UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


ISR’s Dr Nadia Ameli awarded prestigious ERC Starting Grant

27 July 2018

UCL ISR Senior Research Associate Nadia Ameli awarded prestigious ERC Starting Grant.


UCL ISR researcher Dr Nadia Ameli has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant, a prestigious funding award designed to identify and boost talented young researchers across Europe.

Dr Ameli, Senior Research Associate at UCL ISR, will receive one of 403 European Research Council Starting Grants to be awarded this year to researchers from all over the world to pursue ground-breaking research in European institutions across a wide range of disciplines.  

Nadia will be funded over five years to explore the role of climate finance to meet the Paris climate goals. By understanding the architecture of the financial system, exploring macro patterns in low-carbon investment emerging from observed investors’ behaviour and interactions, and designing cross-cutting policies aligned with long-term climate targets, her research will promote essential guidance for a re-orientation of financial flows towards low-carbon and energy efficiency investments.

Commenting on her award, Dr Ameli said:

“Thus far much of the effort to tackle climate change has been focused on technology and policy solutions, with very little attention given to how this change can be enabled through finance. This ERC grant is an exciting and unique opportunity to study finance as the next lever to enable the low-carbon transition and challenge the mainstream economic theories with complexity thinking. 
As an Italian, working in the UK, I’m honoured to receive this award which transcends international boundaries to recognise and support excellent science. Finally, in the academic world, where gender equality has not yet been achieved, this provides me with a vital opportunity to develop the skills I need to be a role model for others.” 

Project description

LINKS Kick-starting global climate investments: uncovering hidden links in climate finance and exploring dynamic evolution of investment networks for policy design

Nadia’s project will use network theory, advanced computational techniques and extensive empirical data to model the financial system as a complex adaptive system. The climate financial system, as any other complex systems, reflects the interactions and dynamics of its heterogeneous actors across the globe, who have diverse investment preferences and operate in different market conditions, which collectively shape the actual flows and investments in low-carbon. Complexity is in its composition – heterogeneous agents interacting simultaneously with each other on multiple levels (e.g. local, national and international) – in the diversity of emergent behaviour of which they are capable within the system and in their evolutionary process which provides the system with novelty and is responsible for the growth in order and complexity over time.

This project will be the first attempt to employ complexity thinking to model an evolving network of heterogeneous financial actors to study macro patterns in low-carbon investment emerging from observed investors’ behaviour and interactions. This approach is essential to advance our understanding of the complex system of climate finance, where interactions between financial actors lead to outcomes at the system level that differ from the behaviour of individual actors.