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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  Ayona Datta awarded ERC Advanced Grant for Frontier Research

Ayona Datta awarded ERC Advanced Grant for Frontier Research

Support for ground-breaking work on regional digitalisation

Ayona Datta awarded ERC Advanced Grant for Frontier Research

Professor Ayona Datta (UCL Geography) has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant worth approximately €2.5 million to carry out ground-breaking work on regional futures, focussing on the politics of digitalisation and urbanisation within the highly unequal contexts of emerging economies in the global south.

The project, Regional Futures: The territorial politics of digitalisation-as urbanisation in the global South, will focus on three rapidly growing metropolitan regions grappling with the challenges of transforming from ‘paper-based bureaucracies’ into automated planning and governance systems.

The reserch will use ethnography, interviews, and information audit trails to bring new insights into postcolonial futures, smart cities, digital citizenships, and the expansion of metropolitan regions in the global south.

As Ayona explains:

“This project will have immense impact in our understanding of the politics and dynamics of regional urbanisation in the global south as both a product and a producer of the ‘information revolution’. Digitalisation produces new territories for regional urbanisation and this project will examine how state and non-state actors are assisting, contesting and disrupting these regional futures.”

Commening on the Advanced Grants, the ERC President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, explained:

“The great increase in demand led to a very fierce competition: only 8% of candidates were successful”.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, nevertgheless added:

“I am pleased to see more women applying for these prestigious grants - and winning them. For Europe to be competitive globally, we need to nurture all top talent that can push the frontiers of our knowledge.”

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Ayona Datta


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