GEM PhD School

Globalisation, Europe & Multilateralism

Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate

Sameea AHMED-HASSIM

Sameea AHMED-HASSIM

The GEM programme provides ample opportunities for personal, professional and intellectual growth. Learning alongside, and sharing ideas with other scholars in this programme, from its host institutions and beyond allows inter-disciplinary exchange which has, no doubt, enriched this experience. GEM has delivered on its promise by providing a truely dynamic international research programme.

Academic Degrees

MSSc/Master of Social Science

Erasmus Mundus Phoenix - Health, Populations, Politics & Social Interventions  (Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales)

MSc /Master of Science

Erasmus Mundus Phoenix - Health & Community Welfare (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Post-Graduate Certificate

Health Policy & Management - Politics of Health Policy (Johns Hopkins and University Pompeu Fabra Fall Institute)

Post-Graduate Certificate

International Community Health, Accessibility, Equity & Human Rights (Universitetet i Oslo)

BA/Bachelor of Arts

Social Anthropology & Geographical Sciences (University of Cape Town)

Work Experience

Intern

Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (Washington D.C.)

Intern

Department of Health of Catalonia, Office of the Sub-Director General - Planning and Evaluation (Barcelona)

Research Assistant

Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Research Programme with the University of Oslo and University of Zimbabwe (Harare)

Specific Research Title, Area and Promotor(s)

Proposed research title:

'Designed to Influence?  The Culture of Openness in Boundary Organizations at the Interface of Global Health Policy and Science'

Area:

This research borrows conceptually and theoretically from International Relations, the Sociology of Health Sciences and Science, Technology & Society (STS)

Promoters:

Raffaele Marchetti (LUISS)

Jean-Frédéric Morin (ULB)

Description of research work

Sameea's research examines international policy processes through the lens of STS. The study looks at organizations situated at the science-policy interface, particulary in the context of Global Health Governance, conceptualizaing them as Boundary Organizations.  Their purpose is to facilitate the tranfer of scientific knowledge for policy-relevant use and to guide countries towards achieving credible policy options. Confronted with challenges posing a risk to these organizations by the tainting of their authority, they are careful to avoid being criticized for stretching into the realm of politics either through the scientization of politics or the politicization of science.  The inclusion of particular kinds of expertise is an important consideration for the quality of their output, however, in developing global recommendations these organizations attempt to gain a global vision in a world with disparities in expertise and where solutions may lie beyond the scope of their limited contextual knowledge, in more comprehensive causal understandings or are beyond their assessment capabilities.  Additionally, resource inequalities compel their strategic use, for which a host of pressures from interested and affected parties arise. As such, they deal with competing needs from policy and scientific communities as well as from civil society and the general public.  Their practices evolve towards clearly defined standards for their conduct based on acceptable socio-scientific practices, as a means of gaining legitimacy, however, differences abound in how these practices are institutionalized.

The blurring of the boundary between science and policy is seen by scholarship of such organizations (in the realm of Global Environmental Governance) as a way of improving interactions between the two. Boundary Organizations essentially maintain a line of seperation/boundary between them through boundary work, dividing tasks and drawing lines of responsibility. This research aims to understand how the design of Boundary Organizations, how it defines what and who is included, affects the usefulness of the knowledge they produce thereby questioning the notion of openness. It looks critically at the dynamics of openness and the boundary work, dissecting the power politics to assess the extent to which inclusion and pluralism contribute to more acceptable forms of knowledge production or to a form of uneven biopolitical power dynamic. 

Accordingly, this research is focused on understanding the design of two prominent global advisory groups, SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) dealing with immunization and the IBC (International Bioethics Committee). It looks at the interactions they enable between experts and policy-makers and the kinds of knowledge that is produced, thus looking empirically at the ways in which knowledge becomes useful, trustworthy and believable as a result of design choices.  It will then make recommendations on how to improve interactions between the scientific and policy communities.

Particular interest is placed on elaborating on concepts such as boundary organizations, boundary-work and co-production.  These concepts have been developed by scholars focused on Global Environmental Governance and the particular innovation in this research lies in transferring them across to the study of Global Health Governance.

Participation in Conferences and Seminars

GEM sponsored conferences and seminars:

Annual GEM Conference - February 2013

GEM Graduate Seminar - June 2013, Luiss

GEM/REPI Graduate Seminar - May 2014, ULB

GEM/REPI Graduate Seminar - Novembr 2014, ULB

Belgian Science, Technology & Society Graduate Seminar - University of Ghent, February 2015

 

Up-coming seminars:

Center for Science, Technolgy, Medicine and Society Graduate Seminar - UC Berkeley, May 2015

Workshop on Environment Series (WES) on Transnational Expertise - ULB, August 2015