Prof Nazia M Habib, Founder and Director of the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development, has been awarded a runner-up prize in the Vice Chancellor’s Awards 2023, under the Established Academic Award category. This well-deserved award is specifically related to the centre’s collaborative action-research project with the Commonwealth Secretariat: Their Future, Our Action.

Our ongoing 2-year project addresses the significant economic set-backs experienced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Whilst they encountered the most severe declines in GDP among all countries during the pandemic, historically they have been struggling to reduce their sovereign debt burden while committed to overseeing approximately one-third of the world's oceans, an unparalleled importance for international resilient system-building efforts.

The Cambridge Small States Policy Simulation Labs (CPSL) offers policymakers an approach to applying systems thinking tools to rapidly simulate potential policy outcomes in a safe and controlled environment. The CPSL is designed to offer ‘lifelike experiences’ to leaders from public, private, and civil society. Participants learn powerful new strategies for creating high-impact policies to make sustainable investment and to address key challenges. This research outcome has already created over 10,000 jobs, raised additional funds and improved the bargaining power of SIDS through Ministerial Statements of the Commonwealth Secretariat. 

Winning this award is a testament to the dedication and hard work of both Prof Habib and the CRSD research team. It recognises the impact not only of the ‘Their Future; Our Action’ project itself, but also of the centre’s collaborative, action-research approach more widely.