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British Academy appoints Paul Heywood to lead on global anti-corruption research project

Press release •

The British Academy has appointed Paul Heywood (Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics at the University of Nottingham) to lead on its global anti-corruption research project. The announcement was made today, Wednesday 9 December, to coincide with International Anti-corruption Day.

The circa £4 million scheme was launched in March  2015 in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). The scheme will enable outstanding research teams to identify new initiatives that can help developing countries tackle the scourge of corruption and the negative impact it has on millions of people's lives. This DFID-British Academy partnership is one component of the DFID-funded 'Anti-Corruption Evidence' (ACE) programme. 

An announcement on the projects to be funded under the BA scheme is expected to be confirmed in January 2016.  

Paul Heywood said:

"Everybody agrees corruption is hugely damaging, especially in the developing world. But efforts to combat corruption over recent decades have seen very disappointing results. One reason is that too often we have adopted a rather simplistic approach to corruption, trying to find some kind of measurable 'amount' or 'level' in particular countries and suggesting 'one size fits all' solutions. But corruption is complex, and takes different forms in different places, both within countries and also transnationally.

"Only through more detailed and focused interdisciplinary work, involving academic researchers working closely with anti-corruption policy-makers and activists, will we develop the kinds of insights we need to make a real difference.  The projects in this programme are designed to help us understand how anti-corruption interventions can work better."

Lord Stern, President of the British Academy, said:

"Tackling endemic corruption is an enormous international challenge that blights far too many countries. We are confident this new research can produce new approaches and tools to help them to tackle it. It is one of the most worthwhile ways that a country like the UK can offer them practical support."

“The British Academy is delighted to partner DfID on such an important international project, which we believe can make a real difference to improving people's lives and prospects in a range of different countries. The hunt is now on for world-leading research groups with a strong track record in rigorous analytical research of this kind to work with us in tackling this huge challenge."   

Editor's notes:

1. For further information or for interview with Paul Heywood please contact Laura Norton, Senior Press and Communications Officer at the British Academy: / 020 7969 5227.

2. The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Established by Royal Charter in 1902. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. For more information, please visit Follow the British Academy on Twitter  @britac_news

3. Professor Paul M Heywood is Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics at the University of Nottingham, where he has held several senior management roles since 1995. Before joining Nottingham, he taught at the University of Glasgow and at the University of London. He also worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit, London (1989-93).

Paul is author, co-author or editor of sixteen books, including the Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption (2015) and more than eighty journal articles and book chapters. His research focuses primarily on political corruption and integrity management, as well as institutional design and state capacity. He is the UK expert Research Correspondent on Corruption (2012-16) for the European Commission's DG Home Affairs, helping to produce an EU Anti-Corruption Report. His has also worked closely with Transparency International since the late-1990s, when he began to act as an advisor and referee for the annual Global Corruption Report. More recently, he joined the Board of Trustees of TI-UK, and was a member of the Advisory Committee for the TI-UK report, 'Lifting the Lid on Lobbying' (2015). 

In 2006, Paul was appointed Adjunct Professor at the University of Hunan (China), where he is Senior Adviser to the Center for Clean Governance. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (elected 2002), a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected 2012), and a Fellow of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (elected 2013).

4. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty. They are ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit. For more information, visit

In January 2015, DFID approved an investment of up to £9.6 m over the next five years (2015-2020) to fund new, operationally-relevant evidence on tackling corruption.  Research uptake will mean more evidence based anti-corruption initiatives by DFID and its partners in a range of DFID priority countries.