Newton Advanced Fellowship Awards 2018

Funded by


Professor Yutao Wang, Fudan University

Professor Dabo Guan, University of East Anglia

Ecological capital in the context of climate change: Assessment, accounting and management

NAFR2180103                                    Two Years                                           £74,000.00

The project plan for this Newton Advanced Scholar is embedded in activities at both University of East Anglia and Fudan University, topic on ecological capital in the context of climate change.  Climate change has a significant impact on the stocks, flows, and distribution patterns of ecological resources, which in turn has a major impact on social well-being. The uncertainty of future climate change exacerbates this impact, so it is considered to assess the impact of climate change on ecological resources are necessary. This research intends to study ecological capital from its spatial transfer and network metabolism perspective under the context of climate change. The study will develop a methodological framework for the assessment of ecological capital (both physical and monetary values) and provide important theoretical support and empirical reference for achieving the governance and rational utilization of ecological capital.

Professor Junfeng Liu, Peking University

Dr John McDonagh, University of East Anglia

Analysis for the nexus of emission-air quality-socioeconomics for air pollution control in China

NAFR2180104                                    Two Years                                           £74,000.00

This project will evidence the performance efficacy of current anti-air pollution policies and, moving forward, analyse and discuss relevant research and deliver an evidence based, effective, equitable and integrated intervention and management plan for air pollution mitigation in Beijing. This research will address the coordinated reduction of multiple air pollutants, the dynamics of energy pollution- health-socioeconomic relations, the total economic losses induced by both physical and mental health impacts of air pollution, and the past experience in the UK and other countries in terms of policy and mechanism design and implementation for air pollution mitigation. This project will update and validate emission inventories, simulate pollution dispersions, conduct input-output based pollution footprint analysis, perform psychophysical analysis, evaluate health loss by different citizen groups, and cost effectiveness analysis for policy measures. This project will perform quantitative assessment for current policy measures in terms of air quality improvements; unfold the nexus among pollution-health-socioeconomic-energy.

Professor Xian Xu, Fudan University

Professor Meryem Duygun, University of Nottingham

InsurTech Innovation: UK and China as Hotspots of the Global World - A comparative and critical study on the management of Insurance Technology Innovation and how this contributes to achieving SDG 3.

NAFR2180130                                    Two Years                                           £64,076.11

In recent years, the insurance industry has seen rapid development with the application of new technologies, led by the UK and China in the global insurance market. This research project aims to study the InsurTech innovation in the UK and China under the global dynamic market and compare the ecosystems, market development, investment and regulation of InsurTech. We attempt to examine new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain development and its specific applications in insurance sector, explore how new technology is changing the entire value chain of insurance, from product design, underwriting, actuarial activities, claims assessment and settlement, asset management, to capital investment in UK and China. Based on the research on the UK and China InsurTech market, with specific study cases of London and Shanghai, we aim to provide a comprehensive policy report to different stakeholders of InsurTech such as policymakers, insurers, start-ups and investors. This will help to inform the management and regulation of insurance technology for the benefit of both countries.  The collaboration between Nottingham University and the Fudan University will transfer knowledge and boost the competitiveness of both universities in new technology research in combination with traditional insurance theory. In addition, the collaboration will help to further strengthen the relationship between the two international financial cities, London and Shanghai, and create knowledge transfer from research to practice.

Dr Hai Zhang, Peking University

Dr Yijie Zhuang, University College London

Water and early enclosed settlement on the Huai floodplain, Central China: Geoarchaeology of water management and landscape of the late-Neolithic site of Pingliangtai

NAFR2180079                                    Two Years                                           £44,700.00

Archaeology is a rapid developing subject in China and interdisciplinary and scientific archaeological research enjoys increasing research funding and international collaboration. However, the social impact of archaeology lags behind its rapid development. This proposed interdisciplinary research combines geo-science related methods with archaeological excavations to investigate the technological and environmental aspects of prehistoric water management infrastructures in Central China. This project will significantly promote international collaboration and interdisciplinary research by establishing a paradigm for future research projects to follow in terms of how to design research plans, how to set up on-site laboratory, and how to train next generation of scholars through enacting their participation. The collaboration will foster new research directions for archaeology and environmental studies in both the UK and China, greatly promoting interdisciplinary research and collaborations in the two countries. This project will contribute to our understanding of the historical roots and ecological foundations of rapid urbanisation in modern China. Our reconstruction of water management infrastructures on an abandoned palaeo-river course of the Huai River offer valuable knowledge and unique perspective to sustainable development in the rural areas of China that are undergoing rapid urban transformation.


Professor Juan Espindola, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

Professor Leigh Payne, University of Oxford

Transitional justice in Mexico: The problem of collaboration in drug-related violence

NAFR2180049                                    Two Years                                           £63,980.00

This project will examine one of the mechanisms that produces gross human rights violations in conflict and post-conflict societies such as Mexico--the collaboration of individuals and groups with perpetrators of violence. The participation collaborators, ranging from ordinary citizens to non-state actors, such as business, professional or religious corporations, has been critical for the continuation of violence in these societies. The project will seek to explore the practices and institutions that have sustained collaboration; the ethical and legal criteria to hold collaborators accountable; and the means to discourage collaboration. This examination is crucial for designing and implementing transitional justice mechanisms (which the recently elected government in Mexico has vowed to do) to confront human rights violations. Research will provide valuable knowledge to inform policy making processes, social activism, public debates, and to advance scholarly knowledge, defying and expanding some conventions about transitional justice in the academic literature.

Professor Gonzalo Soltero, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Professor Chris Bilton, Univeristy of Warwick

The Social Impact of Narratives: Narrative Construction of Social Problems, Public Policy and Justice in Mexico

NAFR1180233                                    Two Years                                           £43,850.00

This project will study the social impact of narratives by looking at their role in the construction of social problems, the consequences they have on public policy and the population that shares them. It will do so by examining four different interrelated narrative practices: first, the actions and claims of the Mexican federal government and criminal organisations in the war on drugs (2007-2012), and how both were represented in the media. Second, how Mexican and Spanish newspapers sometimes give preference to engaging narratives over facts, as in the case of a specific conspiratorial cold war narrative that is supported to this day. Third, why cultural policies are frequently shaped by narrative tropes which are not objectively true but reflect underlying beliefs and values. And finally, the intricate relation between narrative and justice in contemporary Mexico.


Professor Evren Turkmenoglu, Istanbul University

Professor Nigel Nayling, University of Wales

Digital Recording and Hull Modelling of Archaeological Ships - developing research expertise and capacity in cultural heritage to support economic development in Turkey. 

NAFR1180264                                    Two Years                                           £48,500.00        

The study of the archaeologically recovered ship and boat remains, nautical archaeology, offers invaluable insight into past societies providing information on their technology, social and economic conditions, trading practices, surrounding environment, and even rituals in some cases. Such studies form a central element of maritime archaeology, a relatively young academic discipline which has seen rapid development since the mid-20th century as a result of improvements in diving technology and the increasing number of archaeological ship discoveries made in coastal terrestrial locations, often as a result of economic development.

Developing research expertise and capacity in the digital humanities, and particularly in the area of archaeological ship documentation, analysis, publication and archiving will have positive economic benefits through encouraging development of centres of expertise in Turkey which can respond to archaeological discoveries.  Expertise in digital techniques for archaeological research and recording will enhance the ability to respond appropriately to challenges in preservation and promotion of cultural heritage threatened by economic development, and make these discoveries more accessible to the public, whether residents or tourists. Such approaches can assist in dissemination and outreach of new discoveries of significant cultural value to the wider society and assist in development and enhancement of cultural institutions such as the museum sector which have both economic importance and are central to fostering a sense of well-being / social welfare for the participant country. It is hoped that the training programme will lead to curriculum development and the production of training manuals in Turkish which will encourage uptake of these approaches in nautical archaeology in the longer term and beyond the immediate participants.

Professor Emek Usenmez, Istanbul University

Professor Soydan Soylu, Middlesex University

Knowledge sharing in Turkish health forums: developing a decision support system to tackle the epidemic dissemination of pseudo-scientific claims.

NAFR1180214                                    Two Years                                           £72,239.00

Online health forums are becoming popular among those who seek health care information in Turkey. Despite this popularity, their users do not usually have enough health literacy for assessing the quality of this information. The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the extent and mechanisms under which health forums impact the quality of available knowledge necessary to make informed decisions on health issues. Delineating these mechanisms can provide the guidelines for an informatics system that produces high quality knowledge with the help of health care experts, while not overlooking the discursive and empowering potentials of the user generated content. We will adopt a participatory action research methodology for exploring the challenges that the stakeholders face and seeking possible solutions. Text mining techniques will be used to collect and summarize the content in health forums for informing the different processes of action research.

Professor Rabia Polat, Isik University

Professor Vivien Lowndes, University of Birmingham

Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Understanding Local Government Responses

NAFR1180177                                    Two Years                                           £61,239.00

This project will build research capacity in Turkey and further the methodological skills and career development of the Applicant. The joint research will analyse local government responses to the refugee crisis in Turkey and will seek to explain variation between localities. Understanding local responses is important as 90% of Turkey’s 3.5 million Syrian refugees live in urban areas, rather than camps, and their presence is becoming entangled with wider social cleavages (including secular/religious and Turkish/Kurdish). The research will investigate how local governments address refugees’ needs in a context where Syrians are accepted as ‘guests’ without refugee status. Qualitative research in four case study areas will identify and compare local policy discourses, how they relate to national and international refugee policies, and how they influence local services, infrastructure and community relationships. The programme will lead to long-term cooperation between INLOGOV and the Applicant’s network in Turkey, including her institution Isik University.

Professor Alper Kaliber, Altinbas University

Professor Matthew Whiting, University of Birmingham

Facing Threats to Democracy under Conditions of Emergency: Understanding Post-Failed Coup Turkey and its Relations with Europe

NAFR1180137                                    Two Years                                           £59,500.00

Turkey is currently being ruled under a state of emergency, declared soon after a failed coup attempt in July 2016 and having recently been extended for three months (for the sixth time). This research, using Turkey as a case study, aims to develop a new conceptual pathway to explain why there has been a rise in states using emergency legislation in response to internal coup (and other security) threats, and how these become established state practices. It explores how wider political developments, including democratic backsliding and the rise of populism, interact with the politics of emergency rule and discourses of (in)security. It also examines Turkey’s relationship with the European Union (EU) to explore the role of an international organisation in influencing/failing to influence the institutionalization of emergency rule and the consequences of emergency rule for the future relationship between Turkey and the EU.

Professor Emma Baysal, Trakya University

Professor Holly Miller, University of Nottingham

Building Capacity for Sustainable Archaeological Science and Heritage in Turkey (Trakya University)

NAFR1180204                                    Two Years                                           £63,175.00

This research promotes capacity building, education and training in the field of archaeological science through an exploration of the interactions of early herding cultures (Neolithic to Early Bronze Age) with the environment. Combining the rich cultural heritage of Turkey with UK expertise in isotope chemistry, the project will result in the design and implementation of protocols for laboratory analyses and sustainable data management solutions in Turkey. Our holistic approach to archaeological data, from excavation and laboratory analysis to Open Access archive and impact programme, ensures that a comprehensive system of continuing knowledge transfer will be put in place. The partnership between Applicant and Co-applicant builds on, and combines, their existing research specialisms with the aim of 1) ensuring increased self-sufficiency in archaeological science and heritage management in Turkey, and 2) simultaneously answering fundamental questions about human-landscape interaction in prehistory through an innovative programme of bioarchaeological and material science.

Professor Scott Haddow, Koç University

Professor Jessica Pearson, University of Liverpool

Scratching the Surface: A Bioarchaeological Study of Funerary Practices and Emergent Social Complexity in the Neolithic Near East – an innovative programme to sustainably manage Turkey’s rich cultural resources in a self-reliant manner to increase tourism-related economic gains.

NAFR1180202                                    Two Years                                           £68,391.60 

Turkey is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites including Neolithic Çatalhöyük, which is among the archaeological study sites in the proposed research project. Because of this rich heritage, Turkey’s economy benefits from income generated by tourism (12.5% of GDP in 2016). Archaeological research plays an important role in the development of national cultural heritage by producing (through excavations), interpreting (through analysis) and preserving (through conservation) a material record of the past. When cultural heritage is properly managed, all citizens benefit as a result of increased economic gains. This project will investigate the development of agriculture and animal husbandry in the Near East during the Neolithic which transformed both economic patterns and social behaviour. The research team will benefit from advanced training in the application of Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) and other techniques required to successfully address the proposed research questions which their career and academic standing will further.  The project will also help to ensure that Koç University remains a key Turkish research institution for archaeology.  Strong links between researchers at Koç and Liverpool Universities and longer-term collaborations that extend beyond the current research proposal are anticipated. By building and maintaining local, sustainable capacities in cultural heritage through student training and outreach to various stakeholder communities (e.g. tourism-reliant regions), the overall management of Turkish cultural heritage resources will ultimately improve and lead to measurable economic gains via the tourism sector.


Professor Luciana Marques Vieira, Fundacao Getulio Varga

Professor Andres Mejia-Acosta, King's College London

Business as Usual? The Complex Role of the Private Sector in Tackling Food and Nutrition Security

NAFR1180184                                    Two Years                                           £ 73,670.00

This proposal develops a conceptual and practical toolkit to better understand the role of “the private sector” to advance or undermine food and nutrition security objectives (FNS). Private sector interests are believed to be key drivers of innovation and investment, but they can also privilege private policy choices over public regarding goals. Private sector actors are also complex because they are made up of diverse interests, from small farmers to transnational food processing and producing companies. This work will combine the business management expertise with political economy approaches to better explain why – and when – do business, governments and citizens interact to shape a common agenda in regard to FNS? It also offers a methodology to define, measure and analyze private sector actors. Finally, it will develop and offer capacity training to enable new researchers to advance knowledge in this area.

Professor Fabio Miessi Sanches, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Professor Dr Sorawoot Srisuma, University of Surrey

Semiparametric estimation of ascending auctions with risk averse sellers - exploring a new estimation method for reserve prices to enable the Government of Brazil to spend the increased revenue on areas of need.

NAFR1180122                                    Two Years                                           £50,400.00

In Brazil, most of the purchases made by the Federal and State governments are through procurement auctions. This project will develop a theory that can be used to understand procurement mechanisms and to shape policies that seek to improve the efficiency of the public sector. Improvements in the efficiency of procurement mechanisms has potential impacts on the budget of Federal and State governments - which may result in more resources that can be allocated to essential areas such as health and education. We propose an empirical framework to estimate sellers' utility functions in ascending auctions. Reserve prices observed in real-world auctions often are considered low. Existing studies on auctions assume sellers are risk neutral and often find the model implied optimal reserved prices to be higher than the observed ones. In practice sellers want to avoid a fail auction as it is typically costly to them. One way to reconcile these empirical facts using auction theory is to allow sellers to be risk averse. Our model can be used to empirically test this hypothesis. Our estimation procedure takes two-steps. First, we estimate the bidders' valuations using a nonparametric quantile regression approach. The parameters in the utility function can be obtained from the first order condition of the seller's profit maximization problem in the second step. We apply our methodology to test the importance of sellers' risk aversion in house auctions in Brazil. The researchers will gain knowledge, skills and experience from a training and professional development programme and from opportunities to attend conferences and seminars on the fields of Empirical Industrial Organization and Econometrics of Auctions.  The project is relevant for policy makers as well as private institutions.

Professor Leandro Valiati, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

Professor Paul Heritage, Queen Mary University of London

Counting Culture: What Do We Need to Know About How the Creative Industries Can Deliver Equitable, Just and Sustainable Development in Brazil and the UK?

NAFR1180095                                    Two Years                                           £67,704.21

This research project aims to develop a study on the British policy model for Creative Industries and to undertake a comparative analysis of the sectoral policy adopted by Brazil. There is evidence of strong influence from the UK model on policy actions undertaken in Brazil in recent years. The two countries are facing comparable problems in terms of income distribution, gender and ethnicity inequality within the Creative Industry economic sectors. This research aims to: a) characterize, describe and summarize the British model of Creative Industries policy and trace the impacts of its influence on Brazil; b) produce a discourse and content analysis, focusing on ideas established by policymakers and institutional reports as well as the use of British models by various different institutions; c) analyze the connections between policy discourse and practical budgetary actions, labour market strategy, and policy actions aimed at promoting inclusion and reducing gender and ethnicity inequality.


Professor Vachararutai Boontinand, Mahidol University

Professor Joshua Forstenzer, University of Sheffield

Philosophical Enquiry as a Pedagogy for Teaching Critical Thinking and Democratic Citizenship in Higher Education

NAFR1180112                                    Two Years                                           £65,158.00

The past decade in Thailand has witnessed continued disparity, conflict and violence dividing society and reversing the economic advancement and democratic consolidation that the country enjoyed more than a decade ago. It has been suggested that the country needs to embark on a major structural shift to escape the “middle income trap” while the government must prepare its citizens for a life in a more diverse and complex society that is prone to clashes between different ideas and ways of life. There is thus a need for the education system (and especially universities) to prepare students for democratic citizenship and civic engagement. This project therefore proposes to investigate the civic potential of philosophical activities and critical thinking by studying their pedagogical effects via student and teacher experiences. The project will adopt mixed methods combining philosophical and qualitative empirical research, working with partner organisations in Thailand and the UK.

Professor Sirijit Sunanta, Mahidol University

Professor Paul Statham, University of Sussex

Selling ‘Thai-ness’ to Westerners: The Social and Development Impacts of Marketing ‘Thai-ness’ on Entrepreneurs and People Who Work in the Small-scale Service Sector.

NAFR1180155                                    Two Years                                           £53,386.00

This research studies the opportunities for and social consequences of "selling Thai-ness" to Westerners within Thailand's strategy for tourist-driven development. First, we examine the opportunity structure for viable small-scale businesses, such as spas, or massage parlours, that sell distinctive "Thai" services. How do entrepreneurs’ market "Thai-ness" as a cultural product for Westerners? Second, we address the social consequences of selling "Thai-ness" for people (especially women) who work in this sector. How does this impact on the working lives, life-chances and personal wellbeing of individuals, and on their families? Third, our inquiry is embedded in a case study of the tourist city, Hua Hin, so that we examine the small-scale service sector's contribution to socio-economic development, and its related social consequences, within a specific field and policy context. Fourth, we study how "selling Thai-ness" works as a strategy for Thai women migrants in their efforts to improve their life-chances in Britain.

South Africa

Professor Theodore Haupt, Mangosuthu University of Technology

Professor Joseph Kangwa, London South Bank University

Harmonization of Construction Health and Safety Practices and Compliance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

NAFR1180168                                    Two Years                                           £55,495.00

There is an urgent need to strengthen construction health and safety laws in Africa. As Africa sees more infrastructure projects, efforts to minimize fatal human losses and avoidable injuries must take priority in project planning, implementation and supervision. Currently, due to poor health and safety rules and regulations, the lack of safety monitoring and enforcement bodies, a non-structured approach and the absence of regulatory frameworks to oversee these issues, it is evident that the construction industry will continue to fail its workforce, which is an essential factor of production. Therefore, research into ways of creating a non-hazardous working environment is needed especially that the burden of occupational injuries and deaths go unnoticed and unrecorded. This research will explore various platforms and strategic management tools for harmonisation of health and safety rules and regulations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the betterment of the current and future generation.

Professor Veli Mitova, University of Johannesburg

Professor Lubomira Radoilska, University of Kent

Epistemic Injustice, Reasons, and Agency - building the capacity of South African researchers to promote gender equality and reduced inequalities.

NAFR1180082                                    Two Years                                           £50,982.00

In recent years, philosophers have become increasingly concerned with epistemic injustice, a kind of wrong inflicted on a disadvantaged person in her capacity as knower. For instance, her testimony might be dismissed because her unprivileged status is tacitly taken to disqualify her as a reliable source of information. The issue of epistemic injustice is at the heart of all kinds of prejudice-based inequality. It is one of the most deeply ingrained symptoms of systematic oppression, both social and economic. Understanding it properly, and the ways in which it is entangled with power-structures and our agency is thus a vital first step towards any attempt to successfully redress inequality. The proposed research aims to shed fresh light onto epistemic injustice by considering it in connection with two other hot topics in philosophy, reasons and agency. The underlying ambition is to identify and explore some fundamental yet elusive forms of epistemic injustice which, according to this project's central hypothesis, disadvantage a person by placing her outside the space of reasons and so, denying her full-blown responsibility for action and belief. This project is timely and socially significant. It will provide the theoretical resources urgently needed to challenge the entrenched ways in which relations of privilege and oppression imperceptibly shape our epistemic practices. The project will also support the creation of a wider international network of scholars developing a multicultural context for the exploration of systematic relations of privilege and disadvantage and their effects on different communities of knowers. This aims to take traditional African knowledge seriously and support its future developments in the context of the decolonialisation of knowledge. Through dedicated training and international networking opportunities the project aims to enhance the research, teaching and leadership skills of the project team to support the development of their careers and become just future employers and leaders, ultimately helping eradicate inequality and poverty in South Africa.  The University of Johannesburg’s reputation as a hub of philosophical activity will be reinforced by the project and its curricula expanded with a proposed newly-designed MA course.

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