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Dr João Nunes
Senior Lecturer (International Relations)



João Nunes joined the Department in September 2014. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick. He received his PhD and MSc from Aberystwyth University, and his first degree from the New University of Lisbon. He has held visiting positions at the Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development and the University of São Paulo.

His research on global health and Brazil’s health system has been featured in the University of York’s research pages and is also an impact case-study.

João is working on a new research and impact project in partnership with quilombola social movements in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Quilombolas are descendants of Africans who escaped captivity and enslavement, forming separate communities with complex relations with the rest of Brazilian society. The project considers the health of quilombola communities and its connection with conflicts over land. Please see below the video of a March 2022 field trip.





João’s areas of interest are:

  • Global health: health security; neglected diseases and populations; community health workers; planetary health; history of medicine and of international health.
  • Brazil: Brazilian politics; health system and health policy; quilombola communities.
  • Security: security as emancipation; critical security studies.



João has worked on the following research projects:

  • Principal Investigator: Women's social movements and the response to Zika and microcephaly in Brazil: Addressing neglect through community-centred approaches, funded by a British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links
  • Principal Investigator: Developing the capacity and enhancing the public health impact of community health workers in Brazil, funded by the University of York’s ESRC Impact Accelerator Account.
  • Principal Investigator: Community Health Workers in Brazil and the Movement for Universal Health Coverage, funded by the Wellcome Trust.
  • Principal Investigator: Neglected Diseases: Addressing the Limits of the International Politics of Health, initially funded by The Leverhulme Trust.
  • UK Principal Investigator: Compulsory Licensing of Anti-retrovirals in Brazil: Lessons for Global Health Governance, funded by the British Academy Newton Fund.
  • Principal Investigator: Rethinking Emancipation in Critical Security Studies, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
  • Co-investigator: The Brazilian Discourse of Food Security and the Remaking of World Politics.




Other teaching


João is interested in hearing from prospective PhD Candidates wishing to work in the following topics:

  • Global health;
  • Health security;
  • Community health workers;
  • Critical security studies;
  • Brazilian politics (including Brazil’s health policy). 

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact João before applying to the programme. Further information about the Department of Politics PhD programme can be found here.


Contact details

João Nunes
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322322

Feedback and Guidance hours, Semester 1: Mondays 14:00-15:00 and Tuesdays 15:00-16:00