Professor David Etherington


Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

My academic career stretches over 30 years including more recently over 13 years at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) Middlesex University. Prior to academia I worked in local government for 17 years, the last 10 years at Sheffield City Council responsible for coordinating large scale multi million pounds urban regeneration and economic development projects and developing innovative policy and research which underpinned much of the City Councils approach in the 1980s and early 1990s. Middlesex and CEEDR has benefitted directly from this as Sheffield has been used as a case study for work for the DCLG (Local Area Agreements) and work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on Devolution, Regional Governance and Deprived Areas. I have also undertaken policy focused research for the European Commission (on vocational training), Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) (evaluating disability services) and more recently Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on welfare reform. I have established close contacts with Staffs through my collaboration with Martin Jones on the impact of austerity on devolution in city regions focusing on Manchester (in 2017) and Sheffield City Regions (in 2016). In 2016-2017 I worked as an advisor on the Royal Society of Arts Inclusive Growth Commission Research Advisory Group. More recently in 2018, I completed a piece of research as part of the Sheffield TUC Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign focusing on low pay, precarious work and unionisation.

I have a book contract with Policy Press which focuses on welfare reform and employment relations. I have long standing research interests on the Scandinavian welfare and labour market policy.

Professional memberships and activities

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I am a member of the Social Security Consortium which is a network of welfare organisations and trade unions formed to make responses to Government welfare policy.

Academic qualifications

  • Diploma in Town Planning, Leeds Polytechnic 1969-1973
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Planning Studies, School of Architecture Copenhagen 1973-1975
  • Master of Arts by Research Dissertation , University of Durham 1980-1984
  • Masters Degree in Business Administration , Sheffield Polytechnic Business School 1987-1990
  • PhD Open University 2001- 2004


Austerity, welfare reform, devolution, labour market and industrial relations policy. Scandinavian labour market and welfare policy (I speak Danish).

Research interests

I am currently working on a book (Policy Press) that analyses the relationship between the impact of austerity on welfare and work. I am interested in the links between welfare and precarious/insecure work. I have been researching the Danish model of welfare and work for a number of years and interested in how this model can offer interesting and relevant lessons for the UK.


Etherington D and Jones M (2018) Re-stating the post political: Depoliticisation, social inequalities, and city region growth, Environment and Planning A, DOI: 10.1177/0308518X17738536,

Ian Roper, David Etherington, Suzan Lewis, (2017) Hollowing out national agreements in the NHS? The case of “Improving Working Lives” under a “Turnaround” plan, Employee Relations, Vol. 39 Issue: 2, pp.145-159,
Etherington D and Jones M (2016) The City Region Chimera: the Political Economy of Meta Governance Failure in Britain Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 2016, 9, 371–389 doi:10.1093/cjres/rsw007

Book chapters

Etherington D (2017) Ideology or evidence base? The Role of Work Capability Assessments for people with Disabilities in the UK Welfare to Work Programmes, in B Greve (ed) Handbook of Social Policy Evaluation, Edward Elgar

Etherington D and Ingold J (2015) Social dialogue, partnership and the Danish model of activation of disabled people: challenges and possibilities in the face of austerity, in Chris Grover and Linda Pigott eds Work, welfare and disabled people’  Bristol: Policy Press

Research reports

Etherington D Jeffery R  Thomas P Brooks J Beel D and Jones  M (2018) Forging an inclusive labour market - empowering workers and communities : an interim report on low pay and precarious work in Sheffield, Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University

Etherington D and Jones M (2017) Devolution Austerity and Inclusive Growth in Greater Manchester, Middlesex University/Staffordshire University

Etherington D and Jones M (2016) ‘Devolution and Disadvantage in the Sheffield City Region: an assessment of employment, skills and welfare policies’ Sheffield University/Middlesex University!/file/Devolution_and_disadvantage.pdf

Etherington D and Daguerre A (2015) Welfare reform work first policies and benefit conditionality: reinforcing poverty and social exclusion? Middlesex University

Daguerre A and Etherington D (2014) Workfare in the 21st Century Britain: The erosion of rights to social assistance, Middlesex University

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021