Essex Workshop on Development

Linking development research and practice

Join us at our interdisciplinary Essex Workshop on Development (EWOD). Every month, faculty and PhD students across all our departments are joined by external practitioners to discuss current research on development from both an academic and a policy perspective.

Our workshops are open to everyone.

EWOD aims


  • Give scholars the opportunity to present their work and receive constructive feedback from an interdisciplinary audience.
  • Generate and strengthen interdepartmental ties.
  • Generate and strengthen necessary working links with the development practitioner community.
  • Create awareness of common research themes and impact opportunities that may lead to joint, interdisciplinary research projects in the future.


Upcoming workshops

Aid targeting in post-conflict societies – The case of Nepal

International aid plays an important role in the reconstruction of war-torn societies after the end of civil war, but its effectiveness depends on whether aid reaches the most needy recipients. We study how power sharing in Nepal's post-conflict transition affected the political capture of aid. We argue that despite the explicit inclusion of disadvantaged groups in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement from 2006 and the Interim Constitution, regions that neither aligned with the Maoist rebels nor the government during the civil war remained politically disadvantaged and received lower aid allocations. The causal mechanism that accounts for this is the low threat potential of non-combatant groups, which results in under-representation during peace negotiations and post-conflict institutions. To investigate our claims, we propose to conduct field interviews with key stakeholders from representative districts in Nepal, including NGO officials, donor representatives, as well as local and central government officials. We also present preliminary statistical evidence that shows that districts that did not experience fighting received lower World Bank aid allocations, regardless of economic need. At the same time, regions that supported the Maoist rebellion received systematically higher aid allocations when the Maoists party (CPN(M)) held government office. 

  • Speaker: Dr. Martin Steinwand (Senior Lecturer Department of Government)
  • Date: Tuesday 19 February 2019 
  • Time: 1-2pm
  • Room:  EBS.2.45


  • Dr. Mareike Schomerus (Head of Programme Politics and Development, Overseas Development Institute)
  • Sanjaya Aryal (Department of Sociology)

Women legislators and economic performance

There has been a phenomenal global increase in the proportion of women in politics in the last twenty years. There is evidence that raising the share of women politicians has substantive impacts on the composition of government spending, but scarcely any evidence of how it influences economic performance.

  • Speaker: Professor Sonia Bhalotra (University of Essex)
  • Date: Tuesday 20 March 2019 
  • Time: 11am
  • Room:  5S.3.8

Feedback will be provided by:

  • Dr Martin Steinwand (Department of Government, University of Essex)
  • Dr. Magdalena Randall-Schab (Westminster Foundation for Democracy)

Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector: what lessons can be learned from the UN accountability processes

Sexual exploitation and abuse is an all too present feature of post-conflict contexts, fuelled by factors such as poverty, discrimination, significant power imbalances and inadequate governance and oversight structures.

  • Speaker: Dr Carla Ferstman, School of Law and Human Rights Centre (University of Essex)
  • Date: Wednesday 27 March 2019 
  • Time: 1pm - 2pm
  • Room: NTC.3.06


  • Julie Hannah, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
  • Nicole Piché, Coordinator/Legal Adviser of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group

Past workshops

The humanitarian/development nexus in the context of mass and protracted displacement

Professor Geoff Gilbert (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Renee Reichl Luthra, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Director for the Centre for Migration Studies, University of Essex

Exploring informal economy business models in sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Diane Holt (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Professor Suma Athreye (Essex Business School, University of Essex)
  • Christopher Suckling (Senior Analyst, IHS Markit)

Do exogenous shocks derail ex-combatant reintegration?

Professor Ismene Gizelis (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Larissa Fast (Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute)
  • Judith Bueno de Mesquita (Human Rights Centre, University of Essex)

The interplay between NGO accountability and ‘development’: The implications of means-ends decoupling

Professor Teerooven Soobaroyen (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Megan Renoir (Senior Research Officer, Facilitating Financial Sustainability, Peace Direct)
  • Professor Ismene Gizelis (Department of Government, University of Essex)

Developing Countries, Public Goods Provision, and Global Climate Cooperation - When Weak States Tilt the Outcomes at the UNFCCC

Dr Federica Genovese (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Dr Alina Averchenkova (Co-Head Climate Policy, Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics)
  • Dr Karen Hulme (Professor in the School of Law and Director for Centre for Environment and Society, University of Essex)

Accountability for Public Health through the Universal Periodic Review of the UN’s Human Rights Council

Judith Bueno de Mesquita (University of Essex)

Feedback was provided by:

  • Dr Gina Yanitell Reinhardt (Department of Government, University of Essex)
  • Marianne Lilliebjerg (Deputy Director, Amnesty International)

Presenting your work

Does your research focus on issues of development? Do you need feedback on your research project from both the academic and policy side?

All faculty members and PhD students at Essex can present their work at EWOD, as long as it focuses on issues of development, and they're willing to share a working manuscript with the EWOD group in advance of the workshop.

If you'd like to present, email us with the title and abstract of your topic. We'll be in touch to discuss the next steps.

Get in touch
Dr Florian Kern
Dr Thoko Kaime