Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
 More search options
Dr Matthew Davies
Institute for Global Prosperity
7th Floor, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road
Dr Matthew Davies profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

I am Associate Professor in Global Prosperity at the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP). I am the Institute's Director of Education and Programme Lead for the MSc Global Prosperity. I conduct research in to questions surrounding prosperity and the environment and head-up programmes of research in Kenya. 

I am trained as both an anthropologist and archaeologist with BA and MSt Degrees from the University of Oxford. I completed my doctorate on the applied archaeology and anthropology of farming systems in northwest Kenya in Oxford in 2009 and then took up the post of Assistant Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) based in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2010 to 2013 I held a joint fellowship in East African Archaeology with the BIEA and the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. From 2014-2015 I was Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the McDonald Institute. Most recently I was Lecturer in African Studies at UCL before moving to IGP.

In addition to being Program Lead for teaching at IGP, I am also Chair of the cross-faculty MSc Built Environment Examination Board, Departmental Graduate Tutor and a member of Faculty Teaching Committees. I am a Trustee and sit on the Governing Council and Research and Development Committees of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. I am a member of the UCL African Studies Steering Committee and am an external examiner at the University of Aberdeen. I have been  a senior editor for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History and sit on the editorial board of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal. I have previously been a member of the governing councils of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK), the Cambridge African Studies Centre and the African Archaeological Conservation Advisory Committee of the PanAfrican Archaeological Association. I was also previously a Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge. 

My research has been funded by the ESRC, AHRC, GCRF, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Newton Trust, Wenner-Gren, British Institute in Eastern Africa, McDonald Institute, Tweedie Exploration Fund and the UCL Global Engagement Office.  

Outside of academia I have a wonderful wife, son and daughter and I love running, cycling, swimming and trekking!

Research Summary

My research examines a range of issues around long-term prosperity, society and the environment. I am especially interested in the management of landscapes, ecological diversity, climate, and questions of sustainability and resilience. Most of my work has focussed on agricultural systems in Eastern Africa and has examined community practice and knowledge archaeologically, historically and anthropologically, often employing a perspective known as historical ecology. This work has involved analyses of the spatial, material and temporal dynamics of farming systems, including understandings of soils, crops, irrigation, exchange networks and forests/vegetation over the last few hundred years. I have also explored contemporary archaeologies of failed external 'development' and my work is increasingly drawn towards wider analyses of food systems, agro-ecology, food sovereignty, farmer innovation and intersections with nutrition and health. My work often employs practices of physically mapping the landscape and I work closely with local Social Citizen Scientists within a trans-disciplinary framework. Recently I have headed a project working with Maasai herding and Marakwet farming communities to capture and map botanic knowledge using smartphone applications. I am currently PI of two AHRC funded projects exploring farmer innovation through time in Kenya, including how communities have responded to crises. At the Institute for Global Prosperity I head-up a growing portfolio of research in Kenya with particular focus on the Elgeyo-Marakwet Community. By working with the Elgeyo-Marakwet County Government and a range of UK and international partners, this work aims to have significant policy impacts. 

As part of the wider IGP community, I am also developing work on prosperity metrics and on wider questions around 'Natural Prosperity'. I also undertake a range of work on the deeper archaeology and heritage of Eastern Africa and have researched and written widely on the the archaeology of Eastern African agricultural systems, the Later Iron Age of the region, monuments and stone cairns, historical and contemporary archaeology, and the archaeology of South Sudan.

Teaching Summary

Post-graduate Taught

I am currently the program lead for the MSc Global Prosperity. I lead on the following MSc Modules:

Research Methods 1: Measuring Global Prosperity

Pathways to Prosperity 2: Global Futures

I also teach on a number of other IGP modules and have offered several lectures on the UCL African Studies Programme. I regularly supervise a large number of MSc dissertation theses. 

My other teaching related responsibilities include: Departmental Graduate Tutor (PGT), Admissions Tutor (PGT), Chair of departmental teaching committees (DTC, SSCC), Chair MSc Built Environment Examination Board. 

Post-graduate Research

I currently supervise five PhD projects:

- David Kay, Domestic Space and Settlement in Marakwet, Northwest Kenya. University of Cambridge (AHRC)

- Hadiqa Khan, The Material Cultures of Refuge in Lebanon. University College London (AHRC)

- Adam Willman, Organic Farming and Innovation in Ethiopia and Kenya. SOAS (ESRC)

- Larissa Lai, Community Food Programmes in New York and Iceland. University College London.

- Franklin Murillo, Prosperity Metrics and the Social Progress Index. University College London.

Recently completed

- Chioma Ngonadi, The development and archaeology of farming in Lejju, Southeast Nigeria. University of Cambridge (Gates Trust)

- Samuel Lunn-Rockliffe, Connecting Past and Present: Sengwer Hunter-Gatherers of the Cherangani Hills, Kenya. University of Oxford (AHRC)

01-AUG-2018 Associate Professor Institute for Global Prosperity University College London, United Kingdom
01-APR-2018 Lecturer in Global Prosperity Institute for Global Prosperity University College London, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2015 – 31-MAR-2018 Lecturer in African Studies SELCS/CMII/African Studies University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2014 – 30-JUN-2015 Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow McDonald Institute/Archaeology University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2010 – 30-DEC-2013 Fellow in East African Archaeology McDonald Institute/Archaeology University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
01-NOV-2008 – 30-SEP-2010 Assistant Director British Institute in Eastern Africa BIEA, Kenya
01-OCT-2005 – 01-JAN-2009 DPhil Archaeology (AHRC studentship) Institute of Archaeology University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2017   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow University College London
Please report any queries concerning the data shown on this page to https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/helpdesk/helpdesk_web_form.php
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by