Wellbeing Research Centre

Promoting human wellbeing through development

Wellbeing ClusterThe main purpose of the Wellbeing Research Centre is to provide a platform through which its activities at the Richmond Business School may be coordinated and promoted. The Wellbeing Research Cluster, the forerunner to the Centre, was set up during academic year 2013-4 in order to encourage and promote discussion and debate on all matters relating to wellbeing research. The Centre will continue this work and expand it. At the Centre, wellbeing is defined in its broadest sense and as such the definition sets very little disciplinary boundaries within the areas of business, economics and finance, management, marketing, etc. This broad approach intends to enable members, and others associated with the Centre, to reflect on a variety of issues of concern and interest relating to the exploration of the relationship between wellbeing and the economic condition.
Events blog: http://wellbeingcreates.org/

Wellbeing Research Centre Members

Wellbeing Research Centre Members:

  • Parviz Dabir-Alai, Ph.D., Professor of Economics; research interests are in economics of development, transition and idiosyncratic labour markets. Chair of WRC.
  • Paul Fisher, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics; research interests are in macroeconomic modelling and regulation.
  • Peter Grant, M.Sc., Visiting Professor of International Economics and Development; Cofounder of Restored Relationships.
  • Nicola Mann, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communications and Visual Cultures; research interests are informed by urban culture studies and community activism, her current research considers dominant visualisations of London’s Heygate council estate in light of recent regeneration efforts. She continues to liaise with the HMP and recently co-organized a popular conference with Dr. Annita Ventouris, titled: ‘Increasing Happiness and Wellbeing through Arts Participation & Play.’
  • David Munyinyi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics; research interests are in mathematical biology with applications to the modelling of population dynamics of biological organisms, and also transmission mechanisms of emerging and exotic disease pathogens. In addition, he has research interests in education and the modelling of real life situations.
  • Nastaran Norouzi, MBA, Assistant Professor of Marketing; research interests are in the areas of labour, wages and working conditions in Industrial Clusters. Nastaran is also interested in collaboration, knowledge sharing and interactions within clusters.
  • Sabine Spangenberg, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, research interests are in Public Economics, History of Thought, Education.
  • Faculty from the School of Business are all Associate Members as are students pursuing programs within the School.

The following list of events also appears on the Centre’s Events Blog (www.wellbeingcreates.org) where further links to some of the papers and presentations may be found:
September 22nd 2017 – A celebration of and launch of a new book
The Wellbeing Research Centre is pleased to co-sponsor the launch event for the publication of Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts by Nicola Mann and Charlotte Bonham-Carter. Dr Mann is a Member of the WRC. The event will take place between 5 and 7pm within the Asa Briggs Social Space on the University’s Kensington campus.

June 16th 2017 – Round-table discussion on the environment
The Wellbeing Research Centre is pleased to have hosted a roundtable discussion on a number of themes linked to some of the core environmental challenges of our time. This discussion is especially timely given that October 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.

  • 10:00-10:30, Keynote Speaker – Dr Paul Fisher (Visiting Professor at Richmond and formerly Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority at the Bank of England) opened the session with his keynote address on the relationship between climate change and risks to the financial sector. In this talk he discussed the current state of play of policy making to address these risks.
  • 10:30-10:50 – Dr John Curran (Independent academic and recently Principal Lecturer at London Metropolitan University) explored some of the implications of Professor Nick Stern’s 2006 report on the economics of climate change and asked whether the report is still important 10 years after its publication; facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
  • 10:55-11:15 – Jialiang Zhang (Senior Consultant at Ecofys) discussed carbon pricing and some of the recent global developments impacting this (for example, the Paris Agreement of 2015); facilitated by Nastaran Norouzi.
  • 13:10-13:30 – Dr Wayne Clark (Associate Professor of Science, at Richmond) looked at several aspects of the physical environment. In this regard his talk was entitled “What is ‘natural’, what is ‘rare’? The ethics of alien species, upland farming, conservation, and re-wilding”; facilitated by David Munyinyi.
  • 13:35-13:55 – Hilary Jennings (Director of the Happy Museum Project) discussed her work as the part-time Director of the Happy Museum Project (HMP) which works with museums to develop their role in civil society, and working with communities to build resilience through well-being and environmental sustainability. The title of her presentation was “How can museums help foster wellbeing that doesn’t cost the Earth“. The HMP works with a community of museums across the UK and has recently launched a new Affiliate Scheme; facilitated by Nicola Mann.
  • 14:00-14:20 – Dr Mike Keating (Professor of International Political Economy, at Richmond) discussed the role of appropriate technology in the context of a low-carbon energy transition; facilitated by Sabine Spangenberg.
  • 14:25-15:00 – Discussion and Close

Venue: Room 106 Briggs Hall, Richmond University.

27th February 2017 – The success of unconditional cash transfers as a development strategy
The Wellbeing Research Centre at Richmond University welcomed Ana Correa. Ana is a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where she obtained an MSc (with Distinction) in Economics. Prior to that she graduated with a First Class degree in Economics from Richmond University. She has published widely in her own right and has a rich research agenda in front of her in relation to programs in health, development and related areas.
Time / Venue: 12:00 / Lecture Hall, 17 Young Street, Richmond University.

8th December 2016 – ‘How do young people see the World?’ – a talk by Yemi Babington-Ashaye 
The Wellbeing Research Centre welcomed a talk by Yemi Babington-Ashaye, Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. In this talk Yemi presented the results of a large scale survey conducted by the World Economic Forum aimed at identifying some key priorities for the future of policy work at the WEF.
Time / Venue: 10:30 / Lecture Theatre, Taylor Building, Richmond University.

12th October 2016 – Economic Policy: The UK economy and selected topics in economic policy – a talk by Sanjay Raja
The Wellbeing Research Centre welcomed Mr Sanjay Raja to present a detailed discussion on the performance of the UK economy since around the time of the 2007-8 financial crisis. The paper was primarily policy focused and raised as many questions about the performance of the UK economy as it set out to answer.
Sanjay Raja works as an economist with KPMG in London and prior to that was with the National Audit Office also in London. Sanjay earned his MSc in Economics from the LSE and left Richmond University in 2011 with a First Class Honors degree in Economics.
Time / Venue: 13:30 / BH 108, Richmond University.

5th October 2016 – What should we (not) expect of central banks? – a Public Lecture by Professor Paul Fisher, October 5th 2016
On October 5th 2016 Professor Paul Fisher delivered a lecture on the theme of central banking capabilities to a group of around 30 students and faculty at the Richmond Business School in Kensington, London. During the talk Paul focused on 3 inter-linked issues:

  1. what can central banks achieve (and not achieve) in policy terms?
  2. expectations of what central banks can use their balance sheet for.
  3. expectations on economic forecasts.

The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session. The full paper is available on the link here of the Briefing Notes in Economics (www.richmond.ac.uk/bne)
Paul Fisher is a Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Richmond University and a member of its WRC. He is also a recent member of the Bank of England’s influential Monetary Policy Committee. Paul’s other affiliations include:
Chair, London Bullion Market Association
Chair, London Institute of Banking and Finance
Senior Associate, Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Time / Venue: 12:00 / Lecture Hall, 17 Young Street, Richmond University.

24th June 2016 – Forthcoming workshop on education and wellbeing
The Wellbeing Research Centre is pleased to have hosted a roundtable discussion on a number of themes linked to education and wellbeing. This workshop provided the opportunity for members and guests to explore the role education in promoting wellbeing around the world. The relationship between education and wellbeing is relevant to both developing nations (especially within the context of the newly formulated Sustainable Development Goals) and advanced economics (for example in terms of social mobility). This workshop attempted to explore a range of issues including sociocultural, economic, technological, gender-related, political and other issues. Topics include the effects of education on wellbeing in general through an investigation of the impact of education on health, social welfare, race and gender equality, social networks, employment and other relevant considerations.
The workshop aimed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between education and wellbeing?
    • Who is affected?
    • How is education offered?
    • How is education funded?
    • How are educational achievements measured?

10:30 -11:00, Keynote Speaker – Peter Grant, co-founder of Restored Relationships (title: Wellbeing and Education – gender and related angles), facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
11:15 – 11:45 – Anne Lotter, Founder and CEO of Project Le Monde (title: The Impact of Structural Violence on Education in Uganda), facilitated by Peter Grant.
12:00 – 12:30 – Sabine Spangenberg, Professor of Economics, Richmond Business School (title: The English Bipartite Secondary School System: Behavioural Considerations), facilitated by Anne Lotter.
13:30 – 14:00 – Jake Barber, Assistant Professor of General Education, (title: Project articulation and utility, local capacity and sustainability – the case of a post crisis Sri Lankan university), facilitated by David Munyinyi.
14:15 – 14:45 – Nastaran Norouzi, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Richmond Business School (title: Education in the 21st Century – technology in the classroom: a blessing or a curse?), facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
15:00 – 15:30 – Ana Oliveira (Associate Dean, School of General Education) and Parviz Dabir-Alai (Professor of Economics), both at Richmond Business School (title: Adding value by degree: a case study), facilitated by Nicola Mann.
Venue: 17:00 / Upper Dining Hall, Atlantic House, Richmond University.

15th June 2016 – BREXIT debate: To REMAIN, or to LEAVE
The Wellbeing Research Centre hosted a debate on the BREXIT referendum held in the UK on June 23rd, 2016.
The debate participants included Ivan Cohen and Inma Ramos, speaking for REMAIN, and Nick Wilkinson and Parviz Dabir-Alai who spoke on behalf of the LEAVE campaign. The debate was chaired by Sabine Spangenberg.
Time / Venue: 17:00 / Upper Dining Hall, Atlantic House, Richmond University.

5th June 2015 – Workshop on Migration
This half day workshop dealt with the theme of migration in its broadest sense. Participants discussed economic and political ramifications of different migration models within a mainly development economics context. Speakers included Mamad Pourhosseini, Sabine Spangenberg, David Munyinyi and Parviz Dabir-Alai.
Time / Venue: 10:00 / Lycett room, Richmond University.

6th June 2014 – Workshop on Development and Wellbeing
This all day event, which happened to be the Wellbeing Research Cluster’s (forerunner to the Centre) Inaugural Event was held on the Richmond Hill campus of the University and tackled a range of issues relating to women’s role in development, health, energy, development indicators and other matters. The event was opened with a welcome from Professor John Annette (Richmond’s President and VC).The keynote address was by Peter Grant, a former head of DFID’s International Department, and Co-founder of Restored Relationships. Other speakers and participants included: Robert Read (University of Lancaster), Nick Wilkinson (Richmond), Mike Keating (Richmond), Ali Shamsavari (Kingston University), Sabine Spangenberg (Richmond), and Tamara Trafton (Quest University).
Venue: Library Conference room, Richmond University.

Research by members of the WRC

Bonham-Carter, C. and Mann, N. eds., 2017. Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts. London: palgrave-macmillan.
Parviz Dabir-Alai and Ana Oliveira, ‘Adding value by degree: a case study’, International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Volume 8, No. 1, 2017.
Parviz Dabir-Alai and Abbas Valadkhani, ‘Foreign aid, economic outcomes, and happiness’, International Journal of Happiness & Development, Volume 3, No. 2, 2016.
Sabine Spangenberg, ‘In Search of Value: Early Civilisation and Some Athenian Thought’, International Journal of Happiness & Development, Volume 3, No. 2, 2016.