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Meet Our Faculty: Prof. Nicolo LUDOVICE

Presenting the third edition of our "Meet Our Faculty" series!


Let's go through the remarkable research journey, vision on social impact, and an interesting fact about Prof. Nicolo LUDOVICE (Research Assistant Professor, Division of Public Policy).

Could you tell us more about you? 

As a historian from the Philippines specializing in environmental health, science and technology, and food, I find HKUST's interdisciplinary approach deeply compelling. By valuing historical analysis alongside explorations of science and society, HKUST creates opportunities for meaningful inquiry into policy and the public good. My current research into green technology assessments and transition policies draws on this integrative environment, weaving together historical perspectives with contemporary policy implications. I aspire for my scholarship to elucidate past developments in order to inform wise innovations for the future. HKUST enables this vision, providing an ideal setting for historiographical study that bridges to present problems and future possibilities. 


What inspired you to specialize in this line of research?

Rather than neutral topics, "science," "health," and "environment" emerge as profoundly political battlegrounds upon closer inspection. Many assume these subjects exist outside the fray of partisan debate; however, the frequent contestations around these concepts at all levels of society reveal their politicized nature. My interest stems from tracing how the meanings, applications, and governance of science, health, and environment have been negotiated and renegotiated over time. Far from fixed or universal, these categories shift across history as different groups compete to define them based on divergent priorities and agendas. Examining these conceptual clashes promises to illuminate not only the politics shaping science, health, and environment, but also the ways that these fields, in turn, reshape politics itself. What may first appear apolitical becomes deeply political under historical analysis. 


What impact do you want your work to have on society?

I aspire to bridge past and present by embedding historical knowledge with public policy analysis. I believe that policy rooted in historical knowledge allows for a well-informed present - avoiding the pitfalls of reinventing the wheel or repeating past mistakes. Anchoring policy decisions in history can provide a critical vantage point, helping us transcend the biases inherent in the present moment while still making room for innovative solutions. Grounding policy in historical understanding promises to yield decisions that are prudent yet creative, benefiting from the wisdom of the past while remaining open to fresh ideas for the future. 


Do you have any advice for students interested in your research area?  

Delving into the histories of daily life offers unexpected insights that illuminate the present. On the surface, the mundane past may seem disconnected from current affairs. Yet tracing how people lived, worked, and made sense of their world in bygone eras reveals uncanny linkages that persist over time. When we tune into these overlooked experiences across history, familiar aspects of modern life suddenly appear in a new light. Our present realities echo with remnants of forgotten struggles, subtle influences, and small acts that rippled over decades or centuries. By excavating these hidden histories of the everyday, we better understand the continuity and change that underpins today. We may be surprised to find our present lives interwoven with intricate, surprising threads that stretch across the years, revealing the lingering imprints left by those who walked before us. The past, it turns out, is not really past at all. 


Could you share a fun fact about you? 

When I'm not immersed in writing, you might find me blissfully baking away in my own kitchen, or roaming the streets of Hong Kong on a passionate hunt for the city's finest char siu pork and bo luo bau.