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Keith Hyams

KH photo

Professor of Political Theory and Ethics

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

I am a philosopher with an interest in interdisciplinary research on technological, environmental, health and social challenges. I joined Warwick in 2014, where I lead projects within the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research GroupLink opens in a new window.

Ongoing research includes work on AI and democracy, climate ethics, ethics in public policy, health ethics, Indigenous Peoples, and democratic innovation. 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 carbon offsetting and carbon quotas, and on political authority. My research has been funded by Horizon Europe, GCRF, Newton, AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, Leverhulme, RAEng, and the British Academy. My research on justice and risk was awarded the Inaugural Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy in 2015.

My policy work includes advising a broad range of UK and international NGOs and government bodies, including the UK Cabinet Office and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the City of Cape Town Government, and the UN FAO. In 2020 I was awarded the International Society for Environmental Ethics Andrew Light Prize for Public Philosophy for policy engagement. I have been a member of the Strategic Advisory Group for the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund, and a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Safeguarding for the UK Collaborative on Development Research.

I have a BA in psychology and philosophy, and a BPhil and DPhil in philosophy (Oxford). I have held visiting positions at the University of Toronto, the University of Louvain, the University of Oxford, and the National University of San Agustín in Peru. Before joining Warwick, I was a Lecturer in Political Theory at the Universities of Exeter and Reading, and before that I was a VSO English teacher at Rulindo Secondary School, Rwanda, a science teacher at Anna Regina Community High, Guyana, and a development worker with Narmada Bachao Andolan, India.

Publications here.


Knowledge Technologies for DemocracyLink opens in a new window - a short interview on the impact of AI on Democracy for the KT4D project

Just Response to Covid-19Link opens in a new window - a video on our work with youth in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethical Deliberation in PolicymakingLink opens in a new window - a video on the ethics toolkit that we developed with Cape Town City Government

Ethics in Climate Adaptation and ResilienceLink opens in a new window (from 22:15) - a talk at the UKCDR webinar on COP26

Current Research Funding

  • 2025-2028, Horizon Europe, ‘NewWorkTech’, Co-Investigator, €2,999,375 (led by Tampere University, with research and policy partners in Denmark, Italy, Finland, and Belgium)
  • 2024-2028, Horizon Europe/UKRI, 'KeepCaring', Co-Investigator, €6,484,743 (led by University of Amsterdam with research and policy partners in Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, France, and Belgium)
  • 2024-2027, NFRF/UKRI, ‘Indigenous Peoples Observatory Network’, Co-Investigator, £2,084,047 (led by University of Northern British Columbia with research, policy and Indigenous partners in Canada, US, India, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Germany, Namibia, Australia, and Peru)
  • 2023-2024, Policy Support Fund, ‘Implementing an Ethical Toolkit for a Just Transition and Climate Policy’, Principal Investigator, £45,998 (with UN FAO Global Hub on Indigenous Peoples, City of Cape Town Government, University of Cape Town, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Peru)
  • 2023-2026, Horizon Europe/UKRI, 'Knowledge Technologies for Democracy', Co-Investigator, €2,999,261 (led by Trinity College Dublin, with partners in Italy, Poland, Finland, Spain, France and Belgium.

Completed Research Projects

  • 2022-2023, GCRF-Newton Fund, ‘Leveraging Youth Research for Policy Impact: Just Recovery from Covid-19 in Informal Settlements’, Principal Investigator, £20,000 (with Slum Dwellers International and youth affiliates in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Sierra Leone)
  • 2020-2023, British Academy, 'Technological Risks in Development', Principal Investigator, £199,336 (with the University of Nairobi and CABI, Kenya, and Warwick Life Sciences)
  • 2020- 2022, UKRI/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 (with the University of Leeds, FAO, and research and policy partners from Uganda, Bolivia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, Aruba, Australia, Canada)
  • 2020-2022, AHRC, 'Inserting Ethics into Adaptation and Resilience Policy', Principal Investigator, £147,773 (with the University of Cape Town and Cape Town City government, South Africa)
  • 2020-2022, Royal Academy of Engineering, 'New Approaches to Equitable Resilience', Principal Investigator, £19,935 (with the Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics, Kenya)
  • 2020-2021, AHRC, 'Supporting Just Response and Recovery to COVID-19 in Informal Urban Settlements: Perspectives from Youth Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa', Principal Investigator, £135,689 (with Slum Dwellers International South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, University of Nottingham, and Warwick Medical School)
  • 2019-2021, ESRC, 'Urban Violence & Climate Change Network', Network Member, £150,000 (with University of Nottingham, IBA Pakistan, University of Sao Paulo Brazil, University of Khartoum Sudan, KDI Kenya, Centre for Migration Research and Development Sri Lanka, CASM Honduras, Christian Aid, International Alert, and Warwick Law)
  • 2019-2020, British Academy, ‘Tackling Climate-Related Health Risks in Urban Slums: an interdisciplinary analysis of the challenge of integrating local and scientific knowledges’, Principal Investigator, £50,000 (with University of Lusaka, Zambia, and Warwick Medical School)
  • 2019-2020, Warwick Monash Alliance Catalyst Fund, 'Improving Earth Systems Governance through “Purpose Ecosystems”', Co-Investigator, £27,268 (with University of Monash and Warwick Business School)
  • 2019-2022, ESRC, 'Challenging Inequalities: An Indo-European Perspective', Co-Investigator, £850,664 (with Warwick Economics and partners in India, France and Norway)
  • 2018-2023, Leverhulme Research Project Grant, ‘Future Politics: The Challenge of Governing Global Catastrophic Risk', Principal Investigator, £189,985
  • 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 (with University of Nottingham, IBA Pakistan, University of Sao Paulo Brazil, University of Khartoum Sudan, KDI Kenya, Centre for Migration Research and Development Sri Lanka, CASM Honduras, Christian Aid, International Alert, and Warwick Law)
  • 2018, British Academy, ‘Remedying Injustice in Indigenous Climate Adaptation Planning’, Principal Investigator, £49,984 (with Makerere University, Uganda, and University of Leeds)
  • 2017-2022, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ‘Climate Change and Indigenous Food Security’, Co-Investigator, £1,220,000 (with University of Alberta and Indigenous partners in Peru, Uganda, and Canada)
  • 2016-2019, Horizon 2020, ‘Piloting Responsible Research and Innovation in Industry’, Co-Investigator, €1,708,096 (TU Delft lead)
  • 2016-2018, Global Partnership Fund, ‘Development, Inequality, and Citizenship’, Principal Investigator, £19,970 (with Cenderawasih University and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, and University of York)
  • 2016-2017, ESRC-AHRC-NERC, ‘Why we Disagree about Resilience’, Co-Investigator, £199,680 (with University of Cape Town, KDI Kenya, Christian Aid Philippines, and KCL)
  • 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
  • 2011-15, EU FP7, 'Interoperability of Data and Procedures in Large-Scale Multinational Disaster Response Actions', Ethics Advisor, £11,000/€5,662,689
  • 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, 'Climate Engineering: an Interdisciplinary Assessment', 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

Selected project descriptions here.