Meet the team

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Principal Investigator


Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

Andreza is the director of the Brazilian Studies Programme and Lecturer at the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford. Her research is concerned with the intersections and dynamics between formal and informal political and economic systems in Brazilian cities. Andreza is particularly interested in employment, migration, and health policies in mining towns in Brazil. Given her interests in local governance and informalities, Andreza is currently looking at sub-national responses to the pandemic in Brazil and has examined the impact of inequality in health policies. Her work has featured in Journals such as Nature Human Behaviour, Science, The Lancet, Ethnography, and others. She is the author or editor of three books focusing on cities in the global south. 

Previously, Andreza worked at the School of Anthropology, also at Oxford, where she is still involved in teaching on urban ethnographic methods. She completed her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, Masters in Social Sciences at the University of Freiburg, University of KwaZulu Natal and Jawaharlal Nehru University; and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Brasilia.


For publications and academic background please check her webpage.

Twitter: @Andreza_Aruska


Professor Ana Elisabete de Almeida Medeiros is an Architect and Urban Planner and professor at the University of Brasilia. With a research project funded by FAPDF – Federal District Research Support Foundation, she was a visiting academic at the LAC - Latin American Centre, University of Oxford (2019-2020), where she conducted a research project exploring issues situated in the intersection of cultural heritage policies, city diplomacy and social participation in an age of urban governance. She has a postdoctoral position in Urbanism from the PACTE Laboratory - IUG / IGEA of UPMF, in Grenoble (2008- 2009), a PhD in Sociology from the University of Brasília (2002) supported by CNPq – National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, a Master in Urbanism from the Institut d'Urbanisme de Grenoble - Université Pierre Mendès France (1997), and she graduated from the Federal University of Pernambuco (1995). 



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Nicolas Lippolis is a doctoral candidate in Politics, as well as a researcher at the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance and the Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford. He is currently also the co-convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network. His thesis research deals with the politics of industrial policy in Ethiopia and Angola. His broader interests are in development strategies, business-government relations, and the international political economy of development, with a regional focus on Africa and Latin America.

Before starting the DPhil, Nicolas was based at the Blavatnik School of Government, where he was part of the project on “Rethinking African Paths to Industrial Development” and collaborated with the “Brazil Rising” initiative, hosted by BSG and the Lemann Foundation, for reforming the Brazilian public sector. He has also worked on research and policy projects with the World Bank and the International Growth Centre.

Nicolas holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and an MSc in Economics for Development, both from Oxford University. Prior to joining the Blavatnik School, he worked on macroeconomic research at Goldman Sachs in London.


Twitter: @nicolaslippolis


Sabrina Li is a final year doctoral candidate in the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Oxford. Her thesis focuses on investigating the contributions of human-environment dynamics on infectious disease risk in Brazil. She is particularly interested in investigating research problems at the intersection of environmental change and health inequalities using spatial analysis. Sabrina is a member of CADDE (Brazil-UK Centre for Arbovirus Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics and Epidemiology) and the Oxford Martin School Programme on Pandemic Genomics. She holds a BASc in Environmental Engineering, and a MSc in Geography, both from the University of Waterloo. 


Twitter: @sabrinalyli

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Barbara Abrahao

I am a DPhil candidate in Area Studies at the University of Oxford. My research and academic interest focuses on environmental politics in relation to “natural capital” and grassroots movements in Latin America. My DPhil examines the social, political and economical processes entailed by green capitalism, relying on the assumption that they are linked to global exploitation of regions marked by history of poverty, vulnerability and territory labelled as “unproductive”. I give special attention to processes in which nature is priced through ecosystem services, their effects on the categories of labour, and how it reverberates in subjects and political mobilizations in Brazil. I hope that this research will also contribute to debates on post-extractivism societies and new facades of more-than-human politics.

Before joining Oxford, I undertook my bachelor degree at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of São Paulo (2013-2017), my masters at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2018-2019) and had work experiences in international institutions and human rights issues.


Luiza Ceruti is a senior undergraduate Architecture and Urbanism student at the University of Brasília (UnB). She is primarily interested in the areas of cultural heritage, as well as conservationism and architectural history. Luiza has volunteered in several events focused on culture and education, such as the Amplifica Google Seminar (2016, AMPL, Brazil) and the 1st Scenography Week at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU-UnB, 2017). During her internship at the Communication and Culture Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contributed with the design of the exhibition "Fayga - Entre Cores e Transparências" (Fayga: Between colour and translucence), curated by Maria Luisa Távora. She is currently working as an intern at CoDA Architects in Brasília and is a member of the Heritage Committee at the Architecture and Urbanism Council of the Federal District (CAU/DF). 


Antônio Fernando Costa Pella is a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Economics at the Catholic University of Brasilia. His research interests involve international trade, microeconometrics and data science.


Mariana Maia is an Architecture and Urbanism student at the University of Brasilia (Brasilia - Brazil). Her interests are in academic research focused on social participation in urban governance, ethnology, cultural heritage and public management policies. Currently participating on one of the fronts of this research project “Heritage city timing and scales - the case of one company towns” with Professor Ana Elisabete Medeiros. Mariana has been granted the CNPQ Scientific Initiation Incentive Scholarship to support her research.
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Dr. Lizandro Lui is Professor at the Pos-Graduate Program in Public Policy and Government at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-Brasília, Brazil). He's Doctor in Sociology and his research interests involve federalism, local government, implementation and management of public policies.


Dr Ben Coles

Ben is a broadly trained economic and political geographer and lecturer in the School of Geography, Geology and Environment at the University of Leicester. He has two main research foci. The first pertains to resource ‘nexuses’, such as that of food, water and energy, and the ways in which they interconnect human and non-human ecologies. Working primarily in Brazil, Ben is particularly interested in theorising the spatiality of such nexuses, and tracing out their unexpected, and often obfuscated connections and interrelations. He is currently examining the knock-on effects of water management and decision making in São Paulo state, and their reverberations across the country vis-a-vis resource  infrastructures, and market devices. The second considers the conceptual role of ‘nexus’ as a way to interrogate the Anthropocene, and using what he terms ‘critical nexus thinking’ to articulate the moral, ethical and material geographies that underlie its reproduction – focused in particular on Brazil’s commodity boom in the Eastern and Southern Amazon.

Previously Ben worked on the role that marketplaces, as discrete spatial entities, play in reproducing urban economies, as well as economies a range of other scales. He completed his PhD in Geography at the University of London (Royal Holloway), and his Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Geography at the University of Kansas.





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Dr Claudia Martins 

Cláudia is an Agronomic Engineer and researcher at the Center for Ecology and Environmental Monitoring in the Federal University of São Francisco Valley, Petrolina, PE, Brazil (NEMA/Univasf). Works currently as an expert in socio-environmental conflicts in protected areas (PA) (full protection and sustainable use) established for the protection of threatened with extinction charismatic species of Brazilian wildlife. Acts specially in PAs with ongoing ecological restoration projects.

Cláudia is also a researcher at the Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores (IPC), focused in human-jaguar-and-puma coexistence in Brazilian Northeastern semiarid.

Claudia is particularly interested in the human dimensions of people and nature interactions, towards the conciliation of wildlife management and conservation with human development. Her broader interests include ethics and governance related to new ways of land use and territory management in regions with communities strongly dependent of natural resources for their traditional livelihoods.

She completed her Doctor of Science and Master of Science in Applied Ecology, both in the University of São Paulo, in the "Luiz de Queiroz" College of Agriculture, and her undergraduate in the University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture.


For publications and academic background kindly check


Dr Nicholas Pope

Nicholas researches armed groups and their relationships with security and governance arrangements, civil society, the environment and climate, and illicit flows and development policy. He works with mixed research methods, including ethnography, investigative journalism, oral histories (with a focus on participatory, decolonised, and collaborative approaches), as well as surveys and archival research. Nicholas has conducted research on a variety of topics, including police militias and corruption in Rio de Janeiro, armed groups in the Amazon rainforest, and police corruption in Afghanistan. He is currently researching the social, political, economic and ecological effects of the green transition for the mining of ‘strategic minerals’ in Brazil.

Nicholas holds a PhD and Masters in Development Studies from SOAS University of London, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Warwick, and has held postdoctoral positions funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Economic and Social Research Council at SOAS University of London and King’s College London, respectively.




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Brenno Navarro

I am a graduate student in economics at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) and a research assistant at the University of Oxford. My professional and study topics are areas related to the study of the Brazilian economy, macroeconomics, marketing, international relations, and financial market.




Max Nathanson

Max currently serves as Economic Development Advisor at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, focusing on the future of work and just energy transitions. He is also Founder and Managing Director of the Oxford Urbanists, a global social enterprise. He previously spent two years as Global Business Development Manager for Colorado Governor Jared Polis, where he led economic development and foreign policy initiatives and directed the Colorado Mask Project as a member of the Governor's COVID-19 Innovation Response Team. He holds a master's degree in Development Studies from Oxford and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado.


Twitter: @MaxNathansonCO

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Stakeholder Partner


Giane Boselli holds a MSc in Social Sciences and two BAs in Law and Social Sciences (UNESP|Brazil). She has developed a career of more than 10 years in the management of international cooperation projects, mainly with local governments. She is currently working as a Project Manager for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-Brazil Country Office), developing a large project about Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals in 116 Brazilian towns affected by the oil and gas chain, with support from Petrobras. She has also worked for UN Women Brazil and Southern Cone, developing international cooperation projects related to SDG 5 with several countries in Latin America. She has also been a Research Analyst at the National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM), being part of the Technical Studies Area and developing studies on local public policies and impacts of federal programs on local governments. Her broader interests are in developing strategies to provide sustainable development and gender equality in Latin American countries, mainly in municipalities affected by oil exploration activities.


Stakeholder Partner


Eduardo Stranz

He has worked for more than 20 years at the National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM) in Brazil, one of the largest organizations in the world representing local governments. Currently, he works as a Senior Advisor to the CNM board, and served for many years as the coordinator of the Technical Studies Area, leading research on municipal public policies and finances. He also leads projects developed by CNM related to the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals among the 5,568 Brazilian municipalities. He was one of the leading authors of "Mandala ODS” (SDG Mandala), an application available to municipal public managers and society that makes possible to diagnose, monitor and evaluate the performance of Brazilian Municipalities indicators regarding the level of reach of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).


Twitter: @EStranz




Research collaborators:

Professor Nuno Faria, University of Oxford and Imperial College.


Twitter: @nmrfaria