New SSD Postdoctoral Fellowships awarded

Two early career academics have been awarded new SSD Postdoctoral Fellowships as part of a new initiative from Oxford’s Social Sciences Division to support researchers to progress in the very early stage of their careers.

Dr Daniel Muñoz (School of Geography and the Environment) and Dr Laura Trajber Waisbich, who will join OSGA in July 2022, were competitively-awarded the Fellowships based on proposals designed to support their longer-term career aspirations. In particular, the two SSD Postdoctoral Fellows will have the opportunity to consolidate their doctoral research in their respective fields of accessibility and public transport systems, and the politics of accountability in South-South development cooperation, whilst also delivering key policy-relevant insights and impact.

Professor Heather Viles

Professor Heather Viles, Associate Head (Research) of the Social Sciences Division, said ‘My congratulations to Dr Muñoz and Dr Trajber Waisbich on being awarded these new SSD Postdoctoral Fellowships to extend the reach of their research in fields of such international importance, and – as Laura so beautifully puts it below – to “develop knowledge for action”.

'The relevance of their research insights to policymakers is central to both researchers’ work, and I’m delighted that the Social Sciences Division has been able to support them at this critical early stage in their career to maximise the benefit to society of their important research.’

Meet the new SSD Postdoctoral Fellows

Daniel Muñoz; School of Geography and the Environment

The everyday mobilities of disability: Embodiment, accessibility, and public transport systems

Dr Daniel Muñoz

Daniel’s Fellowship will enable him to maximise the impact of his doctoral research on the practices of disabled people who are public transport users in Santiago de Chile.

‘The everyday mobilities of disabled people is a topic that has received far less attention than it should’, says Dr Muñoz.

‘Even though different transport systems around the world have been making important efforts in providing an accessible service, there is still little reflection on what accessibility is, and the shape it takes in practice for disabled passengers. There are also very few instances for the knowledge of disabled people to have a relevant impact on how transport systems are planned and implemented.’

As well as disseminating his research findings through publications in the fields of human geography, mobility studies, and urban studies, Daniel plans to undertake knowledge exchange activities with policy makers, representatives of disability organisations, and Latin American disabled citizens to encourage the recognition of disabled people as users with expert knowledge of urban infrastructure who can offer invaluable insights to the planning, design, and implementation of accessible public transport systems.

‘My main aim is to contribute to the development of an accessibility agenda for Latin American transport settings’, Dr Muñoz explains.

‘I’ll pursue this by organising workshops where researchers, policy makers, and disability organisations can meet and discuss priorities for the participatory design and implementation of more accessible public transport in the region. My intention is that my research findings can be applied to these discussions, while also allowing me to pursue further research on how care, embodied practices, and assistive devices ‘fit’ within large transport infrastructures.’

On reacting to being awarded the Fellowship, Dr Muñoz said ‘I genuinely could not believe it! I had (unsuccessfully) applied to the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship earlier in the year, so this was a really wonderful surprise.’

Learn more about Dr Daniel Muñoz’s research (Transport Studies Unit | School of Geography and the Environment)

Dr Laura Trajber Waisbich, OSGA

The politics of accountability in South-South development cooperation – beginning July 2022

Laura Trajber Waisbich

Emerging economies from the Global South, including China, India, Brazil and many others, have become important actors in the field of international development in the last two decades. In this context, Dr Trajber Waisbich’s research investigates the politics of accountability in South-South development cooperation, and sheds lights on emerging disputes over how Southern powerhouses justify but also measure their development cooperation, particularly in the context of a global effort to achieve the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

‘Donor accountability has been a major issue in international development since the early 2000s’, explains Dr Trajber Waisbich.

‘The issues of whether and how the ‘traditional donor community’ justifies and measures the flows and impact of its development assistance to least-developed countries have increasingly populated policy and academic debates, both within donor countries and in international arenas. Less is known, however, about the disputes over whether and how the so-called ‘emerging powers’ like Brazil, China and India justify their development-related initiatives to domestic and international constituencies.

‘Unpacking the growing domestic and international pressure on Southern providers to justify their South-South Cooperation initiatives is not only an important academic contribution to understanding the politicisation dynamics taking place in this field in the last decade, but also a source of policy-relevant insights into disputes over power and responsibility in global affairs.’

‘I often define myself as someone who actively seeks to develop knowledge for action. This Fellowship will enable me to consolidate my doctoral research on South-South Cooperation accountability politics, the insights from which I hope to publish as a policy-relevant book.’

Reacting to her Fellowship, Dr Trajber Waisbich said ‘I felt very privileged. It is a real honour and a pleasure to join OSGA as a SSD Postdoctoral Fellow and to integrate with such vibrant and diverse community of scholars working on global and domestic politics in the Global South.’

Dr Trajber Waisbich joins the School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA) in July 2022


For more research funding opportunities, visit the SSD Funding Opportunities page