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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Can an International Organisation’s Propensity to Reform Help Its Member-states Break through Policy Gridlock?

Professor Thomas Biersteker with Professor Cédric Dupont, Cecilia Cannon and Velibor Jakovleski, funded by SNSF. September 2016–August 2019.
Is there an observable relationship between the reform any given international organisation (OI) has undergone, and the effectiveness of that OI? Without disregarding emergent global governance arrangements, this project refocuses scholarly attention to assess the implications of IO adaptation under a changing environment. It posits that UN agencies with a record of institutional reform are more likely to experience policy breakthroughs than those that show few signs of reform.
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Currency and Conquest: The Rupee and British Colonial Expansion in Asia and the Indian Ocean, c. 1880–1930s

Professsor Gopalan Balachandran, funded by SNSF. October 2016–September 2018.
This project explores how the spread of the rupee facilitated the mobilization of the administrative and commercial resources of the British Indian empire and helped consolidate British power in its newly-acquired colonies. It alos researches the role of monetary transitions in restructuring commerce, and the transformation of relatively horizontal regional relationships yielded into more hierarchical global relationships.
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Improving the Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflict

Professor Andrew Clapham, funded by SNIS. September 2016–August 2018.
Undertaken in partnership with Handicap International, the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, this project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance to persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
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International Relations Studies and Education: A Comparative Analysis of Russian, Swiss, and Canadian Approaches

Professor Thomas Biersteker, funded by SNSF. July 2016–June 2018.
Given the current geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West, this project intends to improve our understanding of representations of global governance, global security and global relations by providing systematic and comparable analyses of professional and graduate education in international relations in Switzerland, Russia and Canada, which will in turn provide us with appropriate means to connect distinct education practices and international and foreign policy trajectories. In doing so, we should be able to present a basis for formulating long-term solutions to reconcile the different worldviews in our increasingly multipolar world.
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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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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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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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