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Centre of African Studies: People


Jean-Benoit Falisse

Jean-Benoit Falisse
Dr Jean-Benoit Falisse
Lecturer in Africa and International Development
4.01 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0) 131 651 1632
Research Interests
African Great Lakes region, Health policy, Access to justice, Access to education, Migration and development, Fragile states, Media and conflict

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • I am on a combination of research leave (sabbatical) and secondment to the Edinburgh Futures Institute in 2020 and I will not be able to supervise new student's projects during that time.


My main research interests are in the provision of basic social services (health-care, education, justice) in so-called ‘fragile’ contexts and refugee livelihoods. In the last few years, my work has been on the community governance of primary health care centres in Burundi and South Kivu in the DR Congo. I am now augmenting this research agenda with projects on the livelihood of the Burundian refugees in Tanzania, access to justice in Burundi, the ‘indigent’ label in the Congolese health system, and social accountability in education in Eastern DR Congo.

I use a mixed-methods approach that includes interviews, survey data, and experimental evidence. My background is in development studies and development economics (DPhil, Oxford and MA, Sciences Po),  history (MA, Louvain), politics (undergraduate, St Louis - Brussels), and philosophy (undergraduate, Louvain).

Prior to joining the university, I was working for the United Nations and international NGOs in the African Great Lakes region. I have continued advising international and local organisations since.


I am the inaugural director of the MSc International Development (distance learning) and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am currently involved in a research-action project on widening participation via distance learning (together with Makerere University in Uganda and the American University in Beirut.

I am a fellow of the Edinburgh Future Institute (EFI), where I am co-leading the development of a Future Societies pathway as part of the MSc organised by the EFI.

I convene the core course  Displacement and Development (distance learning and on-campus) and I  contribute to other on-campus courses.

PhD supervision

I am currently supervising 8 PhD students and I am, therefore, only able to consider supervision requests that very closely match my latest research interests. Those include people's relationship to data in the context of community participation/social accountability and repeat refugee livelihoods.

If you are interested in being supervised by Jean-Benoit Falisse, please see the links below for more information:

PhD In African Studies; PhD in International Public Health Policy; PhD in Social Policy; PhD in International Development