Public service provision and competition law in ASEAN countries.

Andrea Gideon is currently a visiting postdoctoral research fellow at the National University of Singapore. Her project is co-funded by the Centre for Law and Business, National University of Singapore and the Competition Commission Singapore. She is investigating the applicability of competition law to public services with a specific focus on healthcare.

Higher Education Institutions under EU law constraints

Andrea Gideon has investigated the applicability of EU law to the higher education sector and the potential consequences during her PhD and is continuing work on this topic. The PhD has specifically focused on competition law and the research aspect in universities. More recently, she has worked on the applicability of public procurement law to English universities (with Dr Albert Sanchez Graells, University of Bristol) and global implications of the EU's activities in the area of research and education (with Dr Meng-Hsuan Chou, Nanyang Technological University Singapore).

The Regulation of Commodities in International Law

Gregory Messenger is researching the regulation of commodities as a class of good at the WTO and beyond. Commodities play as a central and overlooked role in the structure of international trade at both a practical and theoretical level. The legal definition of commodities is unclear and their regulation the subject of considerable debate. This project seeks to disentangle different approaches to commodities and draw attention to their specific nature as a distinct class of good.

Marie Curie Project – Anchoring the Consumer: Legitimacy and Accountability in Competition Law

The international financial crisis exacerbated the European Union’s already notorious democratic deficit: according to the Eurobarometer 57 per cent of citizens trusted the Union before 2008, whereas this figure reduced to 31 per cent in 2013. This citizen distrust increasingly jeopardises the objective of ‘creating an ever closer Union between the peoples of Europe’. Under the shadow of the economic crisis, one strategy appears particularly likely to improve the Union’s deteriorating image: anchoring citizens to Union policies that affect their lives substantially and positively. In the light of this premise, the current reforms of European competition rules appear problematic: the reforms oriented the competition rules towards a neo-liberal economic approach with only limited contribution of the consumers and organisations representing them to the reform process.

In the context of this project, the lead researcher Dr Firat Cengiz looks into the role consumers play in the making of competition policies in the EU. The tensions raised by the international financial crisis provide the main narrative of the project. The project is financed by the European Commission’s Marie Curie Career Integration Grants (worth £100,000 project number FP7–334322). In addition to comparative methodology, the project relies on interdisciplinary methods: the political science literature and political theory of accountability and legitimacy provide the project’s main framework. In this sense, the project connects competition law to the general debate on governance and democracy. The project also relies on empirical methods in its analysis of the role played by civil society and the European Parliament in the making of competition policy. The project commenced on 1 November 2013 and will last until November 2017. It will result in the publication of scholarly as well as popular publications.  Each year a Marie Curie workshop is organised in Liverpool under the sponsorship of the project. The first of such workshops took place on 13 June 2014 with the theme 'Post-Financial Crisis Governance in Europe: Legitimacy, Democracy and Competition' leading to a fruitful discussion and reflection among the participants. 

ESRC Project – Food Marketing Regulation and Childhood Obesity Prevention

Food marketing has been associated with growing rates of obesity, a problem which has taken ‘pandemic’ proportions worldwide and entails heavy social and economic costs. This project aims to achieve a better understanding of the need and constraints involved in regulating food marketing to children as part of effective obesity prevention policies worldwide, and in the UK more specifically. This project has looked into this relationship with the sponsorship of an Economic and Social Research Council research grant (worth £98,745, project number ES/J020761/1). The researcher in charge, Prof. Amandine Garde, spent five months at the World Health Organisation in Geneva to help selected states from across the world identify potential barriers to the development and implementation of policies on food marketing to children and find potential solutions. The project also resulted in the organisation of a one-day conference in London, which focused on what the UK should do to fully comply with the WHO Recommendations on food marketing to children. The Project will conclude with the publication of a monograph intended, first, to capture existing knowledge on food marketing to children and, secondly, to replace practical concerns within a broader theoretical framework to bridge the gap existing in this area between academia and practice.

The project has already resulted in several follow-up research and impact activities: Prof Amandine Garde is a member to the Ad Hoc Working Group assisting the recently set up World Health Organisation Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. More information can be found at:

Working further on obesity prevention, Prof. Garde is collaborating with several civil society organisations working in the field in France and she has also been asked by the World Health Organisation to do research in the Middle East. She is writing a report for civil society organisations on the subject of the plain tobacco packaging in the UK which will come up and which be publicised here shortly.