Funded Projects

  • IN-HABIT – INclusive Health And wellBeing In small and medium size ciTies
    2020 – 2025
    Funded by EU Horizon 2020

IN-HABIT is a EU Horizon 2020 funded consortium that aims to identify visionary and integrated solutions to promote inclusive health and wellbeing in small and medium size cities. In each of the four pilot cities, Corodba, Lucca, Riga and Nitra the project investigates how the mobilisation of existing undervalued resources, such as culture and heritage, food, human-animal bonds and art and environment might contribute to boost health and wellbeing, with a focus on gender, diversity, equity and inclusion. The integrated approach combines technological, digital, nature-based, cultural, and social innovations in selected urban public spaces. These solutions are co-designed, co-deployed and co-managed with local inhabitants and stakeholders. The project will be implemented during a five-year period (2020-2025) and Marina Della Giusta is leading the Work Package on Behaviour Change with a focus on Gender and Diversity. The University of Reading team includes also Giovanni Razzu, Florent Dubois, Sophie Clot in Economics and Rachel McCloy, Helen Dodd and Shannon Wake in Psychology as well as Maria Laura Di Tommaso at the University of Turin.

For more information, see the project website.

  • “Railway Imperialism” in the Global South in the First Period of Globalisation: Lessons from History
    2020 – 2023
    Funded by the British Academy

The project, by Dr Andrew Primmer, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Economics, focusses on the development of railway imperialism in the global south through six case studies of individual British railway companies operating in Latin America and Africa. These case studies analyse the financial performance, business strategy and ownership structure of individual railway companies in order to evaluate how profitable “railway imperialism” was in of itself for British investors, how it operated, and who controlled it. Company shareholding records are used to ascertain the dominant interests and linkages with other secondary economic activities supported by the railways. This addresses four major concerns which have not been adequately answered by the existing historiography: who controlled “railway imperialism”? how profitable it was? How did it operate on an individual basis? And, what were the principle motivations for its establishment?

  • What New Skills Will Graduates Require in the Future?
    September 2020 – August 2023

    Employability Programme Development (EPD), funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

The labour market for graduates is constantly evolving and job applicants are often expected to have new types of academic and non-academic skills.  How can universities ensure their students acquire the most sought-after new skills that will make them most successful in their jobs?  Simonetta Longhi and Sarah Jewell have obtained funding from the EU for a new Erasmus+ project which aims at establishing a labour market to higher education feedback loop that will help universities to keep up to date with the new skill requirements.

The project, which is led by the University of Glasgow, started in September 2020 and is expected to complete in August 2023.  See the project website for regular updates.

  • Wage and Employment Dynamics in Britain (Stage 1 and 2)
    October 2019 September 2022
    Funded by Administrative Data Research UK and Economic and Social Research Council

Carl Singleton is working with researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE)University College London (UCL)City, University of London, University of Birmingham, and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) on, an administrative data linkage and research project which aims to provide important new insights into the dynamics of earnings and employment in Britain. This project is expected to increase understanding of how people’s wages progress through their career, factoring in key characteristics such as gender and ethnicity, as well as the dynamics of low-pay labour markets.

This project has the potential to transform our understanding of wage and employment issues from labour market entry, through job mobility and career progression to retirement decisions. The insights provided by the project could be key to informing responses to crucial policy challenges facing the UK, such as reducing in-work poverty and systemic inequalities within the labour market, such as the gender pay gap.

Visit the Wage & Employment Dynamics website to stay up to date with this project.

  • Relative Poverty and Decision Making: Investigating the Impact of the Incentivised Conservation Programme
    September 2020 – August 2022
    ESRC New Investigator Grant

Recent evidence suggests that the psychological impact of being poor exacerbates a poverty trap mechanism. Farmers in developing countries are exposed to stress that affects their decisions over time. It increases their discount rate and their propensity to behave in a manner consistent with hyperbolic discounting, that is, overweighting immediate outcomes. In parallel to the effect of absolute poverty, additional findings demonstrate the aggravating role of relative poverty (unbalanced cash flows over a calendar year).

Sophie Clot has been awarded a ESRC New Investigator Grant to analyse how relative poverty affects decision-making in developing countries, where conservation programmes are used to encourage behaviour change amongst farmers.  The project will test two main hypotheses: 1) Relative poverty impacts farmers’ risk, time and social preferences; 2) Rewards (such as those offered to promote alternative activities) are more likely to translate into stress-biased decisions, worsening farmer’s prospects for long-term sustained improvements in well-being, when occurring in a context of relatively higher poverty.

For more information, see the project website.

  • Understanding Post-Emancipation Indentured Labour Migration from Indian Subcontinent to the Caribbean
    January 2018 – June 2021

    British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Historical literature suggests that the 19th Century post slavery indentured labour migration was a significant contributor to the development of global capitalism. Neha Hui has obtained funding from the British Academy to analyse different aspects of this migration including macro-level policy discourse across three continents as well as micro-level employment and migration decision making.

This form of migration came about when the discourse of economic freedom and individual liberty strongly resonated in British political-economy circles, following the work of Smith and Mill. This project analyses how unfreedom in indentured labour was rationalised when the rhetoric of freedom was essential to the dominant intellectual milieu. Equally, most of the workers faced unfreedom in the form of caste hierarchies in their home countries. Did the workers trade-off social unfreedom in the form of caste system for labour market unfreedom? This project looks at archival data to answer these questions.

  • Other Recent Smaller Projects
    • Shixuan Wang is working with Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) on a project of Improving Staff Retention at the RBFT: Econometric Data Analytics, Probabilistic Forecasting and Management Intelligence. The team seeks to reform the Trust’s approach to staff retention at the RBFT. They will research, test and deliver a solution that enables them to model and predict the likelihood of colleagues leaving the Trust in the future. Through the project, the team aims to create interventions to support workforce retention. This project is funded by Collaborative Innovation Fund (2024-2025).
    • Florent Dubois has been successful to be awarded a PHC Protea grant. PHC Protea stands for Partenariat (i.e., partnership) Hubert Curien, a tool used by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs for bilateral scientific exchange with South Africa.  Florent’s project studies gender-based violence in South Africa. It will look at the effect of women’s labour market opportunities relative to men’s and on intimate partner violence, before concentrating on the intergenerational effects of violence.  Besides Florent, the research team includes Miracle Benhura (University of the Witwatersrand), Eliane El Badaoui (University Paris-Nanterre), Prudence Magejo (University of the Witwatersrand), and Laurine Martinoty.
    • Marina Della Giusta is working for Pearson Publishing on a project on Contrasting Unconscious Bias in Education (CUBE).  This project consists of the design, implementation and evaluation via randomised control trial of a programme for combating unconscious bias in primary schools. The intervention is conducted with trainers from Pearson in primary schools and the team includes also Florent Dubois and Pietro Biroli at the University of Bologna.
    • Steven Bosworth worked on a project on Rebuilding Macroeconomics – Firm Structure and Political Economy Consequences, funded by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (July 2019-October 2020).
    • Marina Della Giusta worked on a project on Rebuilding Macroeconomics – Assessing the Impact of REF on Academic Macroeconomics, funded by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research on a project (January 2020-July 2020).
    • Geoff Meen worked on a project on Modelling Housing Markets: Developments and Extensions to the MHCLG Housing Simulation Model, funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (October 2019-December 2019).
    • Marina Della Giusta worked on a project to investigate how cash transfers to self-help (savings) groups in Ethiopia during a crisis affects the resilience of these groups and relationships within the community.  The project was funded by Tearfund (March 2017-June 2017).
    • Sarah Jewell worked on a project funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects: “So What Do You Do? Graduates in the Creative and Cultural Industries”, as partner investigator (2016-2019).