SAS academic receives funding to help tackle UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Dr Ainhoa Montoya, a lecturer at the Institute of Latin American Studies at the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, has been awarded funding by the British Academy to pursue research designed to help tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

She is among 27 distinguished academics to receive support from the Academy, the national voice of the humanities and the social sciences, under its Sustainable Development Programme.

Dr Montoya’s research, ‘The Juridification of Resource Conflicts: Legal Cultures, Moralities and Environmental Politics in Central America’, runs for 27 months from September 2018. It will assess the opportunities and limitations of the jural to resolve disputes over mining and water sources in what is the world’s most violent region and where such conflicts have intensified in the last decade.

This timely project, which seeks to prevent violent conflict while promoting social justice, relates directly to UN-led efforts to rethink the relationship between business and human rights and the role that legal mechanisms should play in it.  

‘Given the increased resort to legal mechanisms by those involved in violent conflicts over natural resources in Central America the project will seek to understand how various actors ascribe meaning to and employ these mechanisms,’ said Dr Montoya, who is also an ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow. ‘In addition, it will investigate their potential to enable access to justice without reproducing existing inequalities.’

Dr Rachel Sieder, a senior research professor at the Center for Research and Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, CIESAS) in Mexico City, will act as co-investigator.

The BA’s Sustainable Development programme supports researchers in the humanities and the social sciences working to generate evidence on the challenges and opportunities developing countries face. Awards are worth up to £300,000 and fund projects that demonstrate innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to one or more of the programme’s key sub-themes of heritage, dignity and violence.

The programme, which has already funded 16 awards under its first phase (launched in 2016), is supported by the UK Government’s £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund.

Professor Ash Amin, Foreign Secretary at the British Academy said, ‘We are delighted to announce the 2018 Sustainable Development Programme award-holders. Their cutting-edge research will demonstrate the crucial role played by the humanities and social sciences in enhancing our understanding of development.’

‘Moreover, their collaborations with partners in the Global South will ensure that findings with real-world impact evolve in a truly inclusive, collegiate way.’

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For further information, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653 / Maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk.