HI-POD is a Collaborative Project supported by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme for Research, Contract Number SSH7-CT-2008-225342
The goal of this project is to produce frontier research on the topic and to use it to produce policy conclusions that will be the subject of extensive prior consultation with stakeholders from the research and policy communities.
Understanding the ‘great’ and ‘little’ divergences between Northwest Europe and the rest of Europe, and between Europe and the rest of the world, implies considerable challenges, both in terms of quantification and analysis. In terms of quantification, the major European challenges are to be found in the pre-1800 period, although much work remains to be done in quantifying post-1800 performance elsewhere. HI-POD teams will be explicitly exploring the “relations between world regions and the factors shaping different development paths in a historical perspective” (Area 8.4.1). They will be explicitly focussing on the experiences of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and will be drawing not only upon European-based scholars but on a Latin American partner to this end (Activity 8.4). In terms of the specific topic addressed, “SSH-2007-4.1.2″, the project will focus explicitly on the way in which “development processes have and are being affected by relations between world regions and countries”, and on the links between uneven development and such relationships. The project will indeed look at whether and how uneven development is linked to such relations, both past and present; at “the extent to which historical relationships such as colonial and post-colonial relations affect today’s development paths”; at “the role of urbanisation”; and at “gender and development relations”, to which we will be devoting an entire work package.
By bringing together researchers who publish in top international journals and have them focus on such an important topic as patterns of development and under-development in historical and comparative perspective, one can be confident that the project will generate a flow of research that will extend the frontier of scientific knowledge. Building a team with experts from across Europe and drawing also on Latin American expertise is key in this respect, given that such diversified knowledge cannot be found in any single country.
The ambition of the project goes however beyond pure academic research: it aims at having an impact in the policy arena, given that it addresses very topical issues. Interest can indeed be expected from within policy circles (development ministries and international development organisations) as well as the knowledge-producing sector (universities and research institutes, private research institutions).
The consortium includes 6 ‘physical’ teams, of which five are based in Europe and one in Latin America, as well as CEPR, a ‘virtual’ network of economists based in Europe and other parts of the world.