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Dr Allister McGregor
Dr Allister McGregor

Internal News - 20 November 2007

Wellbeing and its challenges to policy-making in our globalised world

Dr Allister McGregor from the Department of Economics & International Development made a keynote presentation on wellbeing and its challenges to international development at a major international conference in Vienna last week.

Over 800 participants met in Vienna’s Hofburg Palace for a conference organised by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis on Global development: science and policies for the future.

In his presentation Dr McGregor argued that international development research and policy needs a practical concept of wellbeing if it is to realistically confront current major policy challenges.

After explaining how the concept of wellbeing can be operationalised for multidisciplinary research and for policy thinking, he highlighted the fact that the analysis of a practical and tightly defined notion of wellbeing exposes the micro-foundations of conflict in our globalised world. This view resonated strongly with other key presentations throughout the conference.

Other keynote speakers to the conference included Nobel prize-winner Thomas Schelling, Indian government advisor Kirit S. Parikh, Jan Pronk, the former Dutch Environment Minister and UN Special Representative on Darfur, and the Director of the Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs.

This year Dr McGregor won an ESRC Director’s Fellowship to take forward the work on wellbeing that has been pioneered by the Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) research group at the University of Bath.

While the ESRC funding for the initial WeD research draws to a close this year, the WeD identity will be maintained at the University.

Alongside Dr McGregor’s Fellowship, ongoing research and funding on a range of issues including on religion and wellbeing, education and wellbeing, wellbeing and consumption, all represent important channels through which the University’s pathbreaking work on these issues will be advanced.

The WeD website will be updated with news from these wellbeing initiatives and WeD will continue to publish its working papers series as the analysis of findings proceeds.