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.

African Futures: Digital Labor and Blockchain Technology

Assistant Professor Filipe Calvão, funded by SNSF, December 2018–November 2019.
This exploratory research involves a multi-sited survey of six African countries on platform-based services and blockchain initiatives designed to enhance mineral traceability in order to assess emergent transformations in the world of labor.
SNSF page >

Automated Interpretation of Political and Economic Policy Documents: Machine Learning Using Semantic and Syntactic Information

Professor David Sylvan, Professor Jean-Louis Arcand and Senior Researcher James Henderson (Idiap Research Institute), funded by SNSF. January 2019–December 2022.
This project aims to to develop a general understanding of how state agencies’ policy announcements are interpreted by taking streams of policy announcements and interpretations, annotating (coding) the interpretations by hand, then using machine learning and natural language-processing techniques to develop a model which generates annotations from announcements.
SNSF page >

Childcare for Childhood and Business Development

Professor Lore Vandewalle, Kjetil Bjorvatn and Vincent Somville (NHH Norwegian School of Economics), Wameq Raza (BRAC in Uganda), and Selim Gulesci (Bocconi University), funded by NORGLOBAL-2 through the Research Council of Norway. January 2018–December 2021.
This project focuses on childcare in Uganda to free up time for mothers to have their own businesses. Its key research questions are: Can supporting pre-school education improve (i) educational outcomes for the children and (ii) business development for the mothers?
More information >

Coherence or Contestation: Chinese, Japanese and Russian Approaches to the Transformation of Peacebuilding Practices

Keith Krause and Oliver Jütersonke, funded by SNSF. October 2018–September 2021.
Peacebuilding scholarship, which is predominantly Anglophone and ideologically embedded in the “liberal peace” paradigm, pays little attention to peacebuilding practices undertaken by non-Western countries. This project seeks to critically compare and contrast the normative and practical underpinnings of what we call the global peacebuilding order by focusing specifically on China, Japan and Russia.
SNSF page >

Financing Investments in Clean Technologies

Joëlle Noailly and Gaétan de Rassenfosse, funded by SNSF. January 2018–December 2021.
The overarching objective of this project is to investigate how society can steer financing towards cleantech investments.
SNSF page >

Gangs, Gangsters, and Ganglands: Towards a Comparative Global Ethnography (GANGS)

Dennis Rodgers and Steffen Jensen, ERC Advanced Grant, January 2019–December 2023. 
This project aims to systematically compare gang dynamics in Nicaragua, South Africa, and France in order to better understand why gangs emerge, how they evolve over time, whether they are associated with particular urban configurations, how and why individuals join gangs, and what impact this has on their potential futures.
Interview with Professor Rodgers >
CCDP page >

The Impact of Compulsory School Laws in a Developing Country Context: Examining Impacts and Explanations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Timothy Swanson and Associate Professor Martina Viarengo, funded by SNSF. July 2018–June 2022.
This project focuses on how compulsory schooling laws (CSLs) impact upon the social welfare (especially in regard to the choices made by women) and upon decision making within the household (especially the division of labour and the division of tasks between different members of the household).
More information >

Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems and War Crimes: Who is to Bear Criminal Responsibility?

Professor Paola Gaeta, funded by SNSF. July 2018–June 2022.
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.

Migration and Labor Market Inequality: The Role of Skills, Gender and Trade

Associate Professor Martina Viarengo and Professor Tobias Müller, funded by SNSF. October 2018–May 2022.
This project of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) for migration and mobility studies aims to examine the relationship between inequality and migration by focusing on the factors that determine labor market inequalities, both on the demand and supply side.
NCCR page >

National Borders and Social Boundaries in Europe: The Case of Friuli

Professor Alessandro Monsutti and Dr Stefano Morandini (University of Udine, Italy), funded by SNSF. January 2018–December 2020.
International borders are not seen anymore as mere lines of demarcation between sovereign entities with discrete territories, but as social processes, producers and products of social representations, discourses and practices. The “small stories” of people living in the vicinity of borders has attracted vivid scholarly attention beyond the “big story” of the construction of the nation-states.This research project aims to contribute to this debate with a political anthropology of the changing nature of Italy’s northeast borderland, a very contested region and the point of encounter in Europe for speakers of Romance, Slavic and Germanic languages. 
Related news >
SNSF page >

Understanding the Norms and Practices of Pathogen-Sharing to Improve Global Health Security

Coordinated by Dr Suerie Moon and Adjunct Professor Gian Luca Burci, funded by SNIS. December 2018–November 2020.
This projects aims to answer three research questions :  (1) How can pathogen- and benefit-sharing practices be measured, described and meaningfully assessed? (2) What are the most important determinants of pathogen-sharing and non-sharing? (3) What specific global governance tools and instruments are likely to be most effective?
SNIS page >