A global team of researchers at the University of Oxford, Peking University, University of Cape Town, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, and EAFIT University will work together across the natural sciences (including mathematics, medicine, transport and engineering), the social sciences (including anthropology, development, migration) and humanities (including law, history).


The University of Oxford is a world-leading centre of learning, teaching and research and the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Michael Keith is the programme PI and director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), in the School of Anthropology. COMPAS conducts high quality research in order to develop theory and knowledge, inform policy-making and public debate, and engage users of research within the field of migration. Michael Keith is an experienced academic manager and research leader with research interests in migration related processes of urban change.

Tim Schwanen is director of the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) in the School of Geography and the Environment. TSU advances interdisciplinary approaches to the study of transport, with particular emphasis on its social, economic and environmental implications over time and space. Tim Schwanene’s research concentrates on the geographies of the everyday mobilities of people, goods and information. It is international in outlook, interdisciplinary in scope, informed by the thinking in various sub-disciplines within Geography.

Kazem Rahimi is deputy director of the George Institute UK, a health and medical research institute whose mission is to improve the health of millions of people worldwide. He leads the Essential Healthcare Programme, which aims to find practical and affordable solutions for the global health priorities of the world’s largest emerging economies, as well as the priorities of vulnerable or disadvantaged populations in established economies.

Peter Grindrod is professor at the Mathematical Institute, which combines pure and applied mathematicians in one department and one building, ensuring collaborations both within and beyond Oxford. He has a wide range of research interests, including the application of data science and analytics to data from urban living and the development of new concepts in comparison of social networks, scaling laws, and dynamical network analysis.

Neave O’Clery is a senior research fellow at the Mathematical Institute, having previously been a Fulbright scholar at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. She leads a research group focused on studying cities as complex social, spatial and economic systems, with a particular interest in modelling the emergence of economic complexity through knowledge diffusion, and the development of innovative approaches to study the economic and spatial forces underlying agglomeration economies. 

Yi Samuel Chen is Research Fellow and China Liaison at COMPAS, with responsibility for building strategic links with Chinese research and other relevant institutions and for translating research findings into impact activities through linking research results across the PEAK project platform with city governments in China.


Peking University is one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in China and a member of the C9 League, the Chinese equivalent to the Ivy League.

Changchun Feng is a professor in Urban and Economic Geography at the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University. He is also Director of the Centre of Real Estate Studies and Appraisals and Vice-director of the Beijing Development Institute, Peking University. His research focuses on land economics, land policy, real estate development, and urban and regional planning.

Guangzhong Cao is a professor in Urban and Economic Geography at the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University. He is also Head of the Department of Urban and Economic Geography and Director of the Centre for Urban Future Research at Peking University. His research focuses on urbanization, internal migration, rural development, urban and regional planning.

Pengjun Zhao is a professor in Urban and Transport Planning at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Peking University. He is also the director of Centre for Urban Planning and Transport Studies at Peking University. He obtained his PhD in planning at University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His research mostly focuses on sustainable transportation, travel demand management, sustainable mobility.

Zhenjie Wang is an assistant professor at the Institute of Population Research/WHO Collaborating Centre on Reproductive Health and Population Science, Peking University. His research focuses on mental health, disability, and aging.

Tao Liu is an assistant professor at the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University. He obtained his PhD in geography at the University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on migration, urban land use, and metropolitan governance.


The University of Cape Town is an inclusive and engaged research-intensive African university that inspires creativity through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship; enhancing the lives of its students and staff, advancing a more equitable and sustainable social order and influencing the global higher education landscape.

Sue Parnell is an urban geographer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT), focussing on contemporary urban policy research, including local government, poverty reduction and urban environmental justice. By its nature this research is not been purely academic, but has involved liaising with local and national government and international donors.

Edgar Pieterse is founding director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC), an interdisciplinary research and teaching programme focused on quality scholarship regarding the dynamics of unsustainable urbanisation processes in Africa, with an eye on identifying systemic responses. His research and teaching gravitates around sustainable urban development politics, everyday culture, publics, responsive design and adaptive governance systems.


The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bangalore is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements.

Aromar Revi is Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bangalore. He is an international researcher, educator and practitioner with over 30 years of interdisciplinary experience in public policy and governance, sustainable development, global environmental change, technology and human settlements.


Universidad EAFIT is a private university located in Medellín, Colombia. EAFIT is a university that inspires the current generations to embark on a life project that maximizes their potential. It is an institution that both conveys and generates knowledge, thus fulfilling its role as a teaching and research university. It transforms society. 

Juan C. Duque is Professor at the Department of Economics and founder-director of RiSE (Research in Spatial Economics). The RiSE group is developing quantitative methods for spatial analysis that allow researchers, public and private institutions to attain a better understanding of their georeferenced data. Their methodologies are characterized by their multidisciplinarity, involving research domains such as operation research, econometrics and exploratory spatial data analysis.

Alejandro Echeverri is an architect and cofounder/director of URBAM, the Center for Urban and Environmental Studies at EAFIT University. His experience combines architectural, urban, environmental projects and planning. The Urban and Environmental Studies Center (Urbam), whose work draws upon the experience of Medellín and the metropolitan region, is an academic space for thought, action and critical reflection related to the city and the environment. Academia, public policy makers and the private sector come together there to seek answers to problems from a broad-based and interdisciplinary perspective.