UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD students

Discover how our Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD students undertake their extensive original research projects and generate new insights and distinct contributions to knowledge.

At the Institute for Global Prosperity, we approach prosperity from a global perspective and proposals are welcomed for innovative research anywhere in the world.

The Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD is designed to help researchers tackle tough questions about what global prosperity looks like and how we can make it happen, sustainably and equitably.

Each of our MPhil/PhD students undertake an extensive original research project, generating new insights into collaborative research and citizen science methods, making distinct contributions to knowledge, and benefitting communities as well as researchers.

Read our Global Prosperity MPhil/PhD students' profiles below:

Marie Adeyemi

Maria investigates how mixed play can enable displaced children to socially interact and develop resilience. Play has been repeatingly shown to enable essential child development skills of interacting with others, creativity and resilience. This is of particular importance for displaced children who experience trauma that can hinder their ability to learn and socially interact. However provision for sustainable play areas is frequently not prioritised in policies and resources targeted at displaced children. I plan to work with displaced refugee children in Europe, Africa & Lebanon, drawing on sustainable design principles influenced by child development and environmental psychology.

Nikolett Puskas

In a transdisciplinary, multilayered research project I am employing creative participatory methodologies, gamification and serious gaming to address global and local challenges simultaneously. Facilitating informal and inclusive learning via innovative analogue and digital methods, investigating contextualized cultural vehicles to connect people, transcending language boundaries. The project addresses key themes of cities/citizens on the move, transformative urban futures, co-developing infrastructures in various local contexts. I am working across three sites in Budapest, Beirut and London with local experts and communities, focusing on increasing wellbeing and quality of life through creating sustainable, hybrid ecological and human urban environments via the application of nature-based solutions, ecosystem services. Ultimately contributing to prosperity, the right to the city and the right to claim environmental justice.

Tracey Campbell

I am investigating the qualitative relationship between investors and companies on the topic of corporate social responsibility. Using open-ended interviews and semi-structured interviews, I am studying the discourse and instruments of interaction between these two parties. I am looking to elaborate a wider 'ecosystem of influence' on these issues using a model of stakeholder capitalism in order to see if and how investors, as the most formally recognised of these stakeholders, can encourage the private sector to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. I will also empirically examine what influences and actions have actually taken place for selected soft commodity supply chains within those companies in recent years.

Mara Torres Pinedo

Mara is a PhD student supervised by Professor Henrietta Moore and Dr Andrea Rigon at the Institute for Global Prosperity. Her PhD research focuses on the linkages between forced migration and disaster risk. 

Using a mixed methodology, she wants to assess the institutional conditions that enable or inhibit the inclusion of forced migrant populations in DRM policies and plans. This includes analysing the own awareness, capabilities and perspectives of forced migrant communities towards disaster risk. Mara holds a BA in International Relations from ITESO (Mexico), and an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience from UCL. Mara has over 8 years of experience on issues of international development practice, human rights, human security and good governance in her natal Mexcio and Central America. 

Shinta Putri

Her research investigates the role of young people as intermediaries in processes of sustainable transition in Indonesia. Whilst the importance of intermediary organisations in guaranteeing youth agency is recognised, very little is known on how they operate and what makes them effective. Thus, the goal of this research is to explain their practices. The findings of this study will contribute to illuminating the fundamental role of intermediary organisations in ensuring inclusive citizen-based planning processes, in reducing urban inequality and, ultimately, in bringing about policy-making processes that are transparent, accountable and democratic in Indonesia. 

Shinta was a Hubert H. Humphrey's fellow at the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies at MIT, where she focused her research on digital media as a strategy for community engagement, education and empowerment.

Hadiqa Khan

Hadiq's research will focus on the human and material cultures of refuge in Lebanon. In particular, she will be looking at the material, environmental and visual cultures of forced migration in the context of the mass displacement from Syria, attemptig to give voice to refugees who often exist in ephemeral spaces, while also trying to document their experiences through the analysis of the landscape which they occupy and the material culture they possess. Hadiqa's project is funded via the AHRC's Collaborative Doctoral Programme, and her partner heritage organisation is the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. Her background is in anthropology, archaeology and heritage studies, with an MPhil in Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and a BSc (Honours) in Anthropology and Sociology from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Ying Wang

Ying Wang is supervised by Professor Jacqueline McGlade and Professor Arthur Peterson. Prior to her PhD, she was a project manager at the China-ASEAN Legal Research Centre co-founded by the China Law Society and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Her PhD research focusses on marine pollution in the South China Sea. She aims to contribute to both the regional understanding of prosperity and the management of marine pollution in the South China Sea. Her research includes three aspects: 1. Assessing marine pollution in the South China Sea in order to discover the sources and distribution of pollutats; 2. Investigatig the impacts of marine pollution on the regional understanding of prosperity; and 3. Comparing different frameworks of prosperity analysis. Ying's research adopts a transdisciplinary approach.

Natalie Garland

Through an in-depth ethnographic and participatory approach, Natalie's research explores how a refugee population in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon creates an ecosystem which challenges the humanitarian status quo and common perceptions surrounding refugee capabilities. She documents their non-linear pathways towards prosperity through photography, narrative and longitudinal participant observation; utilizing case studies to present complex urban and encamped realities. This includes an exploration of how Multi-Aid Programs, a refugee-led organization, leverages innovation and creativity to foster prosperity. She focuses on local definitions and strategies for building ‘community dignity’ and strengthened social networks, essential to living well in mass displacement. These discussions are juxtaposed with the harmful effects of the humanitarian industrial complex, strengthening the impact of my research on global refugee policy.

Natalie's research advocates for the radical re-shaping for how we value, support and identify social progress in a protracted refugee crisis. The project can improve quality of lives for refugees worldwide by informing the development of holistic and evidence-based humanitarian frameworks and interventions.

Adrien Plomteux

Adrien’s research centres on the concept of ‘frugal abundance’, which applies to societies in which everyone lives well without consuming too much. He is carrying out participatory and mixed method research with rural and indigenous communities in Kenya and Iceland to better understand what frugal abundance means for them, how it works in practice and how they think that this way of life could flourish elsewhere.

Adrien considers himself as a researcher-activist involved in the degrowth movement. He is a member of the editorial collective of the Degrowth Journal and a founding member of Degrowth London. He has previously worked in NGOs on social-environmental topics after transitioning from mathematics to the social sciences.

Shuaib Jalal-Eddeen

Shuaib researches the everyday experiences of new financial technology (fintech) – whilst recognizing its ‘financializing’ tendencies of employing algorithms to extract the data of global south borrowers who lack credit histories and proper tax records – and is based on six months of fieldwork in Nigeria.

In particular, he investigates the dynamics of fintech adoption and adaptation from the perspective of users, and emerging patterns of resistance to financialized inclusion as a result of fintech usage. Shuaib’s research contributes to the analysis of the power dynamics and impact of fintech on everyday life.

Before starting his PhD, Shuaib worked as a Graduate Attaché at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA). He also had previous stints at Buyu Microfinance and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), both in Nigeria. Shuaib holds an MSc in Global Prosperity with distinction from UCL and a BSc from the American University of Nigeria.

Sebastian Paredes Smith

Sebastian´s research aims to contribute to the growing body of literature on alternatives to address and bridge the housing finance gap. This research intends to assess how digital innovation and IT technologies can contribute to new ways of creating reliable data to mitigate the unfair risk perceptions of Formal Financial Institutions when assessing low-income segments. In that sense, Sebastian is also studying the linkage between Transformative Innovation and Prosperity. This research is being supervised by Dr. Christopher Harker and Lucia Michelutti

Sebastian has a background in Urbanism, Housing policies and social entrepreneurship. He is Co-founder of MUTUO, a social venture focused in delivering housing Technical and Financial assistance to Low-income families in Lima. Also, he has experience in international development Consultancy on the topics of housing policy, public and private Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from UPC in Lima and a MSc in Development Administration and Planning from the DPU at UCL. In the Academia, Sebastian has experience as an Undergraduate Main Teacher for the Faculty of Design in UPC.

Almeira Parruque

Almeira Parruque is a Commonwealth Scholar from Mozambique, pursuing a PhD at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity and researching the effects of financial inclusion programmes on prosperity among people in vulnerable circumstances in her country. With this research she aims to propose a critical financial inclusion model for sustainable interventions, that contributes to building the pathways to prosperity at local and global levels.

Almeira has 10 years' work experience in the financial sector. Her previous roles include working in the operations of the Mozambique Stock Exchange and most recently, as an investment analyst for FSDMoç, a program aimed at improving the levels of financial inclusion, also in Mozambique.

Almeira holds a Master of Leadership and Organizations with a sustainable development focus, and a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Gulnar Hasnain

Gulnar Hasnain's research focuses on how cities tackle urban violence. She is particularly interested in the role that mayoral leadership, city governance structures and stakeholder relationships play in how cities tackle urban violence and how they relate to the kinds of violence reduction policies that are taken up and the form that they take. Gulnar's research is situated within the theories of social policy, policy mobilities, urban governance and leadership, with the empirical focus of her exploration on the adoption of urban violence prevention strategies in London and specifically London’s Violence Reduction Unit, which was established in 2018.  

Gulnar holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London, an MSc in Development Studies from Birkbeck University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. After initially developing her career in the private sector, she spent 8 years working in city government for the Mayor of London and over 7 years as a political candidate campaigning for ‘safer, greener, fairer’ cities.

Michael Wang
Yuwei Qiu

Yuwei Qiu is supervised by Professor Maurizio Marinelli, and Dr. Yuan He.

She has a specific focus on the trade of art products between China and Western countries. She delves into the lives and livelihoods of laborers employed in the Canton Export painting industry during the 19th century, using a micro-historical perspective to delve deep into their beliefs and behaviours in their pursuit of prosperity within the urban landscapes. This research centres around the remarkable Guan family—a renowned family that embarked on their export painting business at No. 16 New China Street in Canton towards the end of the eighteenth century. Yuwei's primary research question explores how these consequential historical events, such as Opium War, influenced and stimulated individual consciousness and the innovative strategies they employed to secure their livelihoods amidst shifting social dynamics and evolving China-West relations.

She completed her undergraduate education at Wuhan University. Following that, she pursued two master's degrees in the United Kingdom, the first one at the University of Bristol and the second at the University of Warwick. Both of my master's degrees focused on art history, albeit from two different historical periods.

Sijia Yao

Sijia is a PhD candidate supervised by Professor Marinelli and Dr Mintchev at the IGP. Her research examines the societal impact of the Sanxingdui archaeological discoveries and the interrelationship between heritage and nationalism in China at both the micro and macro levels. It aims to investigate how collective memories and identity in China are constructed and consumed, using the Sanxingdui heritage site as the primary case study. Furthermore, it seeks to delineate the societal transitions within local communities, ultimately contributing to the conceptualisation of a sustainable and inclusive future.

Sijia holds a Master of Arts degree in International Cultural Heritage Management from Durham University and a Bachelor's degree from Budapest Business School. Her academic pursuits reflect her multidisciplinary interests. Her prior research has explored the inclusivity of heritage sites associated with the Berlin Wall, and she has also investigated intangible heritage in Singapore, focusing on traditional crafts.

Shiyao Chen

Shiyao's research is centered on the discourse analysis of climate change communication, with a specific focus on metaphor analysis and eco-gender gaps. Her objective is to investigate the impact of gendered metaphors in climate change communication on proenvironmental behavior, self-identity, and decision-making for both genders. Through her research, Shiyao aims to encourage reflection on conventional gendered climate change communication strategies, highlight the existing gender disciplines they conveys, and disrupt gender stereotypes. Moreover, she seeks to draw attention to the fact that women experience greater ecological anxiety and bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts, emphasizing the need for reshaping subjective thoughts to promote gender climate justice.

Ziqi Gao

Ziqi Gao is currently pursuing her PhD under the guidance of Professor Kate Maclean, Dr. Yuan He, and Dr. Jennifer Chung.

Ziqi's research delves into the influence of higher education on the social mobility of women in rural China. The core aim of her research is to unravel the sociocultural, economic, and institutional factors that either facilitate or hinder upward mobility. By scrutinizing the interplay between higher education and social mobility among this underrepresented group, Ziqi aims to offer a more nuanced perspective on promoting gender equality and inclusion within the distinctive backdrop of China's evolving society.

Joseph Eastoe

Joseph is a PhD student supervised by Dr Ida Kubiszewski Professor Robert Constanza at the Institute for Global Prosperity. His PhD research aims to incorporate planetary boundaries into measures of wellbeing to calculate the global level of prosperity that could be sustainably maintained.  

Joseph holds a BA in Philosophy and Politics from UEA (University of East Anglia) and an MSc in Global Environment, Politics and Society from the University of Edinburgh. He has previously worked for the Green House Think Tank, and is a contractor to the Climate Majority Project.  

Lu Tianchu

Tianchu is supervised by Professor Robert Costanza and Associate Professor Ida Kubiszewski. Her PhD research aims to map the conceptual framework of agrifood transformation, with a focus on livestock sectors in the UK and Inner Mongolia. Employing a mixed methodology, her research attempts to identify the potential drivers of agricultural lock-in and the levers for transformation in different agrifood landscapes. She hopes her research can facilitate communication of livestock farmers, herders and consumers’ incentives and obstacles to change. Her PhD research is motivated by her broader interest in societal transitions.

Tianchu has a background in systems thinking, system dynamics, food systems and rangeland management. She holds an MPhil from the University of Queensland (Australia), a Master of Environmental Management and Development with merit and a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University.

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