School of Earth and Environment

Laura Smith Laura Smith

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address:
Room: 9.124

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


I am a part-time PhD candidate in the Sustainability Research Institute and a part-time lecturer in the school of Politics and International Studies. My research explores the development of Uganda's oil industry, with a focus on the role of civil society organisations and international oil companies as private governance actors.

I manage the undergraduate module PIED1212 'Making of the Modern World' in the school of Politics and International Studies, where I am also the tutor for the Access to Leeds international development pathway.

I am administrator for the Centre for Global Development, which is an interdisciplinary research network of international development scholars at the Univeristy of Leeds, and a member of the RiDNet (Researchers in Development) management committee.


BA (Hons.) International Business Studies, University of Northumbria (1997)

MA Peace Studies, University of Bradford (2005)


RiDNet (Researchers in Development Network), University of Leeds

Centre for Global Development, University of Leeds

Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability Research Group, University of Leeds

Research Interests

  • Political economy of resources and development
  • Corporate social responsibility and international development
  • Social justice

Teaching Interests

Laura teaches on / supports the following modules:

  • School of Politics and International Studies

PIED1212 Making of the Modern World

PIED1202 Global Development Challenges

PIED2455 State and Politics in Africa

PIED5275M Political Economy of Resources and Development

  • School of Earth and Environment

SOEE5223 Delivering Sustainability through Projects

SOEE2570 Research in the Environmental Social Sciences


Dr James Van Alstine

Dr Anne Tallontire


Laura Smith, Anne Tallontire and James Van Alstine (2018) 'Development and the Private Sector: the challenges of extractives-led development in Uganda' in G. Honor Fagan and Ronaldo Munck (eds) Handbook of Development and Social Change. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Laura Smith and James Van Alstine Neoliberal Oil Development in Uganda in Wiegratz, J, Martiniello, G and Greco, E (eds) Neoliberal Uganda. London: Zed Books (forthcoming)

James Van Alstine, Jacob Manyindo, Laura Smith The Governance of Hydrocarbons in Uganda: creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement SRI Briefing paper, March 2017

Laura Smith, Review of 'Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-economics of Oil and Gas', J.A. McNeish, O. Logan (Eds.). Pluto Press, London (2012) in The Extractives Industries and Society Vol 1 (2), November 2014, Pages 364–365 doi:10.1016/j.exis.2014.07.001

Manyindo, J., Van Alstine, J., AmanigaRuhanga, I., Mukuru, E., Smith, L., Nantongo, C., Dyer, J. 2014, The Governance of Hydrocarbons in Uganda: Creating Opportunities for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement. Maendeleo ya Jamii, Kampala, Uganda.

James Van Alstine; Jacob Manyindo; Laura Smith; Jami Dixon; Ivan AmanigaRuhanga, 'Resource governance dynamics: The challenge of ‘new oil’ in Uganda', Resources Policy Vol 40 June 2014

Laura Smith ‘The Struggle for Western Sahara’ in Keenan J (ed), ‘The Sahara: Past, Present and Future’, pp. 268-282 Oxon: Routledge 2007

Laura Smith 'The struggle for Western Sahara: what future for Africa's last colony?' Journal of North African Studies, 10 / 3-4 pp 545-563