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19 July 2022

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou awarded British Academy mid-career Fellowship

The Dickson Poon School of Law is delighted to announce Dr Dionysia Katelouzou, Reader in Corporate Law, has been awarded a prestigious British Academy mid-career Fellowship to support her research on investor stewardship, stakeholder activism and sustainability, especially from a socio-legal perspective.

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou presenting at a recent conference
Dr Dionysia Katelouzou's mid-career fellowship project: 'The Varieties of Investor Stewardship: Rhetoric Versus Reality’ was awarded the highest possible funding amount by the British Academy.

British Academy mid-career Fellowships are awarded to leading academics for distinction in their careers, who have already established a significant track record as an excellent communicator and ‘champion’ in their field. To be eligible, mid-career Fellows are required to demonstrate a commitment to public engagement and to communicate their project to a broad audience.

The funding will allow Dr Katelouzou to analytically examine how stewardship is exercised and collect data on the voting patterns and activist engagements of the investors-signatories to the UK Stewardship Code 2020 - an important part of the project which will test whether institutional investors in the UK “walk the stewardship talk”.

Dionysia leads the eco-supported Global Shareholder Stewardship project, a research group aiming to bring together academics from around the world to share experiences, enhance dialogue, disseminate good practice, guide scholarship, and shape future stewardship policy through evidence-based recommendations. The group consists of more than 100 academic and non-academic members from across 24 countries around the world.

She explains how she felt when she received the news that she had been awarded the British Academy fellowship, one of only 38 recipients in this year’s round.

“I was stunned! I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, because winning this Fellowship is a testament to a lot of hard work and time spent on smaller research projects over the past years. Winning this Fellowship is a great honour and I aim to use it to create an avenue for this research to have a substantial impact on the UK market for investor stewardship.”

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou

Her Fellowship submission: ‘The Varieties of Investor Stewardship: Rhetoric Versus Reality’ delves into how the Covid-19 pandemic made people more attentive to devastating global problems, including: social inequality, access to healthcare, poverty, climate change and biodiversity loss, and hastened a trend already underway in business circles. She uncovers how the pandemic, and the response to it, amplified the importance of companies’ social responsibility, elevated institutional investors’ focus on environmental and social issues and raised the expectations regarding diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI).

As Dionysia explains, the stakes are high for institutional investors and their beneficiaries, the companies and assets they invest in and their stakeholders, and the society at large.

“At the same time, the expectations and demands of investors’ clients and other societal actors are shaped by increasing uncertainties, such as pandemic-related risks, climate change and other systematic risks, and geo-political risks associated with conflicts between or among nations. How institutional investors manage those uncertainties and risks is important, not only because they “own” more than half the issued stock and over £1,500 billion of assets in the UK but also because they represent the savings of millions of people. Creating long-term value for society is linked to increasing the value of assets for beneficiaries.”

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou

The Fellowship award comes off the back of a busy year for Dionysia. Her second stewardship conference – Investor Stewardship in an Uncertain World, took place on 27 May. The full day conference bought together regulators, academics and practitioners to discuss challenges to the effective implementation of investor stewardship in times of uncertainty and how to plan for the future.

And at the conference, Dr Katelouzou launched her new book Global Shareholder Stewardship, which she co-edited with Professor Dan Puchniak of the Singapore Management University. The book was created following conversations and collaborations first established at our inaugural conference in 2019 and provides a comprehensive understanding of global shareholder stewardship. It includes an in-depth chapter on every jurisdiction which has adopted a stewardship code and an analysis of stewardship in the world’s two largest economies which have yet to adopt a code.

In this story

Dionysia Katelouzou

Reader in Corporate Law