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PAIS researchers secure prestigious Leverhulme funding

LeverhulmeResearchers from the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) have secured research funding from the prestigious Leverhulme Trust in the form of a Leverhulme Research Project Grant and a Major Research Fellowship.

This means that PAIS currently holds four Leverhulme Major Research Fellowships, a hugely impressive achievement — the others being held by Professors Richard Aldrich, Shaun Breslin, and Mike Saward.

Professor Ben Clift is the latest member of PAIS to be awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a project entitled, ‘The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the Politics of UK Growth amidst Brexit, Uncertainty and Austerity’. This will run from October 1st 2018 to September 30th 2021.

CliftProfessor Ben Clift, who will carry out the research, said,

“I am delighted at this success and it was very much a team effort. My research will explore how the economic concepts used to frame and pilot economic policy, even when advanced by expert bodies like the Office for Budget Responsibility, are political constructions, always founded upon contestable and contested assumptions.

“The University’s Research and Impact Services (R&IS) provided first rate support as the bid was developed and the internal selection process for Leverhulme Major Fellowships also provided very useful feedback which helped improve the bid. Support received from colleagues within PAIS, including former winners of these awards, was absolutely crucial to the success of the application.”

By analysing the research, speeches and other intellectual outputs of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury, the Bank of England and other official bodies, as well as interviewing experts, technocrats, and policy advisors, Professor Clift will explore how growth forecasts are made, and how they have major impacts on UK economic policy conduct, and the public finances.

Associate Professor Keith Hyams has also been awarded a Leverhulme Research Project grant this year for his project ‘Anthropogenic Global Catastrophic Risk: The Challenge of Governance’ running until 2021.

keith_hyams.jpgAssociate Professor Keith Hyams, commenting on his exciting new project, said,

“This is a very exciting research opportunity to look at some of the most significant technological threats that humanity will face over the coming century. It will allow the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group in PAIS to add a new direction to our existing research on global challenges and ethical issues arising from technology and international development.

“The support of academic and administrative colleagues in PAIS and R&IS, as well as the opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration across the university, have been a significant factor in securing this award.”

The project looks at long term threats to humanity arising from advances in emerging technology, aiming to identify the political obstacles that stand in the way of progress on governing these risks, and ethical guidelines within which new governance solutions for specific risks will be advanced. The project focusses on three case studies, in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence, and will be undertaken in collaboration with Co-Investigators; Professor John McCarthy (School of Life Sciences), Professor Nathan Griffiths (Department of Computer Science) and Professor Sebastien Perrier (Department of Chemistry).

Researchers from Warwick’s Politics and International Studies Department are currently working on a total of 12 research grants and awards funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with Head of Department Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams holding a Leverhulme Prize for research in Politics and International Relations.