Researcher wins Newton Fund Grant for Disasters and Development Research Network

A new project led by Dr Jonathan Corpus Ong from the Department of Media and Communication seeks to explore how media and communication technologies can be used during disasters as well as promote social welfare in the developing world.  

The project, supported by a Newton Fund Institutional Links grant from the British Council, aims to build an international consortium and plans to promote capacity-building and researcher exchange with the Philippines as the partner country.

Dr Ong, who is leading the project said: “Disasters and emergencies need to be studied in a comparative and multi-perspectival way. By building inclusive spaces for knowledge exchange where first responders from the developing world dialogue with global policymakers and researchers, we hope to appreciate the complexity of social problems instead of rushing toward easy solutions.”

The project will run from two years from April 2016 to March 2018, with £150,000 awarded to the University of Leicester and an equal amount awarded to De La Salle University Philippines as the partner institution.

The UK team is led by Dr Jonathan Corpus Ong as Principal Investigator and Dr Deirdre McKay of Keele University as Co-Investigator. The Philippines team is composed of Dean Julio Teehankee, Dr Cheryll Soriano and Dr Sherwin Ona (De La Salle University), Prof Clarissa David (University of the Philippines) and Dr Emmanuel Lallana (Ideacorp).

They are supported by associate members whose expertise are in humanitarian communication, internet and information geographies, cultures of disaster, and urban planning. These include Prof Lilie Chouliaraki (LSE), Dr Mark Graham (Oxford), Prof Greg Bankoff (Hull), Dr Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths), Dr Sun Sun Lim (NUS), Prof Vicki Mayer (Tulane University), Dr Margie Buchanan Smith (Overseas Development Institute), Boyet Dy (Harvard Humanitarian Initative) and David Garcia (UN Habitat).

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance programme. The fund is £75 million each year from 2014 for five years. By working with partner countries on research and innovation projects, the UK aims to build strong and sustainable relationships. This will support the continued excellence of UK research and innovation to unlock opportunities for wider collaboration and trade.