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Sam is a Senior Research Officer in the Politics and Governance programme. He specialises in adaptive and politically-smart development programming, in particular politically-smart democracy and civil society support.

Sam's research focuses on understanding the politics of development challenges, and how public organisations can be better equipped to navigate these dynamics and work in more adaptive and politically smart ways. His work explores how adaptive approaches intersect with bureaucratic politics and processes, both within aid donors and the public sector more broadly.

He also has experience of political economy analyses in various sectors, including on civil society engagement in tax reform and phasing out of plastic production. His recent research explores the politics of international support to civil society in restrictive and shifting civic spaces.

His other research interests include the sources of development commitment amongst political elites, particularly within authoritarian regimes; and mixed-method approaches to understanding behaviour in post-conflict societies.

He holds an MA in Development, Governance and Public Policy from the Institute of Development Studies, where he previously worked as a research assistant.’ He has fieldwork experience in Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Nepal and Ethiopia.