BA (Social Science) York 1970; MSc (Psychiatry) Manchester 1976, PSW/CQSW 1974; Cert. Ed. Birmingham 1971; PhD Kent 1984.
Challis was a social scientist who trained in Salford in the early 1970s and worked at Prestwich Hospital Salford. Challis left in 1976 to take up a research post at the University of Kent where he stayed for twenty years. The unit based in Kent grew into a research team spread from Canterbury to Manchester and London, the Personal Social Services Research Unit. David Challis became the professor and director of the unit in Manchester.