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Personal profile

Research interests

Mathilde is a Senior Lecturer in International Development in the department since November 2019. Her work takes an interdisciplinary and ethnographic approach to examining the politics of development. In particular, she focuses on how politics and governance shape experiences of inequality, marginalisation and extreme poverty in Bangladesh. She is also interested in the integration of social science perspectives and disciplines to make development interventions and policies more inclusive. 

Over the past 15 years, she has provided research and analytical support to a range of international collaborators including development partners and national governments (FCDO, UNCP, UNCDF, IDRC and Save the Children, Oxfam, APPGs in the UK and Bangladesh and the government of Bangladesh) around the themes of social protection, financial inclusion and microfinance, extreme poverty reduction and resilience, and political authority. 

Below is a brief overview of some of her recent project - the full list of projects can be accessed under 'Projects'. 

  • She is the Principal Investigator (PI) for a Policy Support Fund research project engaging with the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, the Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh and the APPG Groups Extreme Poverty UK and Bangladesh to (1) add new data to our unique qualitative longitudinal dataset which contains lifehistories and wellbeing trajectories of 72 extreme poor households located in the poorest regions of Bangladesh and (2) partner with policy-makers to examine the specific dynamics of intersectionality (ethnic and religious; gender; disability and inter-generationality) and the drivers of spatial inequalities (poverty pockets).
  • She also is the PI on an FCDO-commissioned analytical study looking to support the preparation of the chapter on Extreme Poverty Reduction for The Government of Bangladesh’s 8th 5-year Plan, Ministry of Planning, General Economic Division. See our full report here and blog publication here.
  • She was Co-I on a research project titled: Consolidating power and shifting coalitions: how state, party and the opposition are changing in Bangladesh funded by the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID) at the University of Manchester. The project examined Bangladesh's political transition, the means through which the ruling party is consolidating power, containing political opposition and undermining contestation.

Prior to joining SPS, she held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Global Development Institute in 2017 for a project titled Navigating Bangladesh's political settlement: microfinance, civil society and possibilities for development to examine the means and processes civil society actors use to navigate the shifting and uncertain political dynamics in Bangladesh. 

Between 2014 and 2017, she represented the University of Bath in Bangladesh, on a large-scale extreme poverty alleviation project called EEP/SHIREE - with the mandate to lift one milion households out of extreme poverty. Her involvement in the project included the development of a longitudinal, qualitative data set, gathering life histories of households experiencing extreme poverty. This work was used as evidence to support the establishment of Extreme Poverty in the Government of Bangladesh’s 7th 5-year plan and to furthering understandings of resilience in the context of extreme poverty

  • In 2014, she completed a PhD from the Global Development Institute (then IDPM) at the University of Manchester, where her thesis explored the interaction between microfinance organisations and local social structures in rural Bangladesh, based on deep and sustained ethnographic field research both in rural and organisational settings. She examined the importance and limits to social performance in the organisational context and identified what she called a ‘practice drift’

Teaching interests

  • Researching social change 
  • Management of international development
  • Contemporary Issues in South Asian development 

Other responsibilities

Willing to supervise doctoral students

  1. Extreme Poverty and Inequality 
  2. Dynamics of marginalisation (gender, race, age and class)
  3. Politics of contestation 
  4. Civil society and NGOs
  5. Ethnographic research and participatory research methods 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Advance Higher Education, Advance HE's Leadership Development in HE for Women, Higher Education Academy

Sept 2021Jul 2022

Award Date: 30 Jul 2022

Qualification , Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, University of Bath , Higher Education Academy

Award Date: 1 Feb 2017

International Development, Doctor of Philosophy, The Social Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Rural Bangladesh, University of Manchester


Award Date: 15 Sept 2013

International Development, Master of Arts, International Development: Development Management , Global Development Institute, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 27 Sept 2009

External positions

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Development Studies

2022 → …

Editorial Board Member, World Development Perspectives Journal

2022 → …


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • GN Anthropology
  • JQ Political institutions Asia
  • HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
  • HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
  • HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
  • HT Communities. Classes. Races


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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