Books and Projects


The Maritime Silk Road is the least studied component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It is also the most cited element in the ‘security threat’ literature. This work examines what is really happening along the Asia-Europe sea routes and the extent to which China deviates from the general pattern of development.
‘Illuminating and deeply researched, avoiding both hyperbole and demonization, the Maritime Silk Road offers a detailed and balanced perspective on China’s major and growing role in global maritime trade.’ Prof. Charles K. Armstrong, Professor of History, Colombia University, USA.

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May 2019

Announced in 2013 China’s Belt and Road attracted both admiration and approbation. But who has actually been building the ‘road’? This book examines the debate around the BRI and the development of the roads, railways and pipelines that lie between China and Europe.

‘A really deep, engaging, critical and challenging book’ Prof. Alexey Maslov, Moscow Higher School of Economics

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May 2017

This is one of the first books in the English language to analyse the background of China’s Belt and Road initiative. It traces the developments along the five land corridors identified in the Vision and Action Plan of 2015 as well as the implications of the maritime silk road.

“…the most academically valuable research by a Western scholar” Professor Xinning Song, Renmin University, Beijing

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This edited volume examines the dangers that infrastructural development in Eurasia, from whatever source, holds for the diversity, and even the survival, of different species. It also suggests means for mitigating these consequences. Thematic chapters explore roads and railways, thermal power stations, dams and hydro-power, wind and solar power, ports and coasts and the exploitation of the Arctic. These chapters are intertwined with case-studies of individual species.

Economists and Social Scientists rarely pause to consider the ecological implications of infrastructure and development. This volume shows why that matters.


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the deepest and closest of the bilateral Belt and Road relationships that China has initiated. Having produced impressive early results, and having survived a change in Pakistan’s leadership, it is now entering a second, more complex and more diversified phase.

This research project examines the societal impact of these changes. The project is being conducted by IIAS Research Assistant Gul-i-Hina Shahzad in the context of her PhD research in Milan. 


This project examines courtyard architecture in 10 countries in Eurasia in order to provide greater insights on the variety of the use and benefits of courtyards in different settings.

Past research findings show that courtyard houses are ienvironmentally friendly and energy efficient, and that they create healthier and happier communities than other housing forms. The research is led by Dr Donia Zhang (Director of the Neoland School of Chinese Culture, Ontario, Canada)


GRIP-ARM is a five-year research programme (2021-2026) funded by the European Research Council. It aims to examine the changing global value chains of rare earths mining and the consequences for resource-led industrialization, global supply risks, and the emerging strategies of resource consuming firms and countries. 

GRIP-ARM will break new grounds in the study of political economy, natural resource politics, and sustainable development. The principal investigator is Dr. Jojo T. Nem Singh, Details of the project can be found here:


Nowadays there is scarcely a regional organisation that does not have its own connectivity index. These often employ and dubious proxy data and then combine different series, each with its own bias and error factor, into one all-encompassing composite index. 

This project seeks to establish responsible indicators that make explicit their limitations but that, nevertheless, show the extent to which countries in Asia and Europe are growing closer together.