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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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. 

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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SNSF page >

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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SNIS page >

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.
SNSF page >

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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Polio Eradication: Overcoming the Final Barriers and Ensuring a Lasting Legacy for Health Systems (Phase II)

Professor Ilona Kickbusch, with Michaela Told and Stephen Matlin. 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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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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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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