Postdoctoral researchers

Matthew Arran

Matthew works to assess the impact of a potential landslide-induced tsunami on the economy of Mayotte, using geophysical and macroeconomic models to quantify the immediate and long-term effects of various potential slope failures, under different scenarios of sea level rise and coral reef loss. By building on existing collaboration between governmental authorities and academia, crossing disciplines and departments, the aim is to guide policy for damage amelioration, and to illustrate the effects of natural hazards in a world where their impacts are intensified by anthropogenic climate change.

  • Keywords: Economic and geophysical modelling, granular flows
  • Degree: PhD in Applied Mathematics (University of Cambridge)
  • Email address: mia31 -at- cantab -dot- ac -dot- uk
  • Recent publications:
    • Laboratory landquakes: Insights from experiments into the high-frequency seismic signal generated by geophysical granular flows. Arran, M. I., Mangeney, A., de Rosny, J., Farin, M., Toussaint, R., & Roche, O. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 2021.
    • Seismic Ground Roll Absorption and Reemission by Sand Dunes. Arran, M. I., Vriend, N. M., & Muyzert, E. Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2018.
    • Intermittency between avalanche regimes on grain piles. Arran, M. I., & Vriend, N. M. Physical Review E, 2018.

Elena De Nictolis

Elena has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Environmental Justice Program since September 2021 and visiting researcher at Harry Radzyner Law School ICD Herlzliya (Spring 2022). Her primary research interests are in urban public policies and law; collective action in cities and urban commons; urban climate justice; quality of democracy at the local level. 
She earned a Phd in Political Theory, Political Science and Political History (Luiss University Rome) in 2019 with a thesis on urban public policies to promote the commons in Italian Cities, and the relationship with the quality of democracy shortly before joining the Luiss Department of Political Science as a post-doc fellow (2019-2021) were she conducted research for on the co-governance of urban resources, services, infrastructures as commons based on experimentation in Italian cities (Bologna; Reggio Emilia; Naples; Rome). She was also research fellow in the Horizon2020 projects “Open Heritage” on adaptive reuse of cultural heritage with commons-based mechanisms and “EUARENAS”, on deliberative and ethical co-governance in Eu Cities and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Urban Clinic managed by At Luiss she is a teaching fellow of Urban Law and Policy (Department of Political Science) and Governance of Innovation and Sustainability (Department of Law). 

  • Keywords: Urban public policies and laws, collective action in cities and urban commons, urban climate justice, quality of democracy at the local level
  • Degree: Phd in Political Theory, Political Science and Political History (Luiss University Rome)
  • Email address: edenictolis -at- luiss -dot- it
  • recent publications:
    • The internet of humans (IoH): Human rights and co-governance to achieve tech justice in the city. Iaione, C., De Nictolis, E., & Suman, A. B. (2019).  The Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 13(2), 263-299.
    • Urban pooling. Iaione, C., & De Nictolis, E. (2017). Fordham Urb. LJ, 44, 665.
    • The city as a Commons reloaded: from the Urban Commons to CO-Cities: empirical evidence on the Bologna Regulation. Elena De Nictolis, Christian Iaione. The Cambridge Handbook of Commons Research Innovations, edited by Sheila Foster, Chrystie Swyney, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
    • The Role of Cities in the Global Governance of Health. Christian Iaione, Elena De Nictolis. Research Handbook on International Law and Cities,, edited by Janne Nijman and Helmust Aust, Edward Elgar Publisher, 2021.
    • Co-City applicata all’housing. Elena De Nictolis. La casa per tutti. Teorie sull’housing, modelli di gestione e pratiche di comunità, edited by Christian Iaione, Monica Bernardi, Elena De Nictolis, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2020.
    • The role of cities in the EU-Africa relations. Elena De Nictolis. Africa- Europe Relationship: A Multistakeholder Perspective, edited by Raffaele Marchetti, Routledge, 2020.

Hugo Martin

Hugo’s research aims to integrate the impacts of human societies on the earth’s climate by linking macroeconomic models to climate models. This interaction is crucial for the understanding of global warming. Indeed, depending on economic scenarios, CO2 emissions can change dramatically, always increasing with global production. In the face of global warming, international economic policies must be carefully chosen. Their objective must be the perfect control of CO2 emissions as well as the improvement of social progress. Therefore, determining precisely what changes would be induced on the earth’s climate by CO2 emissions is definitely a cornerstone of any rigorous planning of economic policies. Numerical simulations provide a useful toolbox for testing any economic strategy and directly observing their consequences on our environment.

  • Keywords: Climate change, ecological macroeconomics, energy, Sustainability and Society, gravity driven granular flows, landslides and seismicity
  • Degree: PhD in earth sciences (Université de Paris, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)
  • Email address: martin_hugo -at- ymail -dot- com
  • Website:

Pauline Smith

Take a moment to gather your thoughts.

Pauline’s work aims to build a better understanding of our relationship to nature, and create policy recommendations for campuses that want to foster their students relationship with nature. Feeling connected with nature can be a powerful drive towards a more sustainable lifestyle as well as a source of happiness, but we are not sure how to foster this feeling in adults, or what the cognitive basis of this connectedness are. Pauline investigates these questions by exploring the role of attention built through habits, as well as drawing insights from subjective accounts of people’s relationship with the natural world.

  • Keywords: cognitive psychology, environmental psychology, ecocampuses
  • Degree: PhD in cognitive science ( Paris Sorbonne Université, Paris Brain Institute)
  • Email address: ps1252 -at- georgetown -dot- edu
  • Recent publications:
    • I can’t get it off my mind: Attentional bias in former and current cocaine compulsive use. Smith, P., N’Diaye, K., Fortias, M., Vorspan, F., Mallet, L. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2020.
    • Individualized Immunological Data for Precise Classification of OCD Patients. Lamothe, H., Baylette J.-M., Smith, P., Pelissolo, A., Mallet L. Brain Sciences, 2018.
    • Preserved implicit mentalizing in schizophrenia despite poor explicit performance: evidence from eye tracking. Roux, P., Smith P., Passerieux, C., Ramus F. Scientific Reports, 2016.

Paul Valcke

Feedback, interaction, emergence

Paul’s work aims at the creation of economical models that can take into account the dynamics of inequalities in a society. This work is integrated in a larger approach of economical models that can take into account spatial effects, energy, resources, climate and biodiversity. His work is based on dynamical models from economy, but also from statistical physics, theoretical ecology, and morphogenesis.

  • Keywords: modelization, inequalities, spatialization, dynamics, auto-organization
  • Degree: PhD in interdisciplinary physics (Université de Paris, Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire)
  • Email address: pv229 -at- georgetown -dot- edu

last updated: 11-12-21