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UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

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MPhil/PhD Students

The MPhil/PhD programmes at the IGP are designed to help researchers tackle tough questions about what global prosperity looks like and how we can make it happen, sustainably and equitably.

Each student undertakes an extensive original research project, generating new insights and making a distinct contribution to knowledge.

We welcome research projects that involve collaborative research and citizen science methods that are beneficial for the communities themselves as well as researchers.

IGP approaches prosperity from a global perspective. We focus on three sites of exemplification: East London, UK and Elgeyo-Marakwet, Kenya, and Lebanon. While we encourage projects with empirical focus in these areas, proposals are welcomed for innovative research anywhere in the world.

Please contact igp@ucl.ac.uk with any queries.

Marie Adeyemi

My research 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.

Ledia Andrawes

The international development machine is facing considerable challenges, both in terms of its effectiveness as well as its acceptability. This research is looking beyond classic aid assumptions (i.e. money and technical knowledge can solve all problems) and instead looking at design thinking as a way to engage more respectfully with underlying social, cultural, political and human systems involved in change for development aims. I am investigating the value design thinking creates for people operating in the international development machine -- specifically, who it creates value for, how it creates such value for them, and what are the enabling conditions for this value to be realised at a time where the legitimacy of development is being questioned. Is the question: How is design improving development effectiveness and acceptability? Or is the question: How is design facilitating processes that imagine alternatives to development altogether?

Sophie Anne Bray
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.

Wande Omidiran 

My research interests broadly fall into corporate sustainability, organizational behavior and strategic management. I am exploring how business – multinational corporations especially - can be leveraged for the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. I am particularly interested in how corporations are able to partner with the government in the delivery of public sustainability initiatives. I am also interested in how the organizational culture affects the integration of corporate sustainability with core organizational strategies. The interdisciplinary nature of the IGP doctoral program allows me the intellectual autonomy to draw inspiration from disciplines such as organizational behavior, environmental sciences, anthropology and strategy. My research methods also range from field observations, to interviews, surveys, and instruments to help triangulate and validate my research findings.

Jacob Cassani 

Jacob Cassani's research focuses on hybrid sovereignty and governance systms which straddle the boundary between the formal state apparatus and informal actors and networks. He is particularly interested in addressing questions surrounding the nature and construction sovereignty and political authority in areas where formal state appears to be absent. His work looks at the relationship between the ethnographic study of authority, violence and crime, and developing theories of statehood. He conducts ethnographic fieldwork in Lebanese villages and Syrian refugee camps in the northern Biqa'a valley region in Lebanon.

He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford for his Bachelors, and completed an MRes in Anthropology at UCL.

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. 

James Shraiky

James Shraiky is a member of the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering and part of RELIEF project in IGP. His research reimagines refugee camps as spaces for prosperity where refugees can thrive beyond surviving. More specifically, the research explores thriving concepts, as narrated by refugees, in camps that have turned into impromptu cities. The bottom-up approach for his research will give a voice for refugees and their practices in camps while providing an empirical path to use their ideologies to gain an understanding of thriving and as an impetus for policy change, camp designs, and operations.  More importantly, this research will contribute to the improvement of the quality of life as well as the prosperity of displaced populations.

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.

Larissa Lai

Larissa's work and research revolves around sustainable community development, a holistic approach in planning for healthy communities, with particular concern for social equity and environmental justice for underserved and vulnerable populations. With a background in public health research, clinical social work, and urban planning, Larissa has collaborated in many transdisciplinary projects, such as the Circular Communities Initiative that she helped co-found in New York City during her master's thesis work on planning for a hyperlocal community-based food system utilising grassroots efforts and community gardens for the South Bronx. Her PhD research focuses on planning and implementing closed-loop systems for communities and healthcare facilities, covering physical infrastructure, operatioal processes, and services provision in integrated live-work communities, altogether striving to optimise affordability and eco-pyschosocial benefits for residents. Previously, Larissa worked as a psychotherapist and is a licensed social worker of New York State. Larissa obtained her Masters in Social Work degree at New York University and MSc in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. Larissa is part of a joint PhD endeavour between IGP and the Bartlett Real Estate Institute (BREI). 

Tianzi Li

Tianzi Li's research interests centre around connecting Chinese political economic dynamics promoting financialisation to the understudied Chinese households' lived experiences of indebtedness. Conceptually influenced by Foucauldian readings, her research explores how, after the market reform, significant institutional and policy changes enabled credit, in particular mortgages, to function as a biopolitical technology that engineers an intimate link between the financial sector and people's daily life in China. Her ethnographic work contributes to the analysis of the power financial institutions have to produce dominant models of money, consumption and prosperity to influences public service provision and to reconfigure social and economic relationships of individuals and househoulds. Prior to commencing her PhD, Tianzi completed an MSc degree in Global Prosperity at UCL. She also studied MSc Anthropology and Development at LSE and BSc Social Sciences at University of Bath.

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 aims to better understand how a society can simultaneously move towards (1) satisfying the basic needs of its population, (2) having a low enough level of consumption to be within planetary boundaries, and (3) not wanting more consumption than what it currently has. In 2022, he will carry out participatory and co-creative research with an indigenous community in Kenya, an ecovillage in Scotland and a slow village in Iceland. With support from policymakers, NGOs and activists in the three communities’ countries, I hope to create a societal framework on how to provide a good and prosperous life for all within planetary boundaries.

Adrien has a background in mathematics and statistics. Seeking more meaning in his life, he decided to change his career path to try to make a valuable contribution to the current environmental and societal issues. He studied an MSc in Global Environment, Politics and Society at the University of Edinburgh and then worked as a researcher and science communicator on an Erasmus+ project called “Sustainable Digital Awareness”.

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.

Tatiana Massaro

Tatiana is currently Visiting Researcher at the  Institute for Global Prosperity, supervised by Dr Konrad Jan Miciukiewicz, and is doing her PhD in Social Anthropology supervised by Professor Heloisa Pontes at the University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Brazil.

Using ethnographic work and semi-structured interviews she wants to understand the sustainable fashion produced with social positive impact involving formation of long-term partnerships, built on the basis of “fair trade”, and low environmental impact. She investigates sustainable fashion in Brazil through a local brand that makes clothes in a sustainable way, with several partners from different regions of the country and also some international. She also wants to understand what sustainability is in sustainable fashion. Her research is linked to the debate about changes through co-operation and partnerships in the search for a more prosperous and sustainable world. Tatiana holds a BA in Social Sciences from Paulista State University Júlio de Mesquita Filho, UNESP (Brazil), and an MSc in Social Anthropology from Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCar (Brazil).

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.