Originally from Dublin, I am currently Associate Professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London. My group focuses on studying the processes underlying economic development and the emergence of complexity for cities, often using tools from graph theory and network science.
I was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford where I established a new group working at the interface of mathematics, data science and development/urban issues. I developed a new course primarily for undergraduate and masters level mathematics students entitled ‘Mathematics and Data Science for Development‘. I am also founder of the Oxford Summer School on Economic Networks.
Before this I was a Fulbright Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for International Development (CID) at the Harvard Kennedy School (2013-16). During my time at CID I worked on a wide range on topics and projects. These included studies on the relationship between rates of labour informality and city size, quantifying the relative impact of agglomeration effects (Marshallian channels) on individual industries, and international trade patterns. At the frontier of evidence-based data-driven policy tools, I was also extensively involved in development of the Colombian and Mexican Atlas’. These web-based modelling tools enable policy-makers to visualise the industrial or economic structure of a city or region, and explore future diversification opportunities.
I completed my PhD (mathematics) at Imperial College in 2013 where I focused on the intersection between network structure or topology, and dynamics. In particular, I explored the properties of a combinatoric graph partition, the External Equitable Partition, and it’s connection to Laplacian dynamics (from consensus to non-linear oscillators and synchronisation phenomenon) and invariance. Further work focused on the fast decentralised solution of large linear systems (akin to Google’s PageRank).
I am also founder and Editor in Chief of Angle – a journal based at Imperial College focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and science – since 2009. Lead by an editorial team of approx. 10 young academics and professionals, Angle aims to enable both scientists and policy-makers to share their unique perspective on today’s most pressing global challenges.