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Newton Fund 2018 Awards List

Awards made under the Newton Advanced Fellowships and Newton Mobility Grants in 2018.


Funding Source: Newton Fund, under the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Newton Fund was launched in 2014 and originally consisted of £75 million each year for 5 years. In the 2015 UK Spending Review it was agreed to extend and expand the Fund. The Newton Fund was extended from 2019 to 2021 and expanded by doubling the £75 million investment to £150 million by 2021, leading to a £735 million UK investment to 2021, with partner countries providing matched resources within the Fund. These awards are funded by the Newton Fund, which is part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.


Newton Advanced Fellowships




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.




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.


Newton Mobility Grants




Professor Gabrielle Bittelbrun, Universidade de Blumenau

Professor Ivana Ebel, University of Derby

Cross Cultural Feminism: Race, Gender and Body Representation in Mainstream and Alternative Magazines in Brazil and in the United Kingdom – promoting transnational debate and knowledge exchange to learn the socio-economic implications of misrepresentation.

NMGR1180522                                  One Year                                              £9,970.00                                           

There exists a powerful relation between gender, race and socio-economical aspects. Unequivocally, media – here represented by magazines – plays an important role in perpetuating stereotypes that fail to represent the society. It means that this deformed representation impacts not only the females’ self-perception and, consequently, mental health, but has an important role in maintaining socio-economic disparities. The lack of representation – and the misrepresentation – has impacts that go beyond self-esteem. It helps to build stereotypes that, in the end, have economic implications and prevent women from achieving social and economic equality. In different degrees, Brazil and the United Kingdom struggle on increasing gender equality. Pay gaps exist in both countries, generating profound cultural and economic impacts. The intention is to use the research to promote consciousness, ethics and change the approach by educating researchers, staff and consequently the students in both that would represent the next generations of magazine journalists in both countries.  The project scope deals directly with the core concepts of the Development Assistant Committee of the OECD on Gender Equality (GENDERNET), that involves experts to develop co-operation to support gender equality and women’s rights.




Professor Xiang Gao, Peking University 

Professor Jing Zhang, Royal Holloway, University of London

The illumination of the child protection framework in the United Kingdom to Chinese child protection policies and practices

NMG2R3\100178                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

China has the largest child population in the world; however, its child protection policies are residual, fragmented, and largely inefficient. The child protection practices are passive and at a low level of quality. The United Kingdom has one of the most developed child protection systems in the world. It holds, potentially, great value for Chinese scholars to understand how the UK’s child protection framework developed and how it functions today. This program will arrange local visits of researchers/educators, seminars with graduate level students, and research paper development between scholars in China and UK. It will benefit China for future child policy and practice development. It will also contribute to the comparative research for UK scholars in the child protection discussions.


Professor Dingwei Gu, Fudan University

Professor Hanwen Sun, University of Bath

Strategic Insider Trading: A Balancing Act between Information Flows and Trading Competition to improve market efficiency and transparency in China.

NMG2R3\100018                                              One Year                                              £9,985.00

Corporate insiders are assumed to be informed due to their privileged access to non-public and material information. Understanding their trading pattern can significantly help promote price discovery and market fairness in the capital market. We plan to investigate the strategic trading behaviours of corporate insiders in the Chinese stock market as China is an ideal representative for emerging market with weak institutions for corporate governance. We propose that insiders are strategic with a balancing act between information flows and trading competition. Specifically, the insiders may strategically reduce their trade volume to camouflage private information flows to other sophisticated investors like short sellers, as trading aggressively might reduce their future profit. Moreover, if short sellers are more sensitive to insider trades, the insider trading pattern is more likely to be that they trade multiple times with very small volume each time, pretending to be liquidity traders. This proposal is directly and primarily relevant to the sustainable development of the capital market in China, i.e. market efficiency and fairness. The outputs of the study will increase the current knowledge available to various regulators, investment professional associations and their advisers in the financial industry. The research will have practical implications by highlighting that insider trading behaviour is the balancing act between information flows and trading competition. The project will also help to strengthen the research capacity of the Research team in Fudan University and Bath University.




Professor Alfonso Miranda, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

Professor Yu Zhe, University of Dundee

Determinants of school performance and education inequality in Mexico: Lessons we can learn from the baseline of the longitudinal study of child development in Aguascalientes (EDNA)

NMG2R3\100110                                              One Year                                              £9,976.47

Evidence-based policies require sound knowledge on the link between a given intervention and its effects. However, the current systems in Mexico do not allow the effects of public policy to be evaluated due to a lack of state-of-the-art data. To fill this gap in 2016 PANEL initiated a longitudinal study of the development of the children in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico. The study will follow every two years 1000 children in 100 public primary schools. The funding of the Newton Mobility Grant offers a great opportunity to add value to the EDNA Project. It will not only enhance the quality and impact of the research projects resulting from the first wave of EDNA through international collaboration, but also help to inform the design of questionnaires of future waves. Moreover, it will foster long-term research collaboration between CIDE and Dundee and facilitate joint funding applications in the future.


Professor Juan Antionio Fernandez, Universidad Tecmilenio

Professor Daniel Branch, University of Warwick

The Early Mexican Drug Trade – demystifying the trade with knowledge exchange and an accurate portrayal of its everyday mechanics.

NMGR1180504                                  One Year                                              £3,3911.80

Mexico has been at the centre of the international drug trade since the United States banned the import of narcotics at the beginning of the twentieth century. From the late 1930s onward, farmers from the northwestern state of Sinaloa started to dominate the trade, growing poppies, extracting raw opium gum, and processing it into smoking opium, heroin, or morphine. Within a decade, the head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics declared that Sinaloa was "the source of at least half America's drugs". Discussing the history of drug trade in Mexico is still frowned upon. Much of Mexico’s understanding of the trade is based on the mythologizing of narcocorridos and other forms of narcocultura. This project aims to map out the early stages of this trade, plot the hierarchy of producers, intermediaries, and wholesalers, and pinpoint the ways in which political and economic elites backed, benefited from, and protected the trade.  Key to building a Mexico that is not reliant on the products of the illegal narcotics is knowledge exchange, demystifying the trade and presenting a relatively accurate portrayal of its everyday mechanics.


South Africa


Professor Kristina Riedel, University of the Free State

Professor Hannah Gibson, University of Essex

Variation in Sesotho and Setswana as spoken in the Free State

NMG2R3\100036                                              One Year                                              £9,644.00

This project aims to provide an initial linguistic description of two languages spoken in the Free State, South Africa – Sesotho and Setswana. In addition to regional variation, there are signs that ‘standard’ varieties used in formal contexts, diverge substantially from contemporary spoken forms. The research seeks to improve our understanding of this variation, with a goal to contributing to the development of more appropriate resources. The programme will combine primary research with speakers, a training-focused workshop with research students and early career researchers and scholarly outputs. The project seeks to build capacity in language description and documentation skills in the local research community, and to encourage synergy between language description and applied linguistics, particularly in relation to educational contexts. The research will also contribute to the development of African language resources, as well as to the visibility of research on African languages in the South African higher education environment.


Professor Mamamelela Matlhako, University of Fort Hare

Professor Noelia-Sarah Reynolds, University of Essex

The role of social capital among entrepreneurs in marginalised communities in South Africa

NMG2R3\100097                                              One Year                                              £9,980.00

Since gaining independence from apartheid, the South African government has implemented various measures designed to improve economic development of historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Some of these measures have focused on developing capacity of entrepreneurial ventures in disadvantaged communities such as those found in the Eastern Cape province. Practical measures to improve entrepreneurial capacity in such regions have included provision of finance, training and physical infrastructure. Despite such efforts, entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities tend to rely mainly on their social relations for support and resources. Although research evidence shows that social networks and social capital facilitate entrepreneurial development in many ways, the importance of social capital among entrepreneurs in historically marginalized communities in Eastern Cape, the poorest region in South Africa, remains under-researched. We therefore interview entrepreneurs in the Eastern Cape province so as to explore the role of social capital for their ventures.


Dr Sarah Skeen, Stellenbosch University

Dr Graham Moore, Cardiff University

Complex interventions for adolescent mental health and well-being in South Africa: Capacity

NMG2R3\100153                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

Researchers from the Institute for Child and Adolescent Health Research (ICAHR), at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and the Centre for the Development and Evaluation for Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), at Cardiff University in the UK, propose to embark on a programme of capacity development of emerging researchers from South Africa, and to further develop research collaboration between both institutions. In order to meet these objectives, we propose that a delegation from DECIPHer visits South Africa in mid-2019, with the aim of i) implementing a teaching programme on complex intervention development, implementation and evaluation, ii) consulting on current areas of collaboration, and iii) planning for the development of a future joint programme of work. These proposed activities will result in the development of a research proposal, one journal article and one edited book chapter for broader dissemination.


Professor Helen Scanlon, University of Cape Town

Professor Jelke Boesten, King's College London

Building Inclusive Histories in Transition: Symbolic Reparations, Memorial Arts and Gender-based Violence in Comparative Perspective - promoting transformative gender justice.

NMGR1180547                                                  One Year                                              £9,012.00

In the last two decades there has been global momentum to address sexual violence in conflict, as well as an emphasis on women in peacebuilding. UN resolutions and guidelines such as SCR 1325 urge governments and peacemakers to include women in peace and reconstruction processes and address gendered harms, and transitional justice and reparation programmes are now expected to include a gender perspective. This project will explore the ways in which post-conflict symbolic reparations - that is recognition of harms done through, for example, memorials, museums, or arts - can contribute to debating and unsettling harmful gender norms that may have contributed to specifically gendered harms in conflict. The focus of this project is primarily on Peru and South Africa, both emerging economies with persistent high levels of socio-economic and gendered inequality, high levels of violence against women, an unsatisfactory transitional justice process in terms of sexual and gender-based violence and active civil society engagement with memory, art and gender.  The project will develop research in South Africa and Peru on symbolic reparations as a potential tool for transformative gender justice. It will aim to deepen the links between the department of International Development at King's College London and the Justice and Transformation Programme at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT) and work on curriculum development in the area of gender and symbolic reparations that will be relevant in both South Africa and the UK. It is hoped that the project will benefit the Justice and Transformation programme of UCT which seeks to promote transformative gender justice and encourage a new cohort of young South African researchers to take these issues forward.


Professor Linda Theron, University of Pretoria

Dr Diane Levine, University of Leicester

Digital pathways of resilience: African young adults' stories of resilience to help improve well-being and livelihoods.

NMGR1180547                                                  One Year                                              £9,395.00

In the face of adversity, developing our understanding of how adolescents adapt well to their challenging circumstances – their resilience - is increasingly important in order to sustain mental and physical health, and in turn support them to contribute to society and the economy. Resilience is associated with improved learning outcomes, and a reduction in risk-taking behaviours. Research theorising the ways technology could be harnessed to enable resilience in resource-constrained African communities is under-explored. This project will explore these issues using digital storytelling in Secunda, a town in one of the poorest provinces of South Africa where almost a third (30.7%) of 15-24 year olds living there are not engaged in education, employment or training. In parallel, the project will deliver training in Pretoria to support post-graduate students to engage digital story techniques in their studies. Publications and a toolkit will be produced for educational psychologists and teachers working in a resource-constrained setting.  Developing the demographic dividend lies at the heart of SDGs 1, 4, 8, 10 and 16, and this project aims to inform all of these goals. It will advance South Africa’s commitment to the SDGs and address the youth priorities in the National Development Plan, 2030 and the National Youth Policy 2015 – 2020 by contributing to i) the development of the social compact to reduce poverty and inequality, and raise employment and investment, ii) citizens’ opportunities for advancement, learning and experience, and iii) working within the community to prioritise the insights of those who are typically voiceless and marginalised, and raise social cohesion. The project also aligns with the African Union Agenda, 2063 and in particular Aspiration 6 which prioritises a people-centred Africa with "engaged and empowered youth". In proposing a collaboration which foregrounds human wellbeing, we are aligned with UP's institutional research themes and the NRF’s vision for ‘a transformed society’ by means of globally competitive and collaborative research that supports the potential for ‘human capital development’.




Dr Pichawadee Kittipanya-ngam, Thammasat University

Dr Niraj Kumar, University Liverpool

Transition towards circular agri-food systems in Thailand: Multi-stakeholders’ perspectives

NMG2R3\100120                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

The unprecedented scale of food losses and wastes is attracting increased attention across the globe. Scarcity of natural resources and the significant impact of food wastes on socio- economic, and environmental well-being have threatened to ensure food security for all. Implementing the principles of circular supply chain in agri-food systems could lead to waste prevention and valuable usage of food wastes. In this context, the projects aim to understand the role of multiple stakeholders including the farmers, retailers, consumers and policymakers in developing a circular and sustainable agri-food system in Thailand. The findings and learning of the project will be shared with the key stakeholders in food systems such as farmers, practitioners and policymakers with the objective to improve the circularity index of agricultural produce in low- and middle-income countries. The collaboration between Thai and UK researchers will help to share knowledge and best practices in this sector.


Professor Wikanda Promkhuntong, Mahidol University

Professor Kate Taylor-Jones, University of Sheffield

Fan Tourism and the Southeast Asian Film Trails: Archive and Participatory Cultures within and beyond Colonial Nostalgia – promoting sustainable fan tourism to boost Thailand’s socio-economic development.

NMGR1180180                                  One Year                                              £10,000.00

Thailand and Southeast Asia (SEA) more broadly, significantly relies on tourism for a larger part of its economy. Recently, the phenomenon of “fan tourism” has become a key point of debate following the success of transnational films from The Beach (2000, USA) to Lost in Thailand (2012, China) and the specific form of tourism that has resulted. SEA film trails (based on popular sites featured in films) have been established and are shared both on- and off-line for potential visitors. However, existing research has tended to focus on tourist behaviours and heritage conservation within specific national states. Questions related to transnational fandom and the socio-cultural implications of their tourism are highly under-explored. It is this important gap that this project will seek to tackle. It aims to contribute to Thailand’s economic development and social welfare by promoting cultural sensitivity through transnational fan tourism and wider audiences and identifying specific locations and stakeholders for future discussions on cross-cultural understandings and academic partnerships. The importance of other related fields such as digital participatory culture and creative industries will be discussed in relation to their importance for tourism development and for future economic growth and sustainable development. The proposal includes specific training on film archival management and exploration with the idea of colonial nostalgia as one of the powerful forces driving this tourism. Training on socio-cultural history and colonial traces will allow knowledge transfer and exchange on discourses of colonialism. The project will enable the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia to expand its international networks and collaborations.




Professor Hulya Adak, Sabanci University

Professor Murat Akser, University of Ulster

Filmic representations of trauma, justice and reconciliation: A comparative exploration of research methodologies in Turkish and Northern Irish film studies and practices topromote social cohesion in Turkey.

NMG2R3\100162                                              One Year                                              £9,451.00

In the last few decades, the dominance of formal and textual analysis in film studies has been widely questioned while research focusing on alternative cultural histories of gender and ethnicities started to flourish. Even though critical historiographies of traumatic events of the twentieth century have been produced in the Turkish context, the textual film analysis approach continues to dominate studies on cinema in Turkey and many films and literary examples still replicate national imaginaries, demonising ethnic minorities and legitimising violence against them. The proposed research aims to introduce critical paradigms and methodologies into the study of cinema in Turkey. The project will focus on the social, political and cultural development challenges in Turkey by closely looking at the methodologies used to deal with and respond to Turkey’s traumatic historical past in relation to ethnic diversity, particularly events of discrimination on the road to reconciliation. These factors can be seen as a step toward achieving social cohesion and bringing about social and economic development. This project will build and strengthen the research capacity between the research group at Sabanci University and the research groups and institutes at Ulster University, by establishing new collaborative partnerships, developing longer-term links between researchers, training and transferring knowledge and skills to help strengthen the research capacity of film studies in Turkey. We hope that the partnership will enhance the competitive capacities of Turkish academics to enable them to enter international networks more easily. The mutual exchange of knowledge between the two institutions will enable early career researchers in Turkey to bridge ethnic/religious divisions through their future research in Turkey.


Professor Evinic Dogan, Akdeniz University

Professor Finola Kerrigan, University of Birmingham

A Tale of Two Cities: Investigating the Use of Virtual Reality to Connect Consumers to Culture – using knowledge creation and exchange to connect people to places and increase awareness of Turkey’s rich heritage thereby supporting sustainable tourism.

NMGR1180505                                  One Year                                              £9,838.50

The proposed research will investigate the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in historic spaces with the aim of connecting consumers to culture. "A Tale of Two Cities" in the title refers to two different sites from different periods in terms of their cultural importance and symbolic value. An archaeological site from Turkey (Xanthos-Letoon), listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and excavated by Akdeniz University Department of Archaeology, has been selected to explore the story of the ancient Lycian site through immersive technology. This project fosters knowledge creation and exchange on visual research methods, place branding and storytelling between the collaborating institutions to increase capacity for future research using these methods and theoretical approaches.  Participants will aim to establish best practice in using AR/VR to better understand how to engage people with culture and heritage developing new skills in storytelling and establish research leadership in the field of marketing and consumer research by bringing innovative creative methods to the fore. Turkey will directly benefit from this proposal in developing research capacity for the young scholars as well as connecting consumers to culture and heritage to create awareness for sustainable tourism which is an important driver of growth, jobs and economic development.