UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Knowledge Networks

The Institute for Global Prosperity oversees collaborative research and outreach networks with academics and practitioners, focusing on themes related to prosperity.

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Knowledge Networks are expert multi-stakeholder teams within the IGP, drawing on the academy, business, government and civil society, charged with identifying, delivering and designing new ideas, concepts, and methods to address emerging challenges and solutions. 

Knowledge Networks

Fast Forward 2030

Launched by Professor Henrietta L. Moore, Founder and Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity, and Arthur Kay, Chief Executive of bio-bean, Fast Forward 2O3O promotes speculative models for enterprise and behaviours that will help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

Comprising a handful of young UK-based innovators, Fast Forward 2O3O reaches out to the next generation of leaders who by 2030 will be the shapers of institutions, directors of businesses, producers of knowledge and inventors of technology.

Through an online platform and a curated programme of events, Fast Forward 2O3O debates and promotes positive proposals and provocative ideas for how a swarm of small actions can effect global change.

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon is a network and collaborative platform for businesses in Lebanon that incorporate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their business models, and use entrepreneurship to solve some of the country’s biggest problems.

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon was set up in 2018 following a series of scoping conversations with entrepreneurs working with the SDGs to uncover the innovations happening in Lebanon that address challenges in sustainable development.  

The creation of Fast Forward 2030 London and Lebanon provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs working in both countries to speak with, and learn from each other.

Visit the Fast Foward 2030 website.

Social Prosperity Network

The Social Prosperity Network explores Universal Basic Services as a potential policy that would provide the social capital people need to regain control and security in their lives, and place them on a path of prosperity. The Network has put together the first substantial exploration of the potential of Universal Basic Services in the UK. The report, co-authored by Professor Henrietta Moore, Co-Director of the Social Prosperity network Andrew Percy, and economists Jonathon Portes and Howard Reed, details how Universal Basic Services is a viable and affordable alternative to ideas such as Universal Basic Income.

Professor Henrietta Moore said: "If we are to increase cohesion, the sense that we are 'all in it together', we must act where we can have the greatest impact, and that is on the cost of basic living.  Without radical new ideas that challenges the status quo, we face a future where the changing shape of our society and labour market leaves more and more people struggling simply to achieve the basics - let alone having the resources and mental capacity to allow themselves and their families to flourish."

Building on this work, in 2019 The Social Prosperity Network published a literature review of Universal Basic Services by Anna Coote, Pritika Kasliwal and Andrew Percy.

This report explores the hypothesis that strengthening and extending universal services is an effective way of tackling poverty and improving wellbeing for all. It draws on academic literature including conceptual thinking, political and economic analysis, case studies and evaluations, as well as some ‘grey literature’ and factual reportage. The main focus is on the UK, but there are implications for – and lessons to be learned from – other countries. 

Read more on the PROCOL UK USB Hub 

Financing Prosperity Network

How do we finance the lives we want? How do we transform financial institutions and practices so they produce inclusive and sustainable prosperity? 

The aims of the Financing Prosperity Network are to:

· develop pathways towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy
· promote alternatives to current debt economies
· transform imaginaries about how we can finance real prosperity

The network draws together multiple forms of expertise from within and beyond the academy to address these challenges. It is led by Dr Christopher Harker.

The network has staged a number of workshops, symposiums and an e-conference. An edited collection showing case the work of network members who examine solutions to debt crises will soon be published.

JOIN THE NETWORK: To find out more, email Dr. Harker. Stay up to date with the Financing Prosperity Network’s events and news by joining the mailing list.

The Social Science of Zoonotic Disease

The Social Science of Zoonotic Disease brings together social scientists from across the UK who are working on zoonotic disease. 

Zoonoses - which include Ebola, avian flu, SARS and bovine tuberculosis - are diseases that jump the species divide between animals and humans. Their global nature means that they represent a major challenge to achieving global prosperity. 

This knowledge network is enables social scientists working in this area to share conceptual and methodological approaches, contributing to building cutting edge research projects that can comprehensively tackle the social, political, cultural and economic implications of zoonotic disease.  

Several of the members are a part of the Zoonotic and Emerging Livestock Systems programme, funded by DfID and UK research councils. Read more about the social science methods IGP is using to investigate bovine TB in Ethiopia.

Project Lead: Catherine Hodge

Transforming Tomorrow Initiative

Transforming Tomorrow exists to catalyse an unprecedented period of experimentation with social, cultural, economic and political innovations. We want to build, with others, the capacities for transformation.

Our first wave of experiments include:

An Africa Assembly, hosted by Strathmore University in Kenya, to describe plausible pathways to prosperous futures, and create a network of senior leaders who want to act for change
global network of academics who can bring diverse disciplines to address questions of transformation and help us all imagine different, better futures 
An AI-enabled search capacity which will find the inspirational examples of new institutions from around the world, and bring in missing voices, especially from the Global South
Read more on the Transforming Tomorrow website
Natural Prosperity

Natural prosperity is the explicit measure of society’s dependency on nature needed to sustain wellbeing and prosperity. In IGP, we are using the term to build a deeper understanding of the relationships and interlinkages between the ‘multiple capitals’ framework of the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and our work on global prosperity. Our research and activities go beyond the economic metaphor of the capitals and accounting frameworks to explore more deeply the dynamics of the natural world and our social dependencies on them. In this way we aim to co-design with stakeholders and communities actions that can both harness the power of the planet to reduce the likelihood of exceeding the planetary boundaries and secure a liveable planet for all.

Unfortunately, our current economic system operates in ways not reflective of the underlying dependencies of societies on the natural world, and which are causing irreversible damage to nature and human health. Transforming the status quo to a more sustainable and equitable set of conditions will require shifts in people’s behaviours, accompanied by a recognition that many institutions will need to change to reflect the need for more localised, contextual knowledge to act effectively.

Together with communities and research partners in many parts of the world, we are now starting to describe and quantify the explicit and implicit dependencies that exist on different scales between economies, ecosystems and social systems - the networks, institutions and cognitive domains such as trust, culture, norms, resilience, adaptability and individual motivation. The data and information are being used to develop metrics for natural prosperity that capture these human interactions and dependencies. Through community co-laboratories and co-design workshops we are also developing ways to make more explicit the value of natural systems in supporting prosperity and the institutional transformations and policy measures necessary to deliver prosperity equitably.

Global Knowledge Systems

Today, knowledge systems have become more sophisticated and structured, and include logic, term-rewriting systems, conceptual graphs, and frames. Facts are no longer assertions but can be thought of as representing knowledge using hierarchies of classes and subclasses, relations between classes, and behavior of objects. As our knowledge base about the planet and human society becomes more structured, reasoning can occur both by independent rules, logical inference, and by interactions within the knowledge base itself. Special purpose automated reasoning systems, known as classifiers play the role of an inference engine, allowing users to simply declare facts about the world and letting the classifier deduce the relations. For systems using the internet, a description logic is used to deal with complex, unstructured data that does not fit to a specific data model. In IGP, we combine many sources of structured and unstructured data including earth observations, in situ measurements, surveys, models and scenarios, various accounting systems (SNA, SEEA and EEA) and semantic technologies. With the semantic web we are able to share and resuse internet data across multiple applications and community boundaries using common standards for semantic web mark-up. We use Resource Description Frameworks (RDFox) to develop and store triples and web ontology language (OWL) to formally represent metadata. An example of this approach is the SDG Interface Ontology to support reporting of the SDG targets and indicators.

Currently, we are working on Inspirations a web intelligence system to identify and curate emerging transformative institutional practices as part of the Transforming Tomorrow initiative, the role of female leadership and emotional mapping related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the underpinning knowledge systems of Wellbeing Economies. We are working with research teams in the UK, Austria, USA and Kenya and with GitHub and Protégé online communities to describe concepts, relationships between entities and categories of things for a range of issues including natural prosperity, regenerative agriculture, climate change, transformative institutions, social capital, wellbeing economy, circular bioeconomy, plastics and the ocean economy.

Asia Prosperity Research Hub

The Asia Prosperity Research Hub explores what prosperity means and entails in Asia. The current thinking around prosperity tends to emphasize post-neoliberal and post-GDP economics, which are largely rooted in western concepts that fail to reflect global demographics. The resurgence of China, alongside the rapid development of India and the Southeast Asian countries, has inexorably changed the economic, geopolitical, and strategic landscape of the world.

In line with IGPs’ acknowledgement that ‘prosperity is relational and interconnected’ and the focus should be 'on relationality in context’, the hub intends to contribute to the redefinition of prosperity as ‘an emergent feature of a complex set of embedded interactions over time’ (Moore and Mintchev, 2021). Thinking about global prosperity in the 21st century requires a critical engagement with the evolution of this concept and the relevant sustainable pathways to prosperity in Asia. The Research Hub aims at understanding the economic and social value systems, taking into consideration country-specific historical conjunctures and cultural features. At the same time, it intends to shed light on the evolution of developmental paradigms in the region and evaluate individual Asian countries’ systemic changes over time.

The research is grouped into three broad themes that encompass key issues for prosperity in Asia and beyond:

a. The concept and the pathways to prosperity in China

b. Gender equality and economic development

c. Technology and Entrepreneurship for Prosperity

Read about the three themes on the Asia Prosperity Research Hub webpage