New Research Projects

The projects form the core of the research conducted at the Graduate Institute. Each year, over twenty new projects are accepted; they are presented here below. Please visit also the list of the remaining ongoing projects. In all, fifty projects or so are currently underway and about fifteen have been completed in the past twelve months.

Bombs, Banks and Sanctions: A Sociology of the Transnational Legal Field of Nuclear Non-proliferation, 

Associate Professor Grégoire Mallard, funded by ERC. March 2017–February 2022.
This project will analyse how the implementation of sanctions against nuclear proliferators has led to the creation of a global system of surveillance of the financial dealings of all states, banks and individuals.
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Challenges of Governing the Global Health Domain (Phase II)

Professor Ilona Kickbusch, with Michaela Told and Andrew Cassels. A Global Health Centre project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. January 2017–December 2018.
Building on the work done in 2016, the project will continue to examine the shifts in governing the global health domain that are currently occurring and are expected over the coming years in a changing political context. 

Curbing Illicit Financial Flows from Resource-rich Developing Countries: Improving Natural Resource Governance to Finance the SDGs

Professor Gilles Carbonnier, Fritz Brugger, Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, Fred Dzanku and Sthabandith Insisienmay, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) within their joint Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d Programme). September 2017–August 2023.
This project, conducted in the framework of a North-South research partnership, seeks to improve our collective knowledge and understanding of commodity trade-related illicit financial flows, and to design and promote ways to effectively address this under-researched phenomenon both from a scientific and policy perspective.
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Effectiveness of Partnerships for Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals: Behavioural Pathways and Impacts

Professor Liliana Andonova and Professor Gilles Carbonnier, funded by SNIS. November 2017–October 2019.
This project draws on political science, economics, management studies and public policy to advance the study of partnerships effectiveness both theoretically and empirically with respect to the SDGs.
More information >
SNIS page >

Explaining International Organizations’ Mission Creep: How international Bureaucrats Shape Bioethics

Professor Annabelle Littoz-Monnet, with Xinyu Yuan and Ceren Bulduk, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2020.
How do international bureaucrats expand their missions in new policy areas? Taking the case of bioethics, this project tests the hypothesis that international mission creep is best explained by the role of bureaucratic entrepreneurs who can steer bureaucratic action.
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SNSF page >

Fintech at Alibaba: What Automated Firm Credit Reveals about the Inefficiency of Chinese Banking?

Professor Harald Hau (UNIGE) and Assistant Professor Yi Huang. A collaboration between the Graduate Institute and SFI Geneva, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2020. 

The Global Political Ecology of Lithium Commodity Chain (LITHIUM)

Professor Marc Hufty, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2021.
In order for technological solutions not to turn into social and political problems, this project aims to understand the issues surrounding the use of lithium, a natural resource presented as an element of importance for the green economy.
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Interface Law: Legal Interactions between Spheres of Authority in Global Economic Governance

Professor Nico Krisch, funded by SNSF. June 2017–May 2020.
This project analyses how the interactions between (formal and informal, public and private) spheres of authority in the global order are reflected in the theory and practice of law. It uses the issue area of global economic governance as an example and focuses on six jurisdictions – Germany, the UK, the US, Brazil, India and China – to inquire into the ways in which conflicts between different layers of law (and informal norms) are processed in judicial, quasi-judicial and regulatory settings.
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Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems and War Crimes: Who is to Bear Criminal Responsibility?

Professor Paola Gaeta, funded by SNSF. October 2017–September 2021.
This project investigates whether and under which conditions the individuals who have deployed lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), e.g. military robots designed to select and attack military targets (non-civilian people and objects) without intervention by a human operator, can be held responsible for the commission of the resulting war crimes.

Modelling Early Risk Indicators to Anticipate Malnutrition (MERIAM)

Professor Ravi Bhavnani, with Shannon Doocy and David Backer, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kindgom. February 2017–January 2020.
This project aims  to identify, test and scale up cost-effective means to improve the prediction and monitoring of undernutrition in difficult contexts, in such a way that it enables an effective response to manage and mitigate nutritional risk.
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The Myth of Homogeneity: Minority Protection and Assimilation in Western Europe, 1919–1939

Professor Davide Rodogno and Dr Emmanuel Dalle Mulle, with PhD candidate Mona Bieling, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2020.
This project aims at inquiring the relationship between national minorities and majorities in Western Europe during the interwar years in a comparative international and transnational perspective.
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SNSF page >

The Paths of International Law: Stability and Change in the International Legal Order (PATHS)

Professor Nico Krisch, ERC Advanced Grant. October 2017–September 2022.
International lawmaking tends to be an overly rigid instrument that handicaps change in international politics and global public policy. However, in fields such as international criminal law or the law of international organisations, it has developed rapidly,and often informally. The project aims to understand this contradiction.
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Polio Eradication: Overcoming the Final Barriers and Ensuring a Lasting Legacy for Health Systems (Phase II)

Michaela Told and Stephen Matlin, with Professor Ilona Kickbusch. A Global Health Centre project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. April 2017–March 2019.
This project explores the critical dimensions of the global effort to eradicate polio, focusing on overcoming the final barriers and ensuring a lasting legacy for health systems as well as the role of European countries in this effort.
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Related news >

Protecting Migrants in Vulnerable Situations: The Principle of Non-Refoulement in International Human Rights Law

Professor Vincent Chetail, with Céline Bauloz (GMC), Pia Oberoi (OHCHR), Genevieve Sauberli (OHCHR) and Sophie Cappichiano Young. A Global Migration Centre self-funded project in cooperation with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Starting date: April 2017.
This research project aims to assess the scope and content of the principle of non-refoulement under international human rights law, focusing on the United Nations core human rights treaties, in order to provide a coherent frame of interpretation, as well as to enable enhanced protection of migrants in a vulnerable situation and stronger respect for the non-refoulement principle.
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To Save and To Defend: Global Normative Ambiguity and Regional Order

Professor Stephanie Hofmann, with Anamarija Andreska and Francesco Romani, funded by SNSF. September 2017–August 2021.
This project aims to understand and explain (1) how the global institutional level relates to regional visions of international security order and (2) why some regional security organisations are more compatible with the UN while others challenge the UN in security matters and suggests alternative orders.
More information >
SNSF page >

Transparency: Qualities and Technologies of Global Gemstone Trading

Assistant Professor Filipe Calvão, with Lindsay Bell (State University of New York, Oswego) and Brian Brazeal (California State University, Chico), funded by SNSF and hosted at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding in collaboration with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. September 2017–August 2020.
This project aims to interrogate the construction and public perception of transparency by examining the recent efforts of the extractive industry toward transparency and the growing demand for “ethical” gemstones. 
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Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative

Professor Keith Krause with Professor Riccardo Bocco, Professor Anna Leander and Jonathan Luke Austin, funded by SNSF (Sinergia). April 2017–March 2021.
This project explores novel approaches to preventing state-led political violence. It suggests that it is possible to prevent political violence in a similar way to that by which we prevent, or minimise the damage caused by, public health problems like traffic accidents or smoking. Efforts to prevent these problems focus on reducing or mitigating risk in an indirect or “non-causal” fashion. The VIPRE Initiative investigates the possibility of constructing similar indirect modes of prevention vis-à-vis political violence by drawing on interdisciplinary insights from organisation studies, the micro-sociological study of violence and International Political Sociology.
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