In June 2021, four innovative and timely projects examining inequalities in the Global South were awarded funding by Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity via the Atlantic Equity Challenge (AEQ).
Focusing on sites in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uganda, the projects all met the AEQ brief of bringing researchers and practitioners together to undertake innovative, solutions-oriented research and thinking directed at fundamental questions relating to global inequalities. They are expected to provide important new knowledge on issues ranging from migrant workers’ labour conditions during COVID-19 and the role of social media in alleviating and exacerbating inequalities, to labour-market access for rural and urban youth, and gender and intersectional inequalities for ex-combatants in post-peace accord Colombia.
LSE academics Dr Nimesh Dhungana, Dr George Kunnath, Professor David Lewis and Dr Romola Sanyal are the principal investigators of the four winning projects. Three of the four research teams feature Senior Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity: Kripa Basnyat (Nepal), Hobeth Martinez Carrillo (Colombia) and Anjali Sarker (Bangladesh). The teams also include practitioners from organisations including Oxfam, ActionAid, Urban-A, Accountability Lab (Nepal), and scholars from Universidad Icesi in Cali, Colombia.
The aim of the AEQ, says Dr Armine Ishkanian, Executive Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity and Associate Professor in LSE’s Department of Social Policy, is to support work that lies at the intersection of research and practice, and that can offer valuable insights into alternatives and solutions that reduce inequality, rather than focusing solely on its causes and consequences.
“Working in tandem with the International Inequalities Institute and the London School of Economics and Political Science’s research community as a whole, Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity are proud to be leading research on inequalities. As Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking work has shown, it is clear that ideas matter in the fight against inequality - and in addressing a global challenge of this magnitude, we urgently need new ideas,” Dr Ishkanian said.
“We were impressed with the quality of applications we received from all over the world. We are especially pleased that three of the projects selected by our panel, comprised of members from the III’s Research Committee, will feature the expertise of our practitioner Fellows. In creating space to bring practice and scholarship together, we hope to allow new ideas to flourish. That’s really what the Atlantic Equity Challenge is intended to do: in supporting projects whose unique approach might mean they might not be funded elsewhere, we aim to build on synergies, and ultimately to push the frontiers of work on inequalities around the world. The AEQ underscores the uniqueness of our fellowship as a dialogic and truly global space,” added Dr Ishkanian.
Drawing on multiple forms of knowledge and experience from across disciplines and sectors, the AEQ-funded projects will produce both academic and non-academic outputs. Scholarly outputs are likely to include journal articles, book chapters and research papers, and will be produced alongside non-academic outputs such as policy papers, blog posts and op-eds, and workshops aimed at diverse audiences. The four projects will be supported over a 12- to 24-month period, with funding ranging from £50,000 to £100,000 per project, and will launch in September 2021.
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