School of Global Studies

Research

We are committed to inspiring and curiosity-driven research that strives to find creative solutions for some of the key social, economic, political, environmental, and cultural challenges facing the world today. Global Studies is recognised for interdisciplinarity across our Departments, research centres, and neighbouring schools; our courageous global connectivity; and our theoretically leading contributions.

About our Research

In recent years, researchers in the School of Global Studies have been awarded more than £10 million of external research income from a wide range of research councils and government bodies including: the Rockefeller Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Department for International Development, the Department for Innovation, Universities, and Skills, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the European Union, and the United Nations.

The research agendas of the nearly 80 faculty in our School are at once diverse, continuously evolving, and encompass a wide range of regional and thematic expertise broadly organized around the following themes:

  • Understanding global flows, whether of people, knowledge, ideas, cultural practices, pollutants, diseases, goods and services, and how to govern them in ways that benefit the majority of the world’s people. 
  • Learning from global transformations in the global South and North, in urban and rural settings and in relation to such issues as climate change,  global finance, ethical trade, health and sexual politics, religion, philanthropy, violence and insecurity.
  • Contesting global inequalities and exclusions wherever they occur and whatever form they take, documenting the manifestations and consequences of discrimination and exclusion – whether on the basis of race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, age, caste or class - contesting their effects and imagining alternative notions of rights, citizenship and belonging.

The School's reputation for transcending disciplinary boundaries and for setting pioneering research agendas is also fostered through a number of centres of excellence.  These research centres provide an unrivalled and dynamic context for the study of the contemporary world, encouraging the exchange of ideas across disciplinary boundaries amongst our community of scholars, visiting fellows, early career researchers, as well as our 150+ doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows.

The School of Global Studies welcomes academics, researchers, students and practitioners as visiting fellows and researchers to share their expertise, engage in intellectual exchange and build international cooperation and partnerships with us.

Researchers in the School of Global Studies are also very enthusiastic about sharing their research findings and expertise with others - whether you are viewing these pages from the other side of the globe, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, or from within the Sussex region.

We highly value collaboration with strategic partners in other universities, governmental institutions, non-governmental bodies, the private sector, and the media.

If you wish to learn more about our research, please visit our Research Highlights section for a selection of ongoing and recently completed research projects.

Our Global Insights series- provides overviews of the findings from research projects in the School, in an accessible and easy to read format.

You are also welcome to visit our Departmental research pages, or to contact us directly.

Research in our Departments and Centres
Latest External Blogs and Media Coverage

Our Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results

We're pleased with our performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021)! The School of Global Studies made submissions to three Units of Assessment (Anthropology and Development Studies, Geography and Environmental Studies, and Politics and International Studies). Each received a different set of grades:

Our Anthropology Department’s research (as submitted to UoA 22 Anthropology and Development Studies) was assessed overall to be 41% ‘world leading’ (4*) and 51% ‘internationally excellent’ (3*); combined, 92% was judged as either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. In particular, 66.7% of Anthropology's Impact was assessed as 'outstanding' and the remaining 33.3% as ‘very considerable’.

Our Geography Department’s research (as submitted to UoA 14 Geography and Environmental Studies) was assessed overall to be 45% ‘world leading’ (4*) and 49% ‘internationally excellent’ (3*), meaning that 94% was in these top two quality levels. In particular, 83.3% of its Impact was considered to be 'outstanding' with the rest of its impact ‘very considerable’.

Our International Relations Department’s research (as submitted to UoA 19 Politics and International Studies) was assessed overall to be 44% ‘world leading’ (4*) and 47% ‘internationally excellent’ (3*). This means that 91% of our work was assessed to be either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. In particular, 62.5% of its research environment was assessed to be ‘conducive to producing world-leading research and outstanding impact’ (4*). 100% of its Impact was found to be either ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’.

According to the Times Higher Education REF 2021 rankings, our Anthropology submission was ranked 7th in the country, and both Geography and International Relations ranked 13th in their respective subject areas, for the overall quality of their submissions, by GPA (grade point average). Additionally, our Geography impact was tied 3rd in these rankings, and our International Relations environment was tied in 9th place.

100% of the Impact Case Studies submitted by the School as a whole were judged 3* or 4* star – so ‘very considerable’, and in many cases ’outstanding’.

Across the University of Sussex as a whole, 89% cent of research activity submitted to REF 2021 was categorised as either ‘world-leading’ (40.6%) or ‘internationally excellent’ (48.4%). The results of REF 2021 were published on 12 May 2022.

See all REF results and read the stories behind the research we submitted.

Research-led Outreach, Engagement and Impact

Through collaborative research programmes and sharing our research through engagements with the public, policy-makers, industry and professional practice Global Studies makes a difference to the world. The impact of our work beyond the academy is both global and local and hugely diverse. We are proud to host a School Impact Advisory Board who helps guide our engagement work.

Our Research Community

Global Studies is home to around 160 individuals, including teaching and research faculty, Early Career Researchers, Research Fellows and doctoral researchers. We are proud to host a variety of visiting researchers from around the globe.

Latest Community News

A round-up of the latest grants [Grant], external appointments [Appointment], prizes/awards [Award] and Viva passes for doctoral candidates [PhD].

March 2022

[PhD] Dr Soha Alterkait successfully defended her thesis on contemporary modalities of Islamic charity in Kuwait

[PhD] Dr John Walker passed his PhD viva with his thesis on ‘The Deaf Community of Brighton and Hove and the performance of cultural capital: self, body and landscape’

[PhD] Dr Olivia Taylor passed her PhD viva for her thesis titled Shifting liabilities and logics of decision-making: the political economy of disaster risk financing (DRF).  Find out more by watching a presentation from February

[PhD] Dr Bontle Masilo passed her PhD viva for her thesis which focussed on the role of civil society organisations in the Basarwa (San) struggle against their relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

[Grant] Julian Murton, Professor of Permafrost Science, secured funding via a Leverhulme Research Project grant, led by University College London on ‘Unlocking records of past permafrost thaw through isotopes of fossil bones’

[Appointment] Paul Boyce, Reader in Anthropology and International Development has been appointed University EDI lead for LGBT+ equality and inclusion

February 2022

[PhD] Dr Evie Browne defended her PhD viva for her thesis titled The More Feminine, the Better!: Gender Normativity among Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Cuba

[Grant] Magnus Marsden, Professor of Social Anthropology secured funding from Research England to support the displaced Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies to develop an operational base at Sussex

[Grant] Ceri Oeppen, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography secured funds from IOM through a partnership with Samuel Hall for a “Research study on the impact of debt on sustainable reintegration outcomes”.  The work involves colleague Mike Collyer, Professor of Geography

December 2021

[Appointment] Jane Cowan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, takes over as President of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe 2022 – 2024. The SAE is the section of the American Anthropological Association that promotes the anthropological study of European societies and cultures

[Award] Angelica Cabezas Pino, Research Fellow - Anthropology won the AVA 2021 Award for Best Visual Ethnographic Material Addressing Ageing and the Life Course for her film "This is My Face: what lies inside a journey with HIV".  The film had previously received the following recognition: Best Practice Research portfolio (Moving Image) by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies; Best International Documentary Feature at the OUTFLIX Film Festival; Special Commendation for the Richard Werbner Award by the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival

[PhD] Dr Mimi McGann passed her PhD viva on her thesis titled I do it because I’m English... but thank f*** for my Danish dad!”: Brexit, the British Empire and ‘doing the boundary’ in the modern English village

[PhD] Dr Ladd Serwat, successfully defended his thesis at his PhD viva for his thesis entitled: Gendering Land Reform in Burundi

[PhD] Dr Di Song successfully defended her Migration doctoral thesis entitled A Comparison of Local Chinese and New Immigrant Chinese in Singapore

[Grant] Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for a 2-year study titled “Varieties of Colonialism”

[Grant] Mick Frogley, Reader in Physical Geography, was part of a successful bid to AHRC for a project titled “Science and the colonies; Hidden Networks of Botanical Science, Ecology and Eugenics at the End of Empire” led by Sussex collaborator Dr Vinita Damodaran (History)

November 2021

[Appointment] Priya Deshingkar, Professor of Migration and Development was invited to be a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM) launched in November 2021

[Appointment] Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies was appointed as the President of the British Sociological Association (2022-25)

[PhD] Dr Selina Pasirayi passed her PhD viva for her thesis Urban Activism in Local Governance in Harare: The Case of Residents Associations (1997 to 2017)

[PhD] Dr Rebecca Ashley passed her PhD for her thesis titled Discontented midwives: the politics of care work in Iceland

[Grant] Kamran Matin, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, secured funding through an ESRC call led by Sussex collaborator Nuno Ferreira (Law) for research titled “Negotiating Queer Identities Following Forced Migration (NQIfFM): A Comparative Study of Iranian Queer Refugees Living in Turkey, the UK and Canada”

October 2021

[Appointment] Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences [FAcSS]

[Grant] Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations, secured funds from Stand.Earth to work on “Building a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty: Mechanisms and Pathways”

[Grant] Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations, secured funds from the British Academy through an award led by the Institute of Development Studies titled “Making Space for Dialogue on Just Transitions in Africa’s Oil and Gas Producing Regions”

September 2021

[PhD] Dr Julius Baker passed his PhD viva. His PhD thesis is titled A twenty-first century mapping of race and suburbia in Epsom, northeast Surrey.

[PhD] Dr Han Tao successfully defended their thesis Queering kinship in urban China which examined the practices of same-sex intimacies, marriage of convenience between a gay man and a lesbian, and queer parenting

[Grant] Andrew Hook, Lecturer in Human Geography, secured funding from the British Academy for his research titled “The socio-politics of digital money: examining the motives for and potential consequences of the shift towards cryptocurrencies”

July 2021

[Appointment] Alan Lester, Professor of Historical Geography was accepted as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society

[Appointment] Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies was appointed to the Colonial and Empire Histories and Legacies Advisory Group at the National Portrait Gallery

[Grant] Maya Unnithan, Professor of Social and Medical Anthropology, received funding from the Research Council of Norway for a study titled “Reporting in context: An interdisciplinary initiative to strengthen maternal health services and surveillance in Ethiopia and Tanzania”

[Grant] Sarah-Jane Phelan won an ESRC post-doctoral award for the project “Calculating Care: Reinvesting in a Burkina Faso market through crisis”

[Grant] Daniel Haberly, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, received funding through the United Nations University for research titled “Do developing countries suffer higher net tax revenue losses from corporate tax avoidance by multinational corporations? The underexplored role of indirect costs”

June 2021

[Award] Magnus Marsden, Professor of Social Anthropology was awarded the Silk Road Prize which is Acta Via Serica's Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Study of Central Asia and the Silk Road for his article “Inter-Asia Through Inland Eyes: Afghan Trading Networks across Land and Sea

[PhD] Dr Colleen McNeil-Walsh passed her Phd defending her thesis titled Later-in-life mobility and migration to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: family, life course and linked lives

[PhD] Dr Kiswendsida Guigma passed her PhD with the thesis titled Heat waves in the West African Sahel: nature, drivers and predictabilty

[Grant] Paul Gilbert, Senior Lecturer in International Development, secured funding via a University of Cambridge led bid to the ESRC for research titled “Development consultants and contractors: for-profit companies in the changing world of 'Aidland'”