Dr Niheer Dasandi

Dr Niheer Dasandi

International Development Department
Director of Research
Senior Lecturer in Politics and Development

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Niheer Dasandi is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Development and Director of Research in IDD.

His research looks at the politics of international development, focusing in particular on the relationship between human rights and development; examining states’ foreign policy preferences in international politics; and the health dimensions of climate change. He is part of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change.

Niheer’s research draws on a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including survey data, network analysis, experiments, NLP/ text analysis, process tracing, and interviews. His current and recent research projects involve fieldwork or data collection in China, Germany, India, Myanmar, Uganda, the UK, and USA.

His research has been published in leading academic journals, and he is the author of the book, Is Democracy Failing?, published in 2018 as part of Thames & Hudson’s The Big Idea series. His research has been funded by the British Academy, ESRC, Wellcome Trust, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A complete list of Niheer’s publications and working papers is available at www.niheerdasandi.net (including links to open access versions of all published articles).


  • PhD in Political Science, University College London, 2013
  • MSc in International Public Policy, University College London, 2006
  • BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with Economics, University College London, 2005


Niheer Dasandi joined IDD in 2016 as a Birmingham Fellow. Prior to this he completed his doctorate at University College London (UCL) in 2013. He was a postdoctoral researcher with the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) at UCL between 2013 and 2016, researching the politics of development. He became a Senior Lecturer in 2020. Niheer previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 2006 and 2009.

Niheer’s research looks at the politics of international development, specifically focusing on:

  1. the relationship between human rights and development;
  2. measuring and understanding states’ foreign policy preferences in international politics; and
  3. the health dimensions of climate change. 

His research on human rights and development has included fieldwork in Myanmar and Uganda. Based on this research, he has given evidence to the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee. His research on state preferences has included producing (with Slava Jankin Mikhaylov and Alex Baturo), the UN General Debate Corpus, a dataset of countries’ speeches in the annual UN General Debate, and applying natural language processing techniques to these speeches to better understand state preferences in international politics. Niheer’s work on climate change and health has focused on understanding the politics of the climate change and health relationship. He has been part of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change since 2016, as a member of the working group on public and political engagement with the health impacts of climate change. He recently became the co-lead of the working group on politics and governance for the Lancet Countdown in Europe. 

Niheer’s research has been funded in leading academic journals, including British Journal of Political Science, Conflict Management and Peace Science, The Lancet, The Lancet Global Health, PLoS ONE, Political Studies, and New Political Economy. His research has been funded by the British Academy, ESRC, Wellcome Trust, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In 2018, Niheer was awarded a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA).


  • International Development (on campus)
  • International Development (distance learning)

Postgraduate supervision

Niheer welcomes new PhD applications in the areas of the politics of international development and aid; the links between development, democracy, and human rights; the politics and governance of the health dimensions of climate change.

Niheer is currently working with the following PhD candidates:


Research interests 

  • Politics of international development
  • Foreign policy preferences in international politics
  • Human rights and development
  • Climate change and health 

Current projects 

For further information about Niheer’s research, please visit: www.niheerdasandi.net.


Recent publications


Dasandi, N 2018, Is Democracy Failing? The Big Idea, Thames & Hudson, London. <https://thamesandhudson.com/is-democracy-failing-9780500293652>


Chelotti, N, Dasandi, N & Jankin Mikhaylov, S 2021, 'Do intergovernmental organizations have a socialization effect on member state preferences? Evidence from the UN General Debate', International Studies Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqab069

Dasandi, N, Graham, H, Lampard, P & Jankin Mikhaylov, S 2021, 'Engagement with health in national climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement: a global mixed-methods analysis of the nationally determined contributions', The Lancet Planetary Health, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. e93-e101. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30302-8

Dasandi, N, Fisher, J, Hudson, D & Vanheerde-hudson, J 2021, 'Human rights violations, political conditionality and public attitudes to foreign aid: evidence from survey experiments', Political Studies, pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321720980895

Dasandi, N, Graham, H, Lampard, P & Jankin Mikhaylov, S 2021, 'Intergovernmental engagement on health impacts of climate change', Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 99, no. 2, pp. 102-111B. https://doi.org/10.2471/BLT.20.270033

Watts, N, Amann, M, Arnell, N, Ayeb-karlsson, S, Beagley, J, Belesova, K, Boykoff, M, Byass, P, Cai, W, Campbell-lendrum, D, Capstick, S, Chambers, J, Coleman, S, Dalin, C, Daly, M, Dasandi, N, Dasgupta, S, Davies, M, Di Napoli, C, Dominguez-salas, P, Drummond, P, Dubrow, R, Ebi, KL, Eckelman, M, Ekins, P, Escobar, LE, Georgeson, L, Golder, S, Grace, D, Graham, H, Haggar, P, Hamilton, I, Hartinger, S, Hess, J, Hsu, S, Hughes, N, Jankin Mikhaylov, S, Jimenez, MP, Kelman, I, Kennard, H, Kiesewetter, G, Kinney, PL, Kjellstrom, T, Kniveton, D, Lampard, P, Lemke, B, Liu, Y, Liu, Z, Lott, M, Lowe, R, Martinez-urtaza, J, Maslin, M, Mcallister, L, Mcgushin, A, Mcmichael, C, Milner, J, Moradi-lakeh, M, Morrissey, K, Munzert, S, Murray, KA, Neville, T, Nilsson, M, Sewe, MO, Oreszczyn, T, Otto, M, Owfi, F, Pearman, O, Pencheon, D, Quinn, R, Rabbaniha, M, Robinson, E, Rocklöv, J, Romanello, M, Semenza, JC, Sherman, J, Shi, L, Springmann, M, Tabatabaei, M, Taylor, J, Triñanes, J, Shumake-guillemot, J, Vu, B, Wilkinson, P, Winning, M, Gong, P, Montgomery, H & Costello, A 2021, 'The 2020 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: responding to converging crises', The Lancet, vol. 397, no. 10269, pp. 129-170. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32290-X

Romanello, M, van Daalen, K, Antó, JM, Dasandi, N, Drummond, P, Hamilton, IG, Jankin, S, Kendrovski, V, Lowe, R, Rocklov, J, Schmoll, O, Semenza, JC, Tonne, C & Nilsson, M 2021, 'Tracking progress on health and climate change in Europe', The Lancet Public Health, vol. 6, no. 11, pp. e858-e865. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00207-3

Carmody, P, Dasandi, N & Mikhaylov, S 2020, 'Power plays and balancing acts: the paradoxical effects of Chinese trade on African foreign policy positions', Political Studies, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 224-246. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321719840962

Hudson, D, Laehn, NS, Dasandi, N & vanHeerde-Hudson, J 2019, 'Making and unmaking cosmopolitans: an experimental test of the mediating role of emotions in international development appeals', Social Science Quarterly, vol. 100, no. 3, pp. 544-564. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12587

Pomeroy, C, Dasandi, N & Jankin Mikhaylov, S 2019, 'Multiplex Communities and the Emergence of International Conflict', PLoS ONE, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal

Watts, N, Dasandi, N & Et al 2019, 'The 2019 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Ensuring the Health of a Child Born Today is Not Defined by a Changing Climate', The Lancet, vol. 394, no. 10211, pp. 1836. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32596-6

Dasandi, N & Erez, L 2019, 'The donor's dilemma: international aid and human rights violations', British Journal of Political Science, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 1431-1452. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000229

Dasandi, N, Laws, E, Marquette, H & Robinson, M 2019, 'What does the evidence tell us about ‘thinking and working politically’ in development assistance?', Politics and Governance, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 155-168. https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v7i2.1904


Beswick, D, Dasandi, N, Hudson, D & Vanheerde-hudson, J 2019, International development NGOs, representations in fundraising appeals and public attitudes in UK–Africa relations. in D Beswick, J Fisher & SR Hurt (eds), Britain and Africa in the twenty-first century: Between ambition and pragmatism. Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526134141.00020

Working paper

Burnley, J, Dasandi, N & Hudson, D 2020 'The politics of consultation in donor-led reforms: The case of Myanmar’s investment law' Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham. <https://res.cloudinary.com/dlprog/image/upload/the-politics-of-consultation-in-donor-led-reforms-the-case-of-myanmar-s-investment-law>

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