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Redesigning prosperity for the 21st century

sustainable energy

The IGP undertakes pioneering research that seeks to dramatically improve the quality of life for this and future generations. Our research investigates the standards of living in relation to the fundamentals of social and economic life: governance, work, leisure, consumption, wealth, wellbeing, business and energy. Of particular importance to our approach is the way in which it integrates non-academic expertise into its knowledge generation by engaging with decision-makers, business, civil society, and local communities.

We have major research projects in London, Lebanon and Kenya and we conduct pioneering theoretical, methodological and policy focussed research on the Prosperity Index and prosperity measures, welfare and Universal Basic Services, and debt and Financing Prosperity. The IGP has established three Prosperity Co-Labs (PROCOLs) and we currently work in three main areas: East London, Lebanon and Northern Kenya. We call these sites of exemplification. The research that takes place in these sites provide excellent opportunities for comparative, transdisciplinary research aligned to local needs and stakeholders. 

Procol UK

Prosperity Co-Lab (PROCOL) UK is an innovative initiative to develop transformational thinking and action on shared prosperity for the UK. Our goal is to achieve a sustained shift in public debate, policymaking, investment and community action for shared prosperity. 

PROCOL UK brings together citizen-led research, cutting-edge academic research, and collaborative, multi-stakeholder partnerships with communities, government, business and researchers, to develop new forms of knowledge and new ways of working that transformational change. 

PROCOL UK’s work addresses the question “What are the pathways to shared prosperity in the UK?” in the context of pressing challenges facing British society: climate emergency, rising social and financial inequalities, Brexit, austerity and public services, and the changing nature of work in the era of AI and robotics. 

UK Projects: 

London Prosperity Board

The London Prosperity Board (LPB) is a partnership between the IGP, government, businesses and communities. It aims to rethink what prosperity means for people living and working in London, and to test innovative new ways of creating sustainable and inclusive prosperity for London’s neighbourhoods.

The LPB is chaired by the Director of the IGP, Professor Henrietta Moore, and is coordinated by Saffron Woodcraft. Members include community group Aston-Mansfield, the Greater London Authority, the Borough Councils of Newham and Hackney, and the London Legacy Development Corporation. London Prosperity Board research projects are co-designed and carried out with citizen social scientists - people who live and work in the neighbourhoods where research is taking place, and who are trained and employed by IGP to work as members of the research team.

The Board brings together experts in the field of prosperity and well-being measurement, including the Social Progress Imperative, the New Economics Foundation, ONS and the Legatum Institute.

The Board will build on the work of an IGP research project, Prosperity in East London, and will investigate new ways of thinking about prosperity, value and inclusion; recognising that prosperity is about equitable futures, the health of society, inclusive models of development, civil liberties and active citizens, as well as wealth creation and economic security.

Prosperity is usually defined in economic terms but increased economic wealth does not necessarily lead to better lives for people. The work of the IGP redefines prosperity in terms that communities understand it. Its Prosperity Index is designed to encapsulate meaningful data at a level that makes sense to communities, and which can be relayed back to government for policy-making. 

Read more on the London Prosperity Board website

Rebuilding Macroeconomics – Developing an Economy of Belonging

Rebuilding Macroeconomics (RM) is a research initiative funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), ten years after the start of the financial crisis that economists failed to predict. It is run out of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) at its offices in Westminster. RM aims to transform macroeconomics back into a useful and policy-relevant social science.

Within the RM initiative, the Developing an Economy of Belonging project explores the relationship between the effects of globalisation, economic development, livelihoods security and social wellbeing in the UK. The project examines how to develop new macroeconomic thinking based on more local level knowledge and rework the relationship between macroeconomics and policy. The aim of the project is to identify the infrastructures and mechanisms necessary to enhance the development of people’s capacities and capabilities to participate fully and meaningfully in society, and improve their quality of life.

Principal Investigator: Professor Henrietta L. Moore
Co-Investigator: Andrew Percy
Researcher Fellows: Juan M. Moreno, Dr George Melios

For more information about the project, visit: https://www.rebuildingmacroeconomics.ac.uk/developing-economy

Rise Up Skyroom

Skyroom is an award-winning urban development company founded by the Institute for Global Prosperity's (IGP) Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Arthur Kay. It provides high-quality, eco-friendly homes. These are let to key urban workers (police, fire, nurses, doctors and teachers) at a significantly reduced price. The aim of the company is to enhance the social and cultural prosperity of the city, by housing the people that make it run well in an efficient and innovative way.

The homes are prefabricated. They are installed on rooftops that have been modified to allow utility connection and access. Green roofs are also installed, providing insulation and amenity space for the houses' inhabitants and the rest of the block. 

Building on rooftops protects the Green Belt and reduces the negative effects of commuting. Centring homes in the city increases the council tax, New Homes Bonus, and Community Infrastructure Levy receipts of local councils, and improves the quality of key public services for all, by housing the people that staff them safely, securely, and in a comfortable and environmentally sustainable way. They pay a significantly reduced rent, meaning they are happier and more able to enjoy their leisure time. 

The IGP is committed to supporting and influencing public debate around new ideas, sustainable investment in social infrastructure, and public policy aimed at improving the quality of people's lives. We are launching this white paper with Skyroom as we are searching for innovative solutions to future-proof our cities. We try to combine academic research with a multi-disciplinary approach in order to create solutions that benefit the whole of society. We are delighted to have published this project and are looking forward to seeing what the company can achieve in the coming months.

To read the paper, and find out more about our research, please visit riseup.skyroom.london

Financing Prosperity in London

The Institute for Global Prosperity has been working with a number of organisations in East London, including Money Advice and Education (Money A+E), Optimistic Productions/Bank Job Pictures and Research for Action to explore critical alternatives to existing modes and practices of finance. This research examines how community-based forms of financial advice create pathways to prosperity for disadvantaged economic communities, how art can be a form of critical financial education, and evaluates how Covid 19 has impacted the livelihoods of black, asian and minority ethnic communities. 

Meet the UK Citizen Scientists

Procol Lebanon

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.  

Lebanon Projects:

RELIEF Centre

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?

Read more on the RELIEF Centre website
 

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.

Meet the Lebanon Citizen Scientists 

Procol Kenya

Prosperity Co-Lab (PROCOL) Kenya is an innovative collaborative research programme seeking to broaden the discussion of what constitutes prosperity in Africa. Led by the Institute for Global Prosperity in close collaboration with local partners, our research harnesses cutting edge science, community knowledge, astute policy development and participatory research methods to develop smarter, localised understandings of prosperity that can be tailored to communities across Africa. 

Looking ahead to the challenges Africa faces, notably climate change, urbanisation and the future of work it is clear a new vision encompassing natural prosperity will be needed to create communities that are sustainable, autonomous and resilient. While Kenya embodies many of the challenges faced across sub-Saharan Africa, we also see it as a hub of innovation and inspiration that is fostering African solutions to global problems. 

Read more on the Procol Kenya website 

Kenya Projects: 

Marakwet Research Station and Citizen Scientists

The Marakwet Research Station is situated in Tot-Sibou Village in the Kerio Valley, north-west Kenya. All work is embedded in the Marakwet community.

Independently working from this research hub is a highly experienced team of Citizen Scientists who are trained in interview techniques, oral historical recording, photography and filming, GPS mapping, and translation and transcription. The Marakwet Citizen Scientist team are Timothy Kipkeu (Director) and Helena Cheptoo (Assistant Director), Nelson Bailengo, Andrew Kibet Yano, Noah Kiplagat and Joseph Kimutai.

This team work closely with the IGP on a wide range of topics, including:

  • mapping of landscape features (field systems, land-tenure, irrigation features)
  • issues of cropping and farming practice
  • mapping of social and ceremonial landscapes recording oral histories, ceremonies and public events
  • recording political events and speeches surveys of market trends arrangement of interviews and focus groups
Prosperity and innovation in the past and future of agriculture in Eastern Africa 

This project aims to reframe how we understand and support smallholder farmers Eastern Africa by focussing on innovative, self-defined ‘digital farmers’ in Elgeyo-Marakwet County (EMC), Kenya. Approximately 85% of total agricultural output across the African continent is produced by smallholder farmers, with the smallholder farming sub-sector accounting for 75% of Kenya’s total agricultural output. Yet there remains a persistent imagining amongst some academics, policy-makers and NGOs that African farming practices are static, inefficient and inherently vulnerable in the face of environmental change and population growth.

This project argues that this assessment is highly reductive, being deeply rooted in colonial development epistemologies. By working with smallholder farmers EMC, we are instead to exploring how farmers in Eastern Africa are highly creative and innovate in their daily practices. Working with multi-sectoral partners active in food systems research and delivery, we are challenging the ‘modernisation’ imperative by historicising contemporary farming practices and diachronically exploring recent and ongoing processes of innovation, improvisation and ingenuity that seem to have been characteristic of African farming for centuries. Comprehending these dynamics in a more nuanced and detailed manner can in turn help provide the foundation for locally led pathways towards new prosperous futures for farming livelihoods in East Africa.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Content pending

Global Networks

Content pending


Other Projects: 

Ethiopia Control of Bovine Tuberculosis Strategies (ETHICOBOTS)

The Ethiopia Control of Bovine Tuberculosis Strategies (Ethicobots) project aims to tackle Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in Ethiopia, both directly and by addressing its broader consequences.

Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa and an increasing BTB burden. There are major implications for those who work with and live alongside infected cattle and rely on cattle products for their livelihoods.

Ethicobots is a £2.9m multidisciplinary research programme funded by the Zoonoses & Emerging Livestock Systems research initiative. It combines partners in UK and Ethiopian institutions, including veterinary scientists, epidemiologists, geneticists, immunologists and social scientists.

The IGP input relates to how information about the disease can be communicated between farmers and other stakeholders to better understand patterns, providing farmers and communities themselves with the tools and knowledge to identify, report and deal with outbreaks. Integral to both research threads will be the involvement of citizen scientists recruited from the local communities.

World Humanities Report

The World Humanities Report is part of an international research collaboration between universities and research centres. It was initiated in May 2019 between The Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes  (CHCI), the International Council of Philosophy and the Human Sciences (CIPSH), and the UN Education Science and Culture Organisation  (UNESCO). The project, itself an outcome of the 2017 World Humanities Conference organised by CIPHS and UNESCO, is designed to be a tool to better understand and reflect on the contributions of the humanities to knowledge and society in the 21st century. The IGP is a partner institution within the European Regional Research Hub of the WHR project which is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Principal Investigator: Professor Henrietta L. Moore
Research Fellow: Juan M. Moreno

For more information about the project, visit: https://worldhumanitiesreport.org/

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.

 

Knowledge Networks

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

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. 

Current Knowledge Networks include:

Fast Forward 2030 (London)

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 London-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.

Visit the Fast Foward 2030 website.

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.

See the Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon webpage

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 UBS Hub website

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


You can view a list of IGP's completed projects on this page