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Stephen Thompson

Research Fellow

Stephen Thompson is a researcher who has worked across the disciplines of geography and international development since 2007. He is currently a Fellow in the Participation Inclusion, and Social Change cluster at IDS. His research mainly focuses on the themes of social justice and inclusion.

He currently works on two major development projects that are funded by UK Aid and focus on disability inclusion in low-income contexts. Stephen previously worked on the Knowledge and Evidence for Development programme, assisting the UK Government with evidence use and policy creation. He has research interests in education (with a particular focus on inclusive education and tertiary education). He is interested in participatory methodologies and sustainable development. Stephen is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He contributes to teaching on the Masters programme in Development Studies. He tutors on the Ideas in Development, Debating Poverty and Vulnerability, and Research Design modules. He has also lectured at the University of Brighton for the Global Social Policy module of the Social Science degree. He is the School Research Ethics Officer for the Institute of Development Studies and the Investigating Officer for Academic Misconduct. He sits on the Editorial Steering Committee for The Bulletin journal. He is a peer reviewer for the Journal of International Development, European Journal of Development Research and Asian Development Review.

Stephen has previously worked for both research institutes and non-government organisations in both Europe and Africa. He completed his doctorate at the Technological University Dublin in collaboration with University KwaZulu Natal, as an African Vision Research Institute Scholar. His doctoral research focused on the social and economic impact of visual impairment in Mozambique. He has completed research consultancies for various aid agencies including those belonging to the UK, Irish, Swiss, Australian, and Norwegian governments, as well as for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, and various non-government organisations. Between 2018 and 2021 he served on the Board of the charity Vision Aid Overseas as a Trustee.



Participatory Action Research with Disabled Adolescents in Nepal (PARDAN)

Intersecting vulnerabilities of disability, low socio-economic status, marginalisation and age indicate that children and young people with disabilities are likely to be uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yet, there has been limited research from low-and middle-income countries...


Inclusive Futures

Inclusive Futures is a Consortium programme of 16 global partners, led by Sightsavers, focussing on advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities. The project brings together a diverse range of NGOs and research centres with expertise in different areas. Together we're pooling our...



Developing knowledge and learning in higher education – high level or grass roots?

Higher education is about knowledge and learning. Despite how simple this sounds, contestation remains within the university sector and beyond about what knowledge is valued by universities and how much space and freedom staff and students have to learn from it. Over 30 years ago, Sandra...

Joel Bambamba

4 July 2022


Journal Article

Mainstreaming Disability Inclusive Employment in International Development

Journal of International Development 34.5

People with disabilities are under-represented in the global workforce, and this problem is often particularly acute in the ‘global south’. This special issue seeks to provide new perspectives on why this is the case and comprises seven papers focused on disability inclusive employment. We...

Mary Wickenden
Mary Wickenden & 3 others

5 July 2022

Stephen Thompson’s recent work