Dr Igor Calzada

Senior Research Affiliate and Policy Adviser at the Urban Transformations ESRC Programme and Future of Cities Programme, School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography and Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society


Dr Igor Calzada, MBA, FeRSA, is Senior Research Affiliate and Policy Adviser at the Urban Transformations ESRC Programme and Future of Cities Programme, School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography (SAME) and Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS). He is currently also collaborator in the Department of Politics & International Relations (DPIR).

The holder of an MBA from the University of Deusto, Dr Calzada is a senior researcher working in the field of digital, urban, and political transformations joining the University of Oxford in 2012 and leading various research projects funded by H2020, Marie Curie, RSA, and Ikerbasque.

His most recent book Smart City Citizenship (Elsevier, 2021) focuses on the present and future techno-political post-COVID-19 challenges for citizenship (including surveillance capitalism and vaccine passports) in AI and data-driven global people-centred smart city-regions by paying particular attention to platform and data co-operatives from the social innovation and foundational economy perspectives as a way to revert these risks. Broadly, his main research interest revolves around how digital transformation processes driven by AI disruptions in the post-GDPR current context are altering techno-political and democratic conditions of data governance models for the emergence of new algorithmic citizenship regimes in (smart) cities, regions, and nations in the UK and Europe.

At present, he is a Research Fellow at Cardiff University, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD) funded by the ESRC working on emerging citizenship regimes. In addition, and more recently (2019-2021), he has been Senior Scientist at the European Commission, DG JRC, Digital Economy Unit and Centre for Advanced Studies, in Italy, working on Digital Transformations, Digital Rights, Platform and Data Co-operatives, and AI. He also serves as Senior Adviser in Digital Transformation in Urban Areas for UN-Habitat’s People-Centred Smart Cities Flagship Programme. He is Fellow at the Regional Studies Association (RSA).

Over the last 20 years, he has worked in several HEIs: University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK), Vrije Universiteit in Brussels (BE), Aston University in Birmingham (UK), University of Nevada (USA), Ikerbasque, University of the Basque Country, Deusto University, and Mondragon University (Spain).

Outside academia, he was director in the Basque regional government in the public and in the private sector at Mondragon Co-operative Corporation.

He is the first or corresponding author in 33 out of a total of 36 peer-reviewed journal articles and he has authored/co-edited 10 books, 15 book chapters and 27 policy reports. See a full list of publications here.

Total citation by Google Scholar: 1897 citations, h-index 18, i10-index 29.


  • Techno-political studies: Post Pandemic Society, Hyperconnected Societies, Privacy, Ethics, Vaccine Passports, Surveillance Capitalism, Techno-politics of Data, Data Devolution, Blockchain, Big Data...
  • Techno-political studies cont: Artificial Intelligence, Frontier Technologies, Dataism, and Data Ecosystems.
  • Citizenship Studies: New Emerging Citizenship Regimes, Pandemic Citizenship, Algorithmic Nations, Technological Sovereignty, and Digital Rights.
  • Political Studies: Devolution, Politics, Secessionism, Independentism, Political Regionalism, Self-Determination, Referenda, Basque Country, Catalonia, Scotland, Right to Decide, Nationalism...
  • Political Studies cont: Bottom-Up Grassroots Social Movements, and Democratic Legitimacy.
  • Social Innovation Studies: Digital Economy, Platform Economy, Gig Economy, Platform and Data Co-operatives, Action Research, and Foundational Economy.
  • Regional and Urban Studies: Future of Cities, Urban Transformations, Smart Cities, Smart Citizens, City-to-City Learning, Living Labs, Experimental Cities, and Urban Laboratories, Metropolitanisation.

Media experience

Dr Calzada has experience of working with regional and national media, in particular as a media collaborator in Spanish/Basque published media (newspaper and TV) by covering digital and algorithmic disruption issues, Brexit, COVID-19 aftermath, and politics in the UK: EiTB Basque public TV, Spanish TV (RTVE), Berria and .EUS domain, among others.


English, Spanish and Basque