Alumni Spotlight: Dora Meredith, Director, ODI Europe think tank

Alumni Spotlight: Dora Meredith, Director, ODI Europe

Dora Meredith studied an MSc in Sociology between 2011-12, after receiving a BA in History and Politics from the University of Birmingham. She is now Director of ODI Europe, an independent, global affairs think tank.

Image of Dora Meredith
What inspired you to study sociology?

I have been interested in addressing social inequalities for as long as I can remember.

I wanted to better understand societies and social structures in order to inform thinking around potential changes. I knew I wanted to work in a policy or political field and sociology seemed like a highly relevant course.

Image of Dora Meredith
What attracted you to the Department in Oxford?

The course at Oxford offered detailed training on research methods and the ability to interrogate evidence, which was very attractive. The resources and quality of teaching were also great. 

Tell us about your research while at Oxford:

My research interests focussed on understanding social inequalities, particularly gender and class in the UK. I wrote my thesis on the employment decisions of low-income single mothers in the UK.

What lessons did you learn from studying at Oxford? 

I learnt so many things during this course!

Firstly, the ability to interrogate the evidence and identify what is important to answer your research or policy question.

Secondly, the ability to write in an objective way.

Finally, I think I gained experience in managing workloads and being able to prioritise. 

What's your favourite memory of Oxford?

I have so many - I made wonderful friends from all over the world. The lectures and seminars were so interesting and the resources were incredible.

What do you do now?

I am the Director of ODI Europe, a global affairs think tank based in Brussels. We undertake research, policy work and host international dialogues to drive global change. My role leads and develops our Europe strategy.

Following my MSc, I worked in a number of policy roles - firstly at the Economic and Social Research Council and, later, at the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

I knew I wanted to work in an international policy environment so I moved to Brussels.

I worked in several different roles with partners around the world, but never lost sight of my passion for evidence-based policy making and driving societal impact.

I then moved to the thinktank space, firstly in London and now back in Brussels, where I am working for ODI. 

Image of Dora Meredith standing next to a conference poster
What's next in your career journey?

I am not sure yet! I want to keep working in the international policy space, where I can see that the work can make an impact.

What piece of advice would you give to prospective students?

Where possible, make time to discover what drives you. What are you most passionate about? Work hard, but also make time to have fun.


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