Global Challenges Academy

Staff Profile

Dr Steve Humble MBE

Reader in Global Development


Dr Steve Humble is a Reader in Global Development and carries out research in sub Saharan Africa and India and teaches Global Development at UG, PGT and PhD levels.

He is an expert around analysing data from large samples using advanced statistical techniques using both STATA and SPSS. His most recent book "Quantitative Analysis of Questionnaires: Techniques to Explore Structures and Relationships" published by Routledge. The book provides an ideal textbook for students looking to improve statistical interpretation of choice decisions. 

Humble is currently the Co-Investigator on grants totalling £1 million being carried out in India. First, funded by the Rising Tide Foundation "Identifying Best Practice for Empowerment Through Entrepreneurial Freedom" and second funded by the British Academy a project that is researching employment skills and empowerment for young women from rural and marginalised communities in Delhi, India.

His present research also includes phonics in government schools in northern Nigeria, HIV stigma in Zimbabwe, Gender Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa and coping strategies around COVID 19 in the UK and Asia.

One of two REF 2021 Impact Case Studies submitted in Education (UoA23) featured Steve's work in Africa and India. The ICS "Improving Primary and Secondary Schooling for the Marginalised in East and West Africa and India" shows how research at Newcastle University has been instrumental in changing education policy and practice internationally and has enabled grassroots awareness and knowledge transfer amongst communities, philanthropists, governments and NGOs. 

Currently Steve is the Degree Programme Director for MA (International Development and Education) and MA (International Development and Education with Cross Cultural Communication). 

Steve is the Co-Champion for the Sustainable Livelihoods Network within the Global Challenges Academy which is a multidisciplinary research group involving University colleagues from the Schools of Arts and Cultures, Engineering, Law, Institute of Cellular Medicine and the Institute of Neuroscience. As Co-Champion for the Network Humble leads the team to influence the international research agenda.

Google Scholar

Awards and Honours

Awarded MBE, a grade within the British order of chivalry - Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Services to Education in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List

Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications (FIMA)

Author of the Month Routledge Education How to be Inventive when Teaching Primary Mathematics, Routledge, April 2015

Guinness World Record “Maths Treasure Hunt” on the Newcastle upon Tyne Quayside -1001 children, July 2014

Awarded the Commission to Design the Logic Walk for the London Underground 150 years celebrations “The Tube Trail”.

Professional Bodies

GCRF Peer Review Assessor ESRC (2019 - )

Member of ALCAB committee (ten members), UK Government Russell University group, reforming A level Mathematics. Designing and informing Ofqual on the new UK A level Mathematics curriculum (2014 - 2015)

Member of the European Mathematical Society (EMS) committee for Raising the Public Awareness of Mathematics in Europe (UK representative 2013 - 2017)

External examiner for University of Plymouth MA Education programme (2019 - 2022 )

External examiner for Teesside University ITE programmes (2014-17)

Member of the IMAs Schools and FE Committee (2006-2014)

Member of the London Mathematics Society Education Committee (2008-2011)

Princes’ Trust Teaching Institute (2011-2014)


Head of Education, Newcastle University (2017-2019). In this role Steve worked with colleagues around the Internal Quality Assessment strategy and the current pathway to the REF submission. 

Acting Head of the School of Education, Communication and Languages Sciences, Newcastle University (2018)


Current Research

  • Sustainable livelihoods research in informal settlements around household choice and opportunities to access education, health, water and transport. Communities working together to solve complex problems through polycentric systems (Ostrom, 2005). 
  • Sustainable youth futures interdisciplinary research looking to address employment discrimination for young women based on their gender, caste, geographical location and religious beliefs through the co-development of a life and employment skills course. Delhi, India.
  • Improving school quality through community participation by parental and local body involvement in school management committees in Tamil Nadu, India
  • Multidisciplinary research of a HIV stigma intervention in Zimbabwe.
  • Multidisciplinary research of gender based violence in South Africa.
  • Longitudinal study into inclusive WASH for sustainable schools throughout Sierra Leone. 
  • Multidisciplinary research into the impact of COVID in the UK, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. 
  • Longitudinal study of phonics intervention in 40 local government areas in Nigeria. 

Current Grants

  • Rising Tide Foundation. Identifying Best Practice for Empowerment through Entrepreneurial Freedom, in informal settlements in Delhi, India. Co-I with PI Professor Pauline Dixon. £441,000, grant awarded. 2021-2024.
  • Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). Arts-to-Action: Research for Gender Equality in South Africa. A focus on informal settlements and migrant communities. Co-Investigator and Statistician. 2022 - 2023
  • Evaluation of a phonics intervention study in 40 local government areas in Nigeria. 2019-2023

Past Research

  • The British Academy, GCRF Youth Futures. Addressing societal gender, geographical locations, religious and caste discrimination through developing a life and employment skills course and accompanying social marketing campaign. Co-I £222,538, grant awarded. 2020-2022
  • EPSRC Quantifying perceptions of antibiotic resistance and its causes to promote decentralised wastewater treatment. 2019-2020
  • Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. Inclusive WASH for sustainable schools in Sierra Leone. Longitudinal study. 2019-2021
  • Department for International Development (DFID). Nigeria Schools Project. 2018-2019
  • ESRC - Development Frontiers - The Identification and Nurturing of High Ability Children in low income areas of Dar es salaam, Tanzania 2014-2015, £100,000 grant awarded. 
  • DFID, Appointed Statistician, March 2013-December 2013, £31,774, Main Phase of Logs State Household Poverty and School choice survey, grant awarded.
  • John Templeton Foundation, Appointed Statistician, April 2011-May 2013, Low cost private schools in the world’s most difficult places: the role of for-profit private education in conflict affected states in Africa, £270,000 grant awarded.   

Selected professional activities

Invited to present on longitudinal study results assessing the psychological impact of COVID-19 at NEESAMA Annual meeting with Dr Aditya Sharma, November, 2022

Invited to present at the Johor Mental Health Convention (JMHC) 2022. Cope with COVID: Initial mixed methods findings from a longitudinal study assessing the psychological impact of COVID-19 across the world. Presented with Professor Shekar Seshadri (NIMHANS, India) and Dr Aditya Sharma (Newcastle University), October, 2022

Invited to take part in the House of Lords high level panel discussion on Education in Emergencies. Hosted by General Lord Dannatt, opened by Sarah, Duchess of York and chaired by The Rt.Hon, Sir Stephen O'Brien former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, February 2019.

Invited attendee and participant in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Teacher Crisis as a guest of Stephen Twigg, MP, Thatcher Room, Palace of Westminister, London, November 2018.

Keynote speaker and dinner guest University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform, “School choice in fragile states: findings from Sierra Leone and Liberia” April 2017.

Invited attendee and participant Dubai “Global Education and Skills Forum” – The Davos of Education where the worlds Teacher Prize is announced – Bringing together leaders from the public, private and social sectors to find solutions which will achieve education, equity and employment for all, March 2017.

Invited to take part in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Education for All, guest of Mark Williams, MP, Jubilee Room, Palace of Westminster, London, November 2016.

Invited Speaker Scotland National Numeracy conference, Every Child Counts, “Learning mathematics outside the classroom”, October 2016.

TEDx Newcastle “Slum Super Stars” Sunday 5th July 2015.

Invited speaker, San Francisco, California, USA including: Khan Academy, Google, Stanford University and the Hewlett Foundation, ESRC Impact dissemination events “Development Frontiers”, June 2015. 

Keynote Speaker, University of Connecticut, Neag Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development, Center for Education Policy Analysis and Office of the Dean at the Neag School of Education, and the Office of Global Affairs "Slum Super Stars - Alleviating Poverty in Talented Children in Africa" 21st May 2015.

Invited Speaker, Recreational Mathematics Colloquium IV, Lisbon, Portugal “Street Maths: What’s the Chance of That?”, January 2015.

Invited Speaker, EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF14), Street Math European Mathematical Society, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2014.

Invited participant, The Royal Society, Westminster, London, presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. Launch of Institute of Mathematics celebratory book (co-author), 14th May 2014.   

Invited Lecturer on Seminar Series, Edgehill University, Liverpool, Primary Trainee Teachers, February 2014.

After Dinner Speaker, Stockholm Sweden Kunskapsskolan Academy Chain of Schools event, “Africa’s Got Talent”, Including Neo Magazine interview and dissemination, November 2013.  

Invited speaker, Seminar Series, The Liverpool Mathematics Society Popular Lecture, “The Randomness Show”, March 2013.

Invited Speaker (joint with Carol Vorderman), Cheltenham Festival, “Magic Numbers”, June 2009.


Courses Taught at Newcastle University

Courses explore development through the lens of dignity, choice and freedom. The modules are informed by Steve's research in development over the last 10 years in the Global South. He has gathered empirical data from informal settlements around the world and this gives students the opportunity to explore development policy from the grassroots. As Elinor Ostrom stated people on the spot have the strongest incentive to solve problems and find the right solutions that work for them.

Undergraduate Teaching

BA (Education):

  • EDU1002 International Development 
  • EDU2008 Globalisation and Development
  • EDU3012 Contemporary Issues in Development
  • EDU3001 Research Dissertation - Surveys, questionnaires and analysis

Postgraduate Teaching

MA (International Development and Education) and MA (International Development and Education with Cross Cultural Communication):

  • EDU8211 Education Policy and Entrepreneurship for Development 
  • EDU8214 International Development: Theory and Practice 
  • EDU8212 Placement Module 
  • EDU8215 Dissertation: International Development and Education

HSS8005 Quantitative Methods with a focus on Stata and SPSS.

  • Quantitive methods including modelling, factor analysis, multilevel modelling, longitudinal data analysis, structural equation modelling, factorial survey experiments and discrete choice theory. 

Postgraduate Research Students

PhD students interested in using quantitative methods with a focus on survey instruments.

PhD completions:

  • Dr. Gopalkrishnan Iyer (2018) - The Impact of the Right to Education Act on schooling in Delhi, India.
  • Dr. Farrah Khan (2018)  - Education vouchers and their affect on schooling in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Dr. Phanlapa Khathayut (2019) - Investigation into the awareness of plagiarism of Thai undergraduates
  • Dr. Fathiya Al Rahbi (2020) - Comparison of school choice and effectiveness in Muscat, the Sultanate of Oman.
  • Dr. Lydia Lymperis (2021) - Deep language learning at a distance: Investigating the efficacy of a low-cost blended intervention in small rural schools in Greece. 
  • Dr. Jack Charnley (2022) - Water and Sanitation in Schools in Delhi, India.

Current Students:

  • Chris Middleton - An investigation of the impact of a field study abroad on intercultural competence 
  • Laura Vitty - An Investigation of the affects school and family on students science outcome in Estonia using PISA data.
  • Aram Ihsan Saleh - The Impact of parental schools choice on the educational process in Kurdistan, Iraq
  • Rachel McKeon-Clark - An exploration into the education of children with special needs in Hyderabad, India.
  • Darren Irvine-Duffy - Being Global with SDG Goal 4.7: A comparative study of Delhi's informal settlement communities and their perceptions of global citizenship post COVID 19.