Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Keith Hyams

KH photo

Reader in Political Theory and Interdisciplinary Ethics

Email: K dot D dot Hyams at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room: E2.22

I joined the Department of Politics and International Relations in 2014, where I lead the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group's work on Ethics in Climate and Development, and on Future Governance. More info can be found here:

My research interests are animated by three questions:

  1. How can we achieve adaptation to climate change, and international development more generally, in a way that is both ethical and equitable?
  2. How can emerging technologies like AI and biotech be governed in a way that maximises the opportunities that they present while minimising their risks?
  3. What can we learn from psychology about how to build political and economic institutions that can better cope with the environmental and technological challenges that humanity faces?

My previous research focused on the philosophy of equality and fairness, particularly in respect of distributions of risk. I have also published on the ethics of consent, on justice and sustainability, and on political justification. In 2015 I was awarded the Inaugural Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy for my work on equality and risk.

I hold a DPhil in philosophy (Oxford) supervised by GA Cohen, a BPhil in philosophy (Oxford), and a BA in philosophy and psychology (Oxford). I have been a Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto (2009-10), a Visiting Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics, University of Louvain (2012), and a Visiting Academic in the Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford (2012-14). Before joining Warwick, I was a Lecturer at the Universities of Exeter and Reading.

I have collaborated with and advised a broad range of NGOs, businesses, government bodies and grassroots organisations, both in the UK and in a number of low income countries. In 2020 I was awarded the International Society for Environmental Ethics Andrew Light Prize for Public Philosophy. I am a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Safeguarding for the UK Collaborative on Development Research and have been an ethics advisor to the Cabinet Office, and to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, on the ethics of AI and data. My research has been cited by MPs, including the then leader of the opposition. Prior to becoming an academic, I lived in and worked with social movements in various countries, including Rwanda, Guyana, India, Peru, Nigeria, Cuba, Mexico, West Papua, and the Middle East.

Research Projects

Current Projects

  • 2020-2021, AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Supporting Just Response and Recovery to COVID-19 in Informal Urban Settlements: Perspectives from Youth Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa', Principal Investigator, £135,689
  • 2020- 2022, UKRI GCRF/Newton Fund, The COVID Observatories: Monitoring the Interaction of Pandemics, Climate Risks, and Food Systems among the World’s most Disadvantaged Communities’, Co-Investigator, £508,586

  • 2020-2023, British Academy, 'Technological Risks in Development', Principal Investigator, £199,335
  • 2020-2022, AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Inserting Ethics into Adaptation and Resilience Policy', Principal Investigator, £83,551
  • 2020-2022, Royal Academy of Engineering, 'New Approaches to Equitable Resilience', Principal Investigator, £19,995.
  • 2019-2022, ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Challenging Inequalities: An Indo-European Perspective', Co-Investigator, £850,664
  • 2018-2021, Leverhulme Research Project Grant, ‘Anthropogenic Global Catastrophic Risk: The Challenge of Governance, Principal Investigator, £189,985
  • 2019-2021, ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Urban Violence & Climate Change Network', Network Member, £150,000
  • 2017-2022, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ‘Climate Change and Indigenous Food Security’, Co-Investigator, £1,220,000

Completed Projects

  • 2019-2020, British Academy Knowledge Frontiers, ‘Tackling Climate-Related Health Risks in Urban Slums: an interdisciplinary analysis of the challenge of integrating local and scientific knowledges’, Principal Investigator, £50,000
  • 2019-2020, Warwick Monash Alliance Catalyst Fund, 'Improving Earth Systems Governance through “Purpose Ecosystems”', Co-Investigator, £27,268
  • 2018-2020, Warwick Impact Fund, ‘Ethics in Government: Cabinet Office Collaboration’, Principal Investigator, £7,700
  • 2018-19, ESRC Impact Accelerator Account grant, ‘Urban Violence and Adaptation to Climate Change’, Principal Investigator, £19,910
  • 2018, British Academy Tackling the UK’s International Challenges, ‘Remedying Injustice in Indigenous Climate Adaptation Planning’, Principal Investigator, £49,984
  • 2016-2019, Horizon 2020, ‘Piloting Responsible Research and Innovation in Industry’, Named Researcher, €1,708,096
  • 2016-2018, Global Partnership Fund, ‘Development, Inequality, and Citizenship’, Principal Investigator, £19,970
  • 2016-2017, ESRC-AHRC-NERC Global Challenges Research Fund, ‘Why we Disagree about Resilience’, Co-Investigator, £199,680
  • 2016-2017, Warwick Impact Fund, ‘The International Politics of Self-Determination’, Principal Investigator, £6,700
  • 2015-2017, ESRC Impact Accelerator Account grant, ‘The International Politics of West Papua’, Principal Investigator, £19,897
  • 2015, External Ethics Consultancy for EU FP7 project ‘IDIRA’ on cybersecurity issues associated with Disaster Response systems, Lead Author, £11,000
  • 2012-2014, Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, ‘Solving Moral Conflict’, Principal Investigator, £44,958
  • 2012, Hoover Fellowship, Chaire Hoover, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, €2,000
  • 2011-2013, British Academy, ‘Freedom, Equality, and Consent’, Principal Investigator, £7,458
  • 2011-2012, NERC Valuing Nature Network grant, ‘Bridging the gap between supply and demand for valuation evidence’ Network Member, £49,994
  • 2011-2012, EPSRC ‘Bridging the Gaps’ funding for an interdisciplinary ethical, political, legal and scientific assessment of climate-engineering options, Co-Investigator, £6,680
  • 2009-2010, Visiting Faculty Fellowship, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, £21,500
  • 2009-2010, British Academy ‘Equality, Insurance, and Choice’, Principal Investigator, £7,285
  • 2008-2012, AHRC research grant on equality and justice, 'Sharing Nature's Bounty', Principal Investigator, £210,000