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.

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 >

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.
More information >
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 >

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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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.

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 >

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. 
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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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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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