Personal profile

Contact Details

Room: NW817
Phone:  0121 204 3299
Email:  [email protected] 
Office Hours:  Please book on Wass


I am a political economist with a keen interest in foreign aid. Most of my research examines various aspects of how donor countries make decisions regarding their foreign aid, and how these decisions impact aid effectiveness. Much of this research has focused on emerging donors of aid, especially the Central and Eastern EU member states, but I have also worked on topics linked to the EU’s and the UK’s foreign aid policy. More recently, my research has focused on the role civil society organisations play in influencing official foreign aid policies.

I am also interested in global production and foreign direct investments, especially focusing on issues like national competitiveness, the developmental impacts of integration in global value chains, and how states interact with multinational companies. 

I completed my PhD at the Institute of World Economy at Corvinus University Budapest in 2010, and I also worked there after graduating. I was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Leeds between 2012 and 2013, and a visiting faculty member at the School of Political Science at the University of Bologna between 2013 and 2015.

I joined Aston University in 2014, where I am currently a Reader in Politics. Between 2018 and 2021, I served as head of the Politics and International Relations Department. Between 2021 and 2023 I was seconded to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as an ESRC-funded research fellow. Since 2023, I serve as the Associate Dean for Research for the Aston Law School and the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Teaching Activity

Undergraduate Modules

  • LP3121 Politics of Development

Postgraduate Modules 

  • LPM036 International Political Economy


  • PhD (Corvinus University Budapest)
  • Combined BA & MA in Economics and International Relations (Budapest University of Economic Sciences)

Research Interests

  • Foreign aid policies in emerging donors 
  • European development NGOs and advocacy 
  • Multinational companies and the state
  • Politics and political economy in Central and Eastern Europe

Funding Applications and Awards

  • AHRC-ESRC FCDO Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, 2021-2023.
  • Brexit and the V4: Potential impacts, interests, and perceptions. International Visegrad Fund Standard Grant, 2017-2018.
  • International Development Cooperation: Experience and knowledge exchange, learning curricula development for Far Eastern Russian academics. The World Bank, 2016.
  • National Excellence Fellowship (Hungary), 2014. 
  • International Development Policies of the New Member States. EU FP7 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, 2012-2013. 
  • Assessment of existing practices in capacity building and experience sharing for new donors. The World Bank, 2012.

PhD Supervision

Balazs is interested in supervising PhDs on the following topics:

  • International development and foreign aid 
  • The political economy of multinational companies and foreign direct investment
  • Political economy in Central and Eastern Europe

Administrative Roles

Aston Centre for Europe, deputy co-director


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