PRISM Research Associates



Robin Bloch
Robin Bloch is Technical Director: City and Regional Development at ICF, London. He is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience. His principal areas of expertise include urban and regional economic development, urban and metropolitan spatial and land use planning, and urban environmental management and sustainability and has published extensively on urban planning and governance. Robin’s work has incorporated the full spectrum of the policy cycle, from project identification and formulation through implementation, and evaluation. He has significant experience in managing and directing complex multi-stakeholder projects for clients including the UK Government and the World Bank. He was Team Leader for DFID’s Nigeria Urbanisation and Infrastructure Research and Evaluation Manager (UIREM) programme (2013-18). In 2016-18, Robin supported the FCO in the Scoping Study for a Global Future Cities Programme, which involved producing the evidence base for Concept Note for ministerial approval. The Note was subsequently approved, and a £80 million global Future Cities programme is under preparation. In 2014-15, Dr. Bloch acted as Project Director of the Support to the Ministry of Urban Development, Housing & Construction in the Implementation and Management of the Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP2) assignment for the Ethiopian Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction, which aimed at supporting the country in its urban transition. Robin is also Co-investigator on the Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure Research Project, for the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada, responsible for managing research into suburbanisation and spatial/land use change in sub-Saharan Africa, and a member of the External Advisory Board of the ESRC-DFID-funded research programme Urban Risk Knowledge Africa, which is implemented by King’s College London, the Development Planning Unit (DPU) at UCL, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the University of Cape Town, and addresses evidence gaps around urbanisation and climate and disaster risk in an African context

Judith Fessehaie
Judith Fessehaie works as an industrial development expert for a regional integration programme based in Pretoria. She has done extensive research on commodity-based industrialisation strategies. She has been a lead consultant on a major multi-country research programme for UNECA focusing on industries upstream and downstream to a broad range of commodity sectors, including cocoa, coffee, agro-processing, leather, cotton, gold, and oil. She holds a PhD from the School of Economics at UCT. Her PhD thesis focused on services and manufacturing industries supplying Zambia's copper mining sector, investigating local upgrading dynamics and the distinctive impact of Chinese and Indian investment in local industrialisation processes. Before her PhD, she has worked as an ODI Fellow at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and has a trade policy expert at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia.

Rhys Jenkins
Rhys Jenkins is Professor of Development Economics at the University of East Anglia. His research has been on the economic, social and environmental impacts of globalisation in Latin America, East Asia and South Africa. He has acted as a consultant for a number of international bodies including UNCTAD, UNIDO and UNRISD and for the Department of International Development.

Raphael Kaplinsky
Raphael Kaplinsky is Professor in the Department of Development Policy and Practice at the Open University in the UK. He has a long association with UCT and his current work focuses on the historical significance of the rise of the Asian economy (China and India in particular) and its impact on Africa, on the commodities sector and the terms of trade, and on innovation paths which provide the potential for pro-poor development strategies. He is a co-principal investigator on a number of PRISM projects.

Masuma Farooki
Dr. Masuma Farooki is a development economist and the Consulting Director at MineHutte, where her focus is on creating the 'due process' that must accompany mineral policies and strategies. She has worked with governments in Papua New Guinea, Lao, Liberia and Guyana as well as with the UNDP, the World Bank and BGR on diagnosing and devising strategies for resource led development. She was also the lead researcher in the 3-year EU funded Horizon2020 STRADE project, that looks at developing a strategic dialogue between the EU, industrial countries and resource-rich developing countries to promote sustainable supply of raw materials

Alexander O'Riordan
Alexander O'Riordan is a development policy and strategy advisor. His focal areas are development finance and effectiveness, country strategies, national aid architectures, policy dialogue and political economy analysis. O'Riordan also has a strong background in private sector development, institution building and governance. He recently led an Open Society Foundation study on emerging donors and was the principal researcher on an EU funded study on joint programming and development effectiveness. O'Riordan has worked as an advisor to the Ministries of Finance in Kenya and in Ethiopia, the European Union and United Nations Development Programme. He has provided advisory and analytic services in South, East and North Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, the Caucuses, the Pacific, South and South East Asia.

Glen Robbins
Glen Robbins works as both as an independent economic development researcher and also works in collaboration with research teams at a number of universities in South Africa and internationally. He specialises in research and policy work on urban and regional economic development, industrial policy and local government. His career has involved work as a senior manager in government in South Africa, specialist consulting roles for a range of international multi-lateral organisations and an extended association with academia. Most recently he completed a three Research Fellowship at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal working as a lead researcher in the EU-funded Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development commissioned research on the 2014 eThekwini/Durban Medium and Large Manufacturing Survey.

Cornelia Staritz
Cornelia Staritz is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Research Foundation for International Development (ÖFSE). She holds Masters degrees in Economics and Commerce and a Doctorate in Economics from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York. Her research and work focuses on economic development, international trade, global value chains and production networks, private sector development, and commodity-based development. Prior to joining ÖFSE, Cornelia worked as a Junior Professional Officer at the International Trade Department of the World Bank in Washington D.C. and at the Institute for International Economics and Development of the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Asha Sundaram
Asha Sundaram is Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics. Her research spans the areas of international trade and development economics. She is currently looking at the impact of trade liberalisation on the domestic economy, focussing on poverty outcomes and firm performance and behaviour, and on the impact of trade barriers on export competitiveness. She has authored book chapters in books published by Oxford University Press and has contributed to the policy debate by co-authoring a column on Vox-EU, a portal for research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists. Her past experience includes consulting for the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank, in Washington DC and working as co-investigator in projects sponsored by the World Bank and by the Peterson Institute of International Economics, Washington D.C.