Co-Directors of the PRP, Centre for Sustainability, Equality and Climate Actions (SECA)
My research interests include green political theory, the politics and the political economy of un/sustainability, environmental and sustainable development policy-making in times of risk and uncertainty, environmental ethics, transition to a low-carbon/renewable energy economy, normative dimensions of the transition from unsustainability to a safer future, fuel and energy insecurity, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary sustainability research, Q methodology, and the impact of extreme weather and global warming events on social and environmental well-being. Therefore my work fits closely with the environment strand of the PRP, especially socio-environmental risk distribution, the just transition to a less risky low-carbon economy, access to affordable and renewable energy, as well as the management of risks and vulnerabilities arising from climate extremities. My current research is on ‘post-growth political economy’ which focuses on the risk and vulnerability creating outcomes of orthodox GDP as well as the ways in which economic growth manages and reproduces socio-economic inequalities as opposed to reduces them.
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From a background in the political economy of development with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, my research has come to focus on linkages between extractive industries and socio-economic development. This research programme examines how shifts in global energy markets affect prospects for development in resource-dependent states – especially the oil and gas exporting ones – across the developing world. The transformations of these markets that I am primarily concerned with include the evolving competition between private Western and state-owned emerging market energy companies, the expansion and future viability of unconventional oil and gas production (e.g., shale, deep-water and Arctic deposits) and the long-term consequences of a renewed global push for a low-carbon transition. My research on the political economy of energy markets and their links to wider processes of development will also allow me to engage with the ‘environment’ strand of the PRP’s activities. Indeed, key questions about the links between energy resources and socio-economic development, including questions about adapting to risk and managing inequality, are inextricably intertwined with the environmental aspects of the research that the PRP seeks to promote. Environmental regulation that will likely follow from the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement could have a significant impact on fossil fuel energy markets, including in particular the countries that are dependent on these resources. The possibility of such resources becoming ‘stranded assets’ will have important economic, political, societal and geostrategic consequences not only in regions of vital strategic interest to world powers, such as the Persian Gulf region, but across the developing world.
Since the beginning of my research career as a political theorist, I have been centrally concerned with questions on the interface between political theory and political economy, with my primary focus being economic justice and workplace organization and how these two impact upon levels of social inequality and on people’s well-being, including the risks they face on account of their work and working conditions. This research focus fits squarely within the ‘Finance and Economy’ strand of the PRP.
To date, my research has concentrated on three interrelated themes in the normative philosophy of economic justice:
a) increasing and expanding employees’ opportunities for accessing and enjoying the goods of ‘decent work’ and ‘meaningful work’;
b) exploring how different forms of workplace organization (authoritarian versus democratic, etc.) contribute to or ameliorate employees’ experience of powerlessness, vulnerability, and social precarity;
c) and analysing the functional interdependencies implicated in the domain of work, namely, the impact that workplace inequalities and vulnerabilities have on people’s well-being and personal autonomy in other spheres of life, including the familial and political spheres.
This sustained programme of research has resulted in a substantial body of publications in various forms and a number of inter-disciplinary collaborations with colleagues working in the fields of economic sociology, political economy, management studies, and business ethics
A major focus of my research has been on financial crashes and crises, with a focus on the risks that investors are exposed to in financial markets. These types of events can have widespread and sustained consequences. In a series of papers I have examined one of the largest historical crashes, the British Railway Mania, considering why the initial boom occurred, and how it was affected by leverage, the media and government policy. I have also examined the inequality which arose between investors, with some classes surviving the crisis better than others. The other type of risk that I have focused on is in terms of the governance of firms, and specifically the role of insiders. These individuals have more information, and also different incentives, compared to minority shareholders. My research has examined the risks which these outside shareholders are exposed to, and whether they suffer inequality of returns compared to the insiders. My research in the future will focus on financial market risk.
I was named on the original application as one of the key researchers within the ’environment’ strand identified as a key element of the PRP’s proposed work programme. However, while I am an environmental specialist, my work has also included strong links to both broader questions of governance, regulation and public health, so I hope I will be able to contribute to a broader range of the PRPs activities. I would also like to highlight a number of specific contributions I feel I will be able to make to the PRP, as follows:
Along with Fabian Schuppert, I will take forward one of the PRPs short terms goals of initiating research on the issue of social vulnerability and energy riskscapes in the UK.
Although I largely regard myself as an interdisciplinary scholar working in the fields of health, environment and governance, my core disciplinary orientation is around spatial dimensions of societal challenges. As such, I hope that I will be able to contribute to the PRP by contributing perspectives of space, and in particular the interaction between place, risk and inequality
My research interests include wind power, electricity and gas markets, wind power integration/optimisation using energy storage, demand response, and wind forecasting and the impact of extreme weather and global warming events on the energy system. Therefore my work fits closely with the environment strand of the PRP, especially the socio-environmental risk distribution; access to affordable and renewable energy; the management of risks and vulnerabilities arising from climate extremities.
My research interests and output circumnavigate around the environmental risk and inequality areas and as such, I can confidently claim that they align strongly with the PRP on Risk and Inequality. More specifically, environmental risk in general and as that has been has been put forward in the theoretical frame of reflexive modernisation in particular has been the main stimulant that has guided my work on the environmental sustainability legacy of sport mega-events like the Olympic Games. That particular strand of my work has established me as a key scholar in the field of mega-event sustainability as that can be attested by the resultant impact that this work had in invited presentations, scholarly reviews and media engagement. In addition, my research engagement in the field, with an unavoidable cross-national comparative outlook, further substantiated, in contrast to some well-known theoretical dictums (Smog is democratic) pointing to an equalising effect of environmental risks, the unequal distribution of environmental and social risk.
Although, the original focus was on environmental social contestation in southern Europe, the new wave of social movement mobilisations (Indignants, occupy etc) has expanded my research beyond the south European confines and include the UK and Ireland (North and South, and Brazil. My research has been primarily gathering qualitative data but the research that I have conducted on this new wave of protest mobilisations has enriched my research credentials with a rich harvesting of quantitative data.
My research interests linked with risk in two areas. The first one is to understand RISK in financial markets; I have studied stock markets, sovereign debt markets, foreign exchange markets, and financial derivatives markets. The other area is longevity risk and stochastic modelling of mortality rate. My works are mainly on quantitative and empirical analysis of RISK.
A key area of my research work deals with credit unions. Credit unions are not-for-profit, cooperative, member-owned, voluntary, self-help, democratic institutions that provide financial services to their members. As member-owned, not-for-profit organisations they are value driven. Traditionally they have been seen as serving the financial services needs of disadvantaged communities and individuals. My research considers credit unions as financial entities and among other matters explores issues around their performance, risk and viability. In addition, I have also undertaken research centred on the indebtedness of members of credit unions. The emphasis has been on reducing indebtedness and the impact that a reduction has on physical and mental health
I am a human rights lawyer with a particular interest in health—specifically, both public health and new health technologies / science. With a long-term co-author (at the University of Nottingham) I also work on the relationship between human rights and criminology, with a particular focus on prisoners’ rights. In each of these fields, I have published well-received work discussing the relationships between risk and human rights. Since arriving at QUB Law in 2015, I have established a health and human rights’ research theme within School of Law. Currently it hosts the work of three members of staff and two PhDs (1 x DEL; 1 x EU self-funded). The theme has an active presence on the School’s web pages and also on Twitter.
A major focus of my research is on risk within corporations, financial markets and banks. One aspect of my work has focused on how law and politics has affected the development of the riskiness of financial markets and banks. Another aspect of my research examines why bubbles, manias and financial crises occur. In this regard, I have written a monograph which examines banking crises and financial risk over two centuries. Finally, my work on risk has also focussed on how our ancestors addressed risk and corporate governance problems. I also have published work on inequality. Long before academics had heard of Thomas Piketty, I constructed a long-run series on wealth inequality for Ireland from 1858 to 2001. This work was published in Oxford Economic Papers in 2010. My book on banking crises connects risk and inequality by arguing that income inequality has undermined the stability of financial systems over the past two decades.
My research foci can be broadly expressed as an interest in how artists, as the critical consciousness of their societies, are schooled in higher education, and the ways in which academics are schooled in their institutions and at the macro-level. My particular concern is with social formation and knowledge formation in contexts with legacies of conflict, inequality and oppression.
My main research focus is in ethics and health. Within that broad area I focus on two main themes. The first of these looks ethical questions raised by interventions to prevent, or to reduce the chances of, future ill health. Within this area my research is increasingly looking at ways in which risk, and risk imposition, affects the ethics of policies aimed at changing people’s behaviour. The second main strand of my research looks at how we should respond to changes in the population – with a particular focus on ageing and the inequalities that can arise in the context of an ageing population.
Centre Associate Fellows
My main research identifies factors influencing the behaviour and decision-making process in selecting, preparing and cooking food, and intervention studies to show how the effectiveness of different strategies can contribute to mitigating the societal challenges of obesity and food security. Over the past five years I have established a consumer behaviour research team of post-doctoral scientists and PhD students within the Institute for Global Food Security which has produced high quality academic output on food purchase, selection, safety, labelling, cooking skills and eating behaviour, for a variety of funding bodies. Three years ago I widened the research remit to include the entire supply chain from farm to fork, also addressing risk perception and risk communication.
My work in the areas of marine planning and coastal and flood risk management are relevant to this PRP. In terms of the risk perspective, I was employed at NUIG on the Atlantic Network for Coastal Risk Management (ANCORIM) INTERREG project. Based on findings from this project, I was the lead author of the paper entitled Consideration of coastal risk in Irish spatial planning process published in Land Use Policy. Since joining QUB, I have undertaken and/or supervised a number of projects on environmental risk governance. With colleagues at Salem State University, I undertook an evaluation of how coastal planners are engaging in climate change adaptation in the Massachusetts Bay Area. For this study, we adopted a grounded theory approach to explore the different situational determinants of adaptive capacity.
I'm also interested in issues of inequality. My main research area is Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). I've conducted studies in California, Canada and Europe on emerging MSP practices and examined how some stakeholders are able to bend these initiatives to their needs while others are excluded from the process. Prof. Geraint Ellis and I recently published an 'Interface' paper in Planning Theory and Practice where we argue that there has to be room for a “radical” MSP that encourages alternative conceptualisations that go beyond economic rationality and intentionally intercedes to secure more democratic decision-making and a fairer distribution of the benefits derived from the marine environment.
I was asked to be a co-applicant on the Risk and Inequality PRP by Dr Andrew Baker. Many of my academic outputs relate to health inequalities and risk prediction. In addition, one of my active research themes (such as exemplified in the NIHR funder PAL trial) which aligns with the PRP is in the use of behavioural economic levers for health behaviour change, the role of personal time discounting in mediating their effects and their roles in health inequalities. As instigator of the ESRC and AP funded NICOLA project, I have multiple research projects (and studentships co funded by the UKCRC Centre of Excellence) which address topics of relevance to this PRP e.g. in debt management; patterning of risk preferences across socio-economic groups, understanding the bio-psychosocial mechanisms of risk of chronic disease.
My overall research interests lie in men’s health, reproduction, parenting and sexual health. I would like to suggest that my research has a strategic fit in terms of examining gender, risk and health inequalities and especially in relation to sexual health risk taking and inequalities. A core part of my programme of research looks at how the risks of unintended teenage pregnancy could be mitigated by developing gender-sensitive and engaging educational interventions to educate young men about their roles and responsibilities in preventing unintended pregnancy. For example, my current NIHR funded study entitled The Jack Trial is a cluster randomised controlled trial and process evaluation of a school-based relationship and sexuality education intervention in Northern Ireland entitled If I Were Jack. Extending this work, I have also recently submitted an application to the NIHR for a UK wide effectiveness trial of this intervention. In addition my currently funded Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) study with Dr Mark Linden (PI) is exploratory work to test the If I were Jack intervention in Hydebank Wood Secure College. My recently completed study on the sexual health and sexual education needs for young people in care (SENYPIC) also relates to the reduction of sexual risk and sexual coercion among an especially high-risk group. Methodologically speaking, my research broadly uses social science approaches and I have incorporated arts-based approaches, such as film and drama in my research, working closely with David Grant in School of Creative Arts.
My research investigates the ability of dietary interventions to modify nutritional status and risk of chronic disease, particularly diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as exploring novel approaches to encouraging and supporting diet and lifestyle behaviour change and weight management throughout the life course. This research programme includes exploration of the determinants of health behaviours in different population groups leading to the development of bespoke interventions. Central to this work is consideration of whether the intervention approaches we choose will help to address inequalities in health or will actually widen inequalities in health. My research is this directly relevant to the Public Health strand of the risk and inequality PRP.
My research focus is based around cancer prevention and reduction of cancer-related symptoms in both clinical and population-based research. My cancer prevention work is divided into two strands – physical activity and HPV vaccination. Within this I focus on inequality that leads to a heightened risk of cancer development or inequalities in cancer prevention strategies.
As a psychologist and Lecturer within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, my role includes acting as the Equality and Diversity officer for the school; this involves the Chairing of the Equality and Diversity Committee. I believe this could contribute to the PRP by building links and relationships with various stakeholders and by ensuring that the research portfolio is reflective of the diversity of society. My portfolio of work in cancer care particularly focuses on marginalised and stigmatised groups including LGBT, ethnic minorities and patients with severe mental illness. My work includes understanding the barriers to vaccination for HPV for men who have sex with men (as a cancer prevention strategy), exploring minority women’s awareness and knowledge towards breast health, reducing health inequalities for LGBT affected by cancer and improving cancer outcomes for patients with severe mental illness. These studies aim to develop an understanding of how we can reduce health inequalities for these populations in cancer. My research is focussed on all aspects of the cancer trajectory; it not only aims to understand how we can improve cancer services for minority groups but also how we can help vulnerable cancer patients to manage and adapt their behaviour to promote quality and sustained survival. It is now widely acknowledged by major funders that cancer research that fails to incorporate the patients’ views from a range of experiences and backgrounds is lacking an integral component of the cancer control/research continuum.
My primary research interests lie in (international) political theory, ethics, and moral & social philosophy, with a focus on social, intergenerational and environmental justice, theories of resource rights and territory, as well as normative appraoches to risk. My current work can be split into two groups, on the one hand normative work on republicanism, social (in)equality and recognition theory, and on the other hand applied normative work on natural resource governance, climate change, and the ethics of risk. As part of the first cluster of research interests, I have worked on social-relational egalitarianism, the effects of social inequality on health and well-being, the normativity of social roles, republicanism, sufficientarianism and Hegelian recognition theory. As part of the second cluster of research interests I work on the ethics of risk, the idea of satisficing, intergenerational (in)justice, global justice, water security and securitization, land grabbing, the normative conceptualization of resource and territorial rights, energy policy, as well as the ethics and politics of climate change.
PhD TOPIC: An empirical assessment of citizens supports for post-growth alternatives: case study of the island of Ireland
Post-growth; Interculturalism and identity; Ecofeminism; Global trade dynamics; Post-colonialism
Achievements and Distinctions
2017: Department for the Economy (DFE) studentship fee-only awarded by the Centre for the Study of Risk and Inequality (CSRI).
Born from a French father and a Lebanese mother, I grew up in South of France by the Mediterranean Sea, in beautiful Catalunya. After a few months internship in Saigon (Vietnam) and Toronto (Canada) during my undergraduate studies in Business and Marketing, I decided to specialise in International Relations.
Prof John Barry and Dr Fabian Schuppert
My PhD research comes under the remit of the Centre for the Study of Risk and Inequality (CSRI) and the project's theme will examine the political economy behind energy transitions. The 'transition' in question is to what degree there is a movement away from fossil fuel usage towards renewable sources of energy in the 'Global South'. To assess this, my comparative study research will focus on how China - an external actor - impacts on renewable energy transitions within specific developing countries.
International Political Economy; Chinese Politics; Energy Politics; Renewable Energy and Investment; International Relations
Academic Awards and Achievements
PISP Award for Highest Marks (2013-2014).
Postgraduate Bursary Award (2015).
Best MA Dissertation (2016) Award in the School of History Anthropology Philosophy and Politics (HAPP).
Department for the Economy (DfE) Postgraduate Research Studentship (2017-2020).
Dr Stefan Andreasson and Dr Fabian Schuppert