New funding and a new SPERI role for Genevieve LeBaron

Professor Genevieve LeBaron has been awarded new grants to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain workers and inequality.

In light of the new funding Genevieve has stepped down as SPERI Co-Director to be able to focus on this time-sensitive research. Genevieve will remain a Research Fellow at SPERI and a key part of our core team, as well as Professor of Politics within the University’s Department of Politics and International Relations.

SPERI Director Colin Hay paid tribute to the immense contribution that Genevieve has made to SPERI over the last couple of years: “Genevieve is very significantly responsible for the considerable research momentum and sheer energy that characterises SPERI at present.  It is of course sad, but entirely understandable, that the call of new externally funded research pulls her away from continuing to co-direct SPERI. But the entire team is delighted both with her success and that we will be able to continue to work together with her. These two major new projects are testament to the importance of her vital research and to the timeliness of SPERI’s research agenda more generally”. He went on to add, “the search for a new Co-Director for SPERI will of course begin shortly; we are confident of having someone in place early in the new year”.  

Genevieve’s new funding will enable her to conduct urgent research on the immediate and medium-term ways that the pandemic is impacting employment and workers’ livelihoods in global supply chains and on various forms of inequality.

The first project ‘Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Modern Slavery in Global Garment Supply Chains’ has been awarded by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre through their COVID-19 rapid response funding call which is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It will be conducted in collaboration with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent labour right monitoring organization focused on the apparel industry, which conducts in-depth investigations on factories around the globe, the Business & Human Rights Resource Center, and other partners.

The second project, ‘Restructuring Business Models and Supply Chains to Promote Fair, Equitable Labour Standards and Worker Rights in the Face of Pandemic’ will be undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at Yale and Stanford Universities. Further details of it will be announced shortly.