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IGSD Fellows

The IGSD Fellows are an engaged community of researchers from different disciplines who take an active interest in pursuing research with transformative impact towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The IGSD fellowship scheme nurtures a network of Global Sustainable Development Champions across different disciplines whose research specifically addresses economic and social problems faced by countries with low and middle incomes in the context of one or more of the SDGs. The fellows are developing interdisciplinary challenge-driven research capacity in collaboration with partners in one or more low or middle income countries and will critically engage with the SDGs, with focus on those that are most relevant to their research.

Projects are expected to generate longer-term sustainable development impacts to DAC list countries, in alignment with the GCRF strategy (e.g. cities and sustainable infrastructure, education, food systems, global health, resilience to environmental shocks and change, security protracted conflict, refugee crises and forced displacement).

2019/20 Fellows

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Dr Mohammad Al-Amin, Senior Teaching Fellow, WMG

Affordable and Clean Energy

Countries covered: Bangladesh

SDG focus: Goal 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy


Researcher Background

Dr Mohammad Al-Amin is a Senior Teaching Fellow at WMG and has many years’ experience in the field of solar energy and storage within both industry and academia. His research lies at the developing next-generation solar cells and energy storage using lithium-ion batteries which have the potential to make a socio-economic change in developing countries. This drives Mohammad to build a research collaboration network between WMG, Univesity of Warwick and University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Bangladesh. This team received funds through the Global Challenge Research Funding (GCRF) scheme to develop a sustainable, low carbon transport for Bangladesh and similar ‘Least Developed Countries’ As part of this IGSD fellowship, a sustainable, renewable electricity system is planned to develop, employing low carbon, low-cost second life lithium-ion energy storage system. This will crosscut and enable to exploit the research outcome of the existing project in sustainable transport. As part of this fellowship scheme, Mohammad will use the established research network to work on ensuring affordable and sustainable solar energy system, which is highlighted by the UN in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This project will directly lead to the creation of local jobs and small business opportunities. Also, will enable the availability of quality education and healthcare; and reduce financial and gender inequality.

Project Overview

Access to electricity is one of the biggest challenges for sustainable growth in developing countries like Bangladesh. Around 55 m people do not have access to grid-connected electricity. Bangladesh Government has undertaken various projects but extending the grid network to reach to this 55 m population is challenging and not economically viable as they live in the hilly areas and remote riverine islands. This drives the government to promote alternative sources of energy including Solar Home Systems using photovoltaic (PV) cells. Currently, PV systems use lead-acid batteries for energy storage. These batteries commonly have a lifetime of 2 years in this particular application, which increases overall operating cost and carbon foot-print. Lithium-ion batteries, currently employed in stringent electric vehicles (EVs) could be a perfect choice to reduce operating cost and carbon footprint, however, they are costly, currently around $300 /kWh. Lithium-ion batteries retire form EV after reaching 70-80% of their state of health (SoH). At 70% SoH lithium-ion battery still have 3 times higher energy density than a new lead-acid battery, and potentially can have a lifetime of 10 years in solar energy application. In addition, these retired lithium-ion batteries, with an estimated price of less than $50 /kWh, are expected to be cheaper than a new lead-acid battery (around $80 /kWh). While this second life application of retired lithium-ion batteries is appealing, however, haven’t been investigated yet in an actual field test, which we aim to investigate as part of this project. This project can enable sustainable socio-economic growth to a large population in Bangladesh by making solar energy affordable and contribute to a cleaner environment.

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Dr Giorgia Barboni
Business skills training for Self Help Groups in India and assessment of the impact of trainingCountries covered: India
SDG focus: Goal 1 - No Poverty

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Dr Morten Byskov, Research Fellow, Politics and International Studies

Ethics: technological risk governance and food security

Countries covered: Kenya

SDG Focus : Goal 2 - Zero Hunger


Researcher background

Morten Fibieger Byskov is a postdoctoral researcher at Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. His research focuses on ethical issues in international development with a particular interest in climate adaptation. He joined the University of Warwick in 2018 and has since worked on projects related to the integration of Indigenous knowledge in climate adaptation planning in Uganda; climate-related health risks in urban informal settlements in Lusaka, Zambia; and efforts to insert ethical deliberation into climate adaptation planning in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Project overview

Kenya has experienced severe food insecurity problems since 2008, with a high proportion of the population – an estimated 10 million individuals – having inadequate access to affordable quality food (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute). An estimated 100.000 children have become malnourished as a result of the food crisis that followed the post-election violence in 2007 (Food Security Portal; Save the Children 2009). Kenya’s food insecurity can be attributed to several factors, including climate-related circumstances, such as droughts; high production costs due to lack of access to cheap technologies, especially fertilizer; displacement of farmers due to political violence; and low purchasing power of Kenyans (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute; USAID 2019). Unless addressed, these factors are only likely to worsen. This project aims to influence Kenyan food security policies by engaging with two new national initiatives on technologies to address food insecurity – namely, the lifting of a ban on using GM crops and a One Health policy plan to regulate the use of antibiotics in livestock.

While technologies such as GMO crops and antibiotics in livestock farming have been introduced to tackle food insecurity, it has been claimed that these technologies have brought about unintended risks for the local communities and their environment. Although the introduction of genetically modified crops and resilient species, has brought food security and increased life-expectancy in many less-developed countries, it has resulted in the upheaval of local ways of life and a loss of biodiversity (Shiva 1993; 2000). Likewise, while the use of antibiotics have the potential to eliminate the spread of many plant and livestock diseases, poor regulations in less-developed countries have allowed for the over- and misuse of antibiotics, leading to the increased risk of antimicrobial resistance which threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations (WHO 2014). Indeed, Kenya is one of the global hotspots for antibiotic resistance in livestock.

Against this background, the project investigates (a) how such technological risks can be conceptualized and (b) how the implementation of technologies should be governed so as to minimize these risks. Working together with Dr. Catherine Kunyanga at the University of Nairobi’s Food Security Center (https://fsc.uonbi.ac.ke/), we will organize a three-day workshop on technological risks with the participation of local and regional authorities and invited experts in October 2020.

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Dr Erin Gorsich, Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences

Synergies and conflicts between biodiversity conservation and health.

Countries covered: South Africa and Mozambique

SDG focus: Goal 15 - Life on Land and Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-being


Researcher Background

I am a quantitative disease ecologist with broad interests in disease dynamics, wildlife health, and conservation. My work combines host ecology or community ecology to understand infection dynamics.

Project Overview

Mosquito-borne pathogens cause over 700 million infections and 1 million deaths each year. Although the benefits of disease reduction are clear, how best to achieve them remains contested. This is due to poorly understood trade-offs between environmental, economic, and social aspects of health. These trade-offs are particularly pronounced at human-wildlife interfaces in southern Africa, where conservation areas, high-intensity agriculture and low-income settlements are adjacent. For example, research highlights that land-use change associated with agriculture increases mosquito abundance and disease. This begs the question whether disease reduction is an ecosystem service provided by conservation areas? Answering this question requires understanding the processes driving mosquito abundance (i.e. the relative importance of local ecology and mosquito dispersal); applying this knowledge requires understanding trade-offs between environmental, economic and social aspects of health. In this fellowship, I will work with the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) to explore conflicts and synergies between two sustainable development goals: ending epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases and ensuring the conservation of ecosystems. Specifically, I will apply ecological approaches to address the scientific uncertainty around socio-economic development and mosquito-borne disease. I will structure these efforts using a systems approach to sustainable development and evaluate trade-offs among differing goals. Additionally, I hope to engage with IGSD researchers to develop a critical perspective on these trade-offs.

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Dr Celine Tan, Reader, School of Law

New Frontiers in International Development Finance (NeF-DeF)

Countries covered: Colombia, India, Kenya

SDG focus: Goal 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Project Website : https://go.warwick.ac.uk/nefdef

 

Researcher Background:

Celine is Reader in Law at the Warwick Law School and Director of the Centre for Law, Regulation and Governance of the Global Economy (GLOBE). She works on the intersections between international economic law and international development policy and practice. She has an interest in the relationship between law, international finance, sovereign debt and international development and has published on issues relating to the law and governance of the international financial architecture, sovereign debt, climate change and sustainable development, the role of international financial institutions and human rights.

 Project Overview:

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a significant landmark in international development cooperation. While substantive objectives, such as zero hunger and clean energy, have received much public and scholarly attention, the SDG financing agenda has remained largely overlooked. To boost resources to meet ambitious targets, this agenda institutionalises a fundamental shift in development finance policy and practice, with markets and the private sector prioritised in the mobilisation and delivery of development finance. This includes a) incentivising financial actors not traditionally engaged in development finance, such as hedge funds, private equity firms, and pension funds; b) creating new commodities, markets and financial instruments to fund public goods and services, including securities, bonds and insurance; c) creating enabling regulatory environments for private investment; and d) facilitating public-private partnerships (PPPs). The multi-disciplinary New Frontiers in International Development Finance (NeF DeF) project aims to consider these new mechanisms and modalities of funding the SDGs from a law and governance perspective and to understand how these changes affect attainment of the SDGs. During the IGSD fellowship, I will be working with our team of researchers, especially researchers from the global south, to design collaborative projects and build research and policy impact capacity and to amplify the scholarly and policy voices of communities within the regions impacted by the SDG financing agenda to research organisations, policymakers and other stakeholders in the north.