applied to communities with complex challenges, globalising cities, island/landlocked economies and SADCC countries. I am Director of Public Policy for the Edward Cadbury Centre.


  • BA Theology & Social Policy (Durham, 1989)
  • MSc International Politics of Asia and Africa (SOAS, 1997)
  • PGCert Voluntary Sector Management (Southampton, 2001)
  • MPA Public and Voluntary Sector Administration (Warwick, 2004)


Professor Davis previously taught social sciences at Oxford (where he held a Fellowship), at Cambridge and at a number of business schools, where his mid-career students included mayoral candidates in major Southeast Asian cities, advisors to Presidential candidates in the Global South, leaders in the refugee and UN sectors and those now in the leadership of Apple and Nominet as well as of major religious communities. He has advised at the UK cabinet level. His research has been debated by parliament and has been described as ‘formidable’ and ‘ground breaking’ by the Conservative and Labour frontbenches and ‘fascinating and important’ and ‘remarkable’ by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Heavily involved in inter-religious and mainstream collaborations around poverty reduction and enterprise, he has been ranked as among the 100 most influential British Catholics by The Tablet while the UK Catholic Herald once described him as ‘the Clark Kent of British Catholicism’. His media contributions include work for BBC World, BBC TV1, BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight , Straits Times, US Public Radio and The Economist.

A Zambian by birth with long standing interests in Southern Africa, he has served on commissions and projects of the Erste Foundation, Mercy Corps International, The Mayor of London, Caritas International, the Buncher Inter-Faith Conference and with initiatives supporting Bosnian rape victims. 

Postgraduate supervision

  • Faith based social action, innovation, social enterprise, NGO's, philanthropy and politics
  • Topics associated with religion and public policy
  • Catholic studies,  especially Caritas studies
  • Religion, faith, severe mental ill health, disability and inclusion
  • The role of advisors, public intellectuals politicians, activists and cabinets
  • Poverty, cities, inner city communities and theology
  • Religious responses to local governance and decentralisation



  • F. Davis (ed) Essays English and Radical –with contributors including Rt Hon Jon Cruddas MP and Professor Ted Cantell (forthcoming)
  • F. Davis and K. Chappell (2011) The Catholic Social Conscience (Gracewing) with a foreword from Rt Rev Declan Lang.

Special editions of journals

Policy Studies and Civil Society:

  • F. Davis and A. Bradstock (2010) Beyond Bureaucracy – The New Localism (special edition of Crucible – The Journal For Social Responsibility) (SCM Press)
  • F. Davis (guest editor) (2009) Special Edition: Religion, Third Sector and Public Management, Public Money And Management (Vol 26, Nov)  (Routledge)

Inter-Disciplinary: Leadership in Religious Institutions

  • F. Davis (ed) (2011) Renewing The Catholic Social Conscience – with contributions from Professors Mary Jo Bane (Harvard), Chris McCruddeon (Oxford), Johan Verstraaten (Leiven), Julie McClague (Glasgow) a special edition of The International Journal of Public Theology (Brill, Leiden)
  • F. Davis and A. Bradstock (ed 2009) Special Edition: Faith, Welfare And Well-Being: New Directions International Journal of Public Theology (Brill,Leiden)

Journal articles

  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Faith Based Advocacy and European Social Inclusion Process’, in Public Money And Management 29, 6.
  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Ideas, Institutions and Poverty Reduction’ in International Journal of Public Theology 3, 1.
  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Demise of Radicalism Or Re-Invention Of Governance? : Faith And The Welfare State’ in Crucible – Journal of Social Responsibility.


  • F. Davis et al (2008) Moral, But No Compass – Church, Government And Welfare Reform (Matthew James Publishing) (featured on the front page in The Times, with leaders in every broadsheet)
  • J. Stankeviciute, J . Rossiter, F. Davis (2008) National Mapping of Advocacy work alongside asylum seekers, refugees and migrants of the catholic Church (funded by CAFOD and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales).
  • F. Davis et al (2007, 2008, 2008) European Public Value and the Social Inclusion Process – Three interrelated 22 country studies tracking the anti-poverty advocacy of  religious national voluntary sector social welfare agencies across the EU 2006-08.  Funded by EC. Progress Programme (published in French 2007,08,09 and widely cited)
  • F. Davis; D. Ebbutt and R. Kaggwa (2007) The Ground of Justice – An Exploratory Study Into The Living And Working Conditions of One Thousand New London Arrivals (Funded by a consortium of London charities and Dioceses;  made front page in The Times).


  • F. Davis (2010) The Big Society - A View From The South. SCA Institute (fully covered by Sunday Telegraph)
  • F. Davis and N. Koblintz (2009) : Mutual Futures – Ed Balls, Michael Gove and the Challenge to Religious Education – Las Casas Insights Series  (fully covered by the Times)
  • F. Davis. (2009) How to Do It? : Launching a Health Based Social Enterprise. SCA Social Enterprise Institute/NHS
  • G. Mulgan, R. Ali, F. Davis et al (2006) Social Silicon Valleys. British Council/Young Foundation (Radio 4 Guardian).
  • F.Davis (2005) Faith In Social Enterprise. Triodos Bank/Christian Socialist Movement.


  • Government – business – community relations especially civic innovation and cohesion
  • Race, faith, community empowerment
  • Contemporary religion and society especially government – religion relations
  • Social entrepreneurship and faith
  • Religious freedom
  • The political economy of religions
  • The politics, policy advocacy and anti-poverty action of Christian Churches and especially international Roman Catholic institutions.


Contemporary religion and society; social entrepreneurship and faith; faith-based organisations as policy and political actors (and their social engagement) and the policy and politics of race, cohesion and political violence/’radicalisation’.

Professor Davis served as a policy advisor on faith and communities at Cabinet level to the last Labour government and as an advisor at Ministerial and Number 10 level on Cities, voluntary action and decentralisation under the Coalition. He speaks and advises widely on policy-related issues in the areas of religion, social action and social engagement.