Dr David Murphy, PhD

  • Senior Lecturer in Strategic Collaboration and Sustainability
  • Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership
  • Institute for Leadership and Sustainability
  • Business
Dr David Murphy, PhD


Dr David F. Murphy is Senior Lecturer in Strategic Collaboration & Sustainability and Academic Lead of the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), University of Cumbria.

David has extensive international experience of working on multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration with senior leaders and change agents in business, government, NGOs, and the UN system, including related teaching, applied research and consultancy on partnerships for sustainable development.

Recent projects include: an international study on collaboration for deep adaptation to climate change; and a wider review of the transformational potential of partnerships for the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

David has an MSc in Comparative Development and International Policy, and a PhD in International Policy on Sustainable Development, from the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

Qualifications and memberships

  • PhD International Policy, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol (1998)
  • MSc Comparative Development and International Policy, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol (1993)
  • BEd Secondary English, University of Calgary (1987)

Academic and research interests

  • Business-NGO relations on sustainable development
  • Leadership and learning in multi-stakeholder partnerships
  • Evaluation of partnering processes and outcomes
  • Participatory action research, collaborative inquiry, appreciative inquiry, applied qualitative research


  • Murphy, D & Stott, L (2020) An Inclusive Approach to Partnerships for the SDGs: 2 Using a Relationship Lens to Explore the Potential for 3 Transformational Collaboration.  Sustainability Special Issue on Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals. (ISSN 2071-1050)
  • Murphy, DF (2013) 'The Global Mercury Partnership: Lessons learned from an independent review of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) partnership area', a paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Edinburgh, Scotland, 29 July 2013.
  • Reid, S , Murphy, DF and Pyres, J (2011) 'Approaches to Building and Managing Partnerships: Contributing to a UNESCO partnership strategy', Vol 1: Main Report & Vol. 2: Annex Report, 30 November 2011, London: The Partnering Initiative.
  • Werna, E , Keivani, R and Murphy, D (2009) Corporate Social Responsibility and Urban Development: Lessons from the South, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Recent external roles

  • Senior Associate, The Partnering Initiative, London (2008-2014)
  • Senior Associate, United Nations System Staff College, Turin, Italy (2005-2008)
  • Programme Director & Director, New Academy of Business, University of Bath (1999-2004)
  • Senior Researcher, The Body Shop plc, London, UK (1998-1999)