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Yul Derek Davids

Research Director, Development Capable and Ethical State, Human Sciences Research Council

Dr Yul Derek Davids is a Research Director in the Development Capable and Ethical State (DCES) division at the HSRC. He holds a PhD in Political Science and his dissertation focused on evaluating perceptions of the causes of poverty. He has a keen interest in the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable people such as the poor, women and children, and how poor socio-economic conditions impacts on their ability to live a good quality life with less risk of falling into poverty and or ill-health. He also works in the area of democracy and governance and social cohesion in particular.

His expertise includes project management, project conceptualisation, proposal writing, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) through both quantitative and qualitative research, data analyses, report writing, presentations of results, and project reporting. In specific, he has managed more than fifty national representative surveys in more than 12 African countries which included the Afrobarometer surveys in Southern Africa. While Derek has worked on more than 60 national and international projects, his strength is in Monitoring and Evaluation using in particular representative surveys as a research tool. His experience includes consultancy work for the International Foundation for Elections Systems (IFES) in Uganda and Management Systems International (MSI) in Nigeria as well as for USAID in Tanzania.

He has published extensively and represented the HSRC both at national and international conferences. He was co-editor of the South African Social Attitudes 2nd Report: Reflections on the Age of Hope book published by the HSRC Press. His most recent publication is titled “Factors affecting the performance of South African municipal officials: stakeholders’ perspectives” published in the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (December 2021). He has excellent organisational and client relationship skills gained through his project experience at all levels and with a wide range of government, non-government organisations as well as private sector.


  • –present
    Chief Research Specialist, Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery , Human Sciences Research Council