IGA-Rockefeller Funding Call

This call is now closed for applications

In mid to late 2016 the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) invited colleagues from across the LSE to submit funding proposals for research projects under the broad theme of ‘Resilience’ to the second round call of the IGA-Rockefeller Research and Impact FundThe call defined “resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it. 

Building resilience is about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger”.  Under this broad theme research proposals were welcomed within or across four subthemes: financial resilience, climate resilience, resilient cities and resilience in post-conflict transitional processes.

Nine projects commencing throughout 2017 for a period of up to 36 months were supported. Further information on each project can be found below.


Deconstructing Notions of Resilience

This research will explore how people negotiate and experience and understand their own coping strategies and resilience, as well as their perceptions of how external forces and interventions contribute or detract from these. Drawing upon historical and anthropological approaches, extensive fieldwork will be undertaken in three post-conflict settings in Uganda: pastoralist Karamoja; areas affected by the LRA insurgency; and West Nile, which hosts and has hosted multiple waves of refugees from South Sudan.

Hybrid Justice

The Hybrid Justice project analyses the impact of ‘hybrid’ domestic-international criminal justice mechanisms in post-conflict and transitioning states. These courts and tribunals feature varying combinations of domestic and international staff, operative law, structure, financing and rules of procedure. Early hybrids were established in East Timor, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Bosnia and for Lebanon, before the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was expected to make hybrid mechanisms redundant.

Resilience Mechanisms to Gender Identity Crisis and the Link to Radicalisation

By war in Syria, respectively 650,000 and 1 million Syrian refugees have been displaced in Jordan and Lebanon and have been living in vulnerable socio-economic circumstances. Literature on gender differentiated coping mechanisms undertaken by Syrian refugees provides evidence of the reconfiguration of gender, in which the women act as the primary family provider whilst the men are mostly jobless. This research will explore how gender reconfiguration, as a means of resilience, may create a crisis of gender identity. The research will also examine the link between the gender identity crisis and the return to religion as a means of resilience.

Challenging urban decline narratives: enhancing community 

Our overall goal is to develop an innovative synthesis of both political economy and narrative approaches to resilience and to use this to understand different urban areas in England; namely estuary/coastal towns (Brighton and Margate) and ex-industrial towns (Oldham and Stockport). Crucially we will use a multi-method approach to explore how these towns have responded and adapted to their respective economic challenges and whether their relations to larger urban centres has enhanced or undermined their resilience.

Our core questions will be: How and why have these towns responded differently to broader economic and social changes? What are the political barriers and opportunities to fostering resilience in these four case studies? How have local communities demonstrated resilience and what challenges do they face? What kind of narrative strategies can be used by local populations to develop resilience? How have political and economic relations between these towns and proximate urban centres (i.e., London and Manchester) enhanced or undermined their resilience to these changes?

Our academic partners include the New Economics Foundation, the Young Foundation, and Debbie Abrahams MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions). Key outputs will include a seminar series, 6 academic papers, and an edited collection.

Financial Resilience of Integrating Emerging Economies

This project analyses financial resilience of emerging economies in response to post-crisis policy responses by investigating cross-border financial and regulatory interconnections between advanced and emerging economies. Based on the evidence we find, we assess financial resilience of key emerging economies and propose measures to strengthen resilience.

The past decade has seen profound shifts in the global environment in which emerging economies operate. Unconventional monetary policies in advanced economies have given rise to capital flows of previously unseen magnitude and volatility.  Post-crisis overhauls of financial regulations have focused on problems in advanced country financial systems, but they have also had significant repercussions for less developed financial systems. Meanwhile, as emerging economies have grown larger and their financial systems more integrated into the global economy, feedback loops from them have become material.

To assess financial resilience of emerging economies, the project focuses on three interrelated issues in the interface of economics and political science: (1) advanced country monetary policy constraints on emerging economies; (2) economic integration with distorted and underdeveloped financial systems; (3) the impact of all this on the role of central banks in emerging economies, also taking into account ongoing changes in the role of central banks in advanced economies. 

Investigator(s): Ms Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi, Prof. Mario Blejer, Dr Guillermo Felices, Prof. Keyu Jin

Period: 24 months

Pathways to Resilience’: the role of an urban diaspora in post-conflict reconstruction, London and Hargeisa, 1991 to the present day

This project investigates the role of the Somali diaspora in building frameworks of social, political and financial resilience in a post-conflict urban environment. It case-studies the diasporic relationship between London and Hargeisa, capital of the unrecognised state of Somaliland, since civil war ended in 1991.

Recent research confirms the importance of this urban diaspora in resilience, but has focussed on remittance payments. However, Hargeisa’s London diaspora has been central in enabling the city to withstand numerous financial, environmental and demographic shocks since 1991, through robust civic governance, the regeneration of infrastructure, and the formation of grass-roots non-governmental community organisations. These essential aspects of recovery have, it will be shown, rested upon the participation of the London diaspora from afar, and as seasonal or permanent returnees.

This project will detail the long-term patterns underpinning diaspora engagement in these processes since 1991. In particular, the project will interrogate apparent disparities in participation in these three processes by gender- and age-based groups; and the motivations and variation in engagement which define these distinctive diasporic relationships. Thus the project will provide vital knowledge about how communities, formal organisations and urban governments can more effectively engage with urban diaspora populations in post-conflict environments and vice-versa.

Investigator: Dr Joanna Lewis

Period: 30 months

Resilience in post-conflict transitional processes

The project analyses the impact of ‘hybrid’ justice mechanisms, which feature varying combinations of international and domestic staff, operative law, structure, financing and rules of procedure, in post-conflict states.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was expected to make hybrid mechanisms redundant, but the shortcomings of the ICC have led to their resurgence. However, there has been little academic research on their impact, and practitioners currently in the process of establishing hybrids have little idea how to design mechanisms which are internally resilient and can build societal resilience.

Working with a leading international justice NGO, this project will remedy the lacuna by bringing together experts on hybrids from academia, the ICC and the hybrids themselves to 1) produce an authoritative comparison of past and present hybrids; 2) critically evaluate the impact of hybrids on resilience in post-conflict societies, including within wider programmes of transitional justice; 3) produce guidelines for the establishment of future hybrids; 4) produce policy advice for the ICC on how hybrids should be evaluated in terms of complementarity requirements.

There is considerable demand for such research among practitioners and support for the proposed project, meaning the project outputs should have significant policy impact as well as academic value.

Investigator: Dr Kirsten Ainley

Period: 24 months

Resilient communities, resilient cities? Digital makings of the city of refuge

This project investigates the role of digital communication in supporting resilient urban communities, especially in response to sudden and/or unwelcome change resulting from refugee arrivals. Most research on digital communication and resilience engages with digital investment for economic growth, urban planning and transparent politics. Yet, urban dwellers’ responses to such initiatives remain largely ignored.

This project aims to fill that gap by examining manifestations of digital citizenship and the uses of communicative possibilities to build diverse, integrated, and inclusive cities after population transformation. This is a comparative, multimethod study.

The primary empirical focus is on three cities that currently experience the shocks of the “refugee crisis”: Athens, Berlin and London. Yet the project also offers a global comparative outlook through additional research in two longstanding cities of refuge: Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Across the 5 cities, the project investigates good digital practices and digital failures to build resilience.  The 18-month study examines urban communities’ resilience through surveys, focus groups, asset mapping, digital storytelling, and public exhibitions.

The study will produce at least 5 high-quality journal publications, alongside public engagement outputs: a digital storytelling platform, public exhibitions in three cities, and a comparative urban digital policy report for local government.

Investigator: Dr Myria Georgiou, Dr Suzanne Hall

Period: 5 months