UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


PROCOL Lebanon

Our research in Lebanon focusses on delivering inclusive and prosperous futures for communities impacted by mass displacement

Woman walking down Beirut streets

Mass displacement is one of the biggest challenges to prosperity of our time. With the highest percentage of refugees in the world, Lebanon faces a unique challenge in ensuring a stable and prosperous society in this context. 

Our research in Lebanon focusses on delivering inclusive and prosperous futures for communities impacted by mass displacement. This is mostly through the ESRC funded RELIEF Centre, which examines sustainable prosperity, urban environments, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the role of universities in building prosperous futures.

Read more on the RELIEF Centre website  

Lebanon Projects: 


The RELIEF Centre is a transdisciplinary research collaboration that focuses on one of the world's most pressing challenges of the moment: how to build a prosperous and inclusive future for communities affected by mass displacement

The RELIEF Centre's research focuses on how we can measure prosperity and growth in Lebanon - a country that is experiencing a massive displacement of people - moving beyond indices like GDP to include measures of wellbeing, health, employment and education. 

It is led by the Institute for Global Prosperity, in collaboration with departments in University College London, American University of Beirut and the Centre for Lebanese Studies. 

The RELIEF Centre is funded by the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund. 

Research questions

What does inclusive growth and sustainable prosperity look like in the context of large-scale movement of people?
How can we improve the quality of life for all in urban environments in Lebanon?
How do we drive innovation and measure value creation in the context of Lebanon?
How can the research and knowledge transfer capacities of Universities be reconfigured to develop innovative responses to these challenges?
Supporting Macroeconomic Stability and Prosperity in an Age of Mass Displacement 

This project is a study of decision-making processes related to livelihood strategies and prosperity in the context of mass displacement and informal labour markets in Lebanon. Informal labour markets are growing around the world, even in contexts where GDP growth is strong. Yet, there is a dearth of up-to-date data on such markets, how they function within broader livelihood strategies, and how their dynamics operate at individual, household, community and regional scales. This study focuses on an innovative interdisciplinary methodological and theoretical framework to improve our understanding of informal labour markets and their connections to livelihoods and sustainable prosperity under conditions of uncertainty and resource constraint. 

The project aims to develop a series of methods, models and concepts for understanding livelihood decision-making from the perspective of various actors/agents in Lebanon, across a range of factors such as age, gender, educational qualifications and legal status. Employing an innovative and multi-disciplinary range of insights, methods and tools from anthropology, psychology, econometrics, and behavioural economics, we will build a deeper understanding of both the contributions and the opportunity costs associated with informality in the context of real evidence about people’s location, migration, livelihood and employment preferences.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Developing Infrastructural Solutions for Lebanon’s Challenges of Mass Displacement 

Lebanese cities have a long-standing struggle with energy shortages, polluted water, housing inequalities, and lack of sufficient waste management and transport systems. The arrival of 1.5 million Syrian refugees since 2011 has exacerbated this situation by inflating the informal sector and increasing pressure on the country’s infrastructure. In this context, this project brings together engineers, social scientists and Lebanese entrepreneurs to collect neighbourhood-level quantitative and qualitative data on infrastructure and well-being, and to work with communities to co-design small-scale solutions to infrastructural challenges. The research team aims to identify context-specific infrastructural challenges, as well as existing formal and informal solutions, as the basis for developing new engineering designs for more inclusive and efficient services.

This project is funded by the British Academy.

Project Team: Professor Henrietta Moore, University College London; Professor Howayda Al-Harithy, American University of Beirut; Dr Nadim Farajallah, American University of Beirut; Dr Nikolay Mintchev, University College London; Dr Elizabeth Saleh, American University of Beirut; Professor Nick Tyler, University College London

A Citizen Assembly Pilot on Energy Transition in Lebanon 

Currently, Lebanon faces chronic energy shortages from an ageing energy infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels that have detrimentally affected people's quality of life. Fossil fuel subsidies are also responsible for 40% of Lebanon's public debt. The citizens' assembly will focus on the process of transitioning to a more sustainable, equitable, affordable and effective energy system. Members of the assembly will learn, deliberate and co-design solutions to the energy crisis in Lebanon that can achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The citizens' assembly will be a forum for citizens to imagine and create a path to affordable and equitable electricity for all.

The CA is designed to enable participants to consider the evidence presented from experts and to form small groups for deliberative activities and conversation across groups. This is to facilitate the co-production of electricity generation systems that serve the public interest and deliver tangible community benefits, such as better health outcomes, decent and stable employment, public space and transportation, and new public, private and civic institutions.

Maternal Mental Health in Lebanon and Kenya

Professor Henrietta L. Moore and Hannah Sender are part of an international collaboration that has been awarded £3.8 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to fund a new study in Lebanon and Kenya looking at the treatment of post-natal depression, child development and the mother-child relationship.

The project explores the effectiveness of interventions to treat post-natal depression in low- and middle-income countries and test whether a WHO-recommended psychological therapy modified to match local priorities, delivered sustainably within existing healthcare systems, can lead to improvements in key measures of early child development alongside improvements in maternal mental health.

The IGP is supporting the research by engaging local community members as citizen social scientists and with the development of a Prosperity Index model, focusing on maternal mental health. Citizen social scientists will be trained and paid members of the research team, who will co-design and carry out qualitative research about the relationship between maternal mental health and other social, economic and environmental factors.

The team is led by Professor Peter Fonagy (UCL Psychology and Language Science), and is a collaboration between the UCL Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity, Bangor University, Columbia University, ABAAD and the University of Saint Joseph in Lebanon and the University of Nairobi and HealthStrat in Kenya.

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon

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.

Meet the Procol Lebanon Citizen Scientists 

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