Francis Davis

Colleges, School and Institutes


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 co- chaired the Mayor of West Midlands Faith and Cohesion steering group and regional summit, having previously directed the Mayor of London’s inter-faith conference.

He has been ranked as among the 100 most influential British Catholics by The Tablet and described by the UK Catholic Herald as ‘the Clark Kent of British Catholicism'! That said he has published print and broadcast journalism, letters, and several studies of leadership (failure), governance (weakness), resource (mis)use and transparency (failure) by Catholic and other religious and civil society institutions.

He holds enhanced DBS (child protection) and fit and proper persons clearances in his role as a non-executive director in the NHS and a governor in the FE Sector. A successful social entrepreneur and journalist on social innovation he has invented, founded or co-founded over forty social ventures addressing pressing social challenges attracting millions in investment and revenues, creating hundreds of jobs and supporting  thousands of clients.

His media contributions include work for BBC World, BBC 1 TV, 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,Caritas International, the Buncher Inter-Faith Conference and with initiatives supporting Bosnian rape victims.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

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