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Cardiff University professor first to receive a lifetime scholarship award from three societies of criminology

12 October 2022

Professor Mike Levi standing outside the Glamorgan building at CArdiff University

A professor from Cardiff University has received the lifetime scholarship award from the European Society of Criminology (ESC), adding to equivalent prizes from American and British societies of criminology.

School of Social Sciences’ Professor Mike Levi received his most recent lifetime scholarship award after counterpart awards in the United States in 2001 and 2019, and in the UK in 2019.

Professor Levi was nominated for the award by a professor at partner university KU Leuven in Belgium. The awarding committee comprised three past presidents of the ESC.

Professor Levi said:

This award means a lot to me. I was one of the founding members of the ESC in 2000 at a small gathering in Lausanne in Switzerland and the award is a reflection that my work has been so highly valued.
Professor Michael Levi Professor

“On a personal level, it reflects my feeling that notwithstanding Brexit, I’m still a part of Europe, and that from very humble beginnings I’ve become the first person to win lifetime scholarship prizes from the American, British and European Societies of Criminology, despite working in research areas that are quite marginal to most mainstream criminologists.”

Since the 1970s, Professor Levi has been at the forefront of academic and policy developments in white-collar and other organised crimes, and in money laundering.

His most recent work involves leading on a project at the invitation of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

‘A Public Health Approach to Fraud’ investigates what can be learned from public health approaches to violent crime reduction and applying them in a modified way to fraud.

“The aim is to consider how private and public sector resources can be reshaped to reduce the harm of frauds of different kinds, instead of focusing primarily on what the police can do better,” Professor Levi added.

The Cardiff University lecturer in criminology and policing offered advice for those considering starting out in a similar career.

“Mastery of a subject requires a lot of sustained hard work,” he said.

“Firstly, find an area in which few scholars have worked before and where you think you can make a significant improvement. Then, feel free to pursue what interests you and might interest others. Finally, a support network of family and friends, which I have, goes a long way.”

Professor Mike Levi speaking at a conference
Professor Mike Levi speaking at the 2022 European Criminology Conference (Eurocrim) in Malaga.

While teaching at Cardiff University, Professor Levi’s work continues with several projects.

A collaboration with Susanne Karstedt on the relationship between fraud, pandemics and economic crises is underway, while contributing to projects in cyber security and finishing long-promised books around economic and white-collar crime.

Over the past 20 years Professor Levi has researched the role of lawyers and other professionals in money laundering and fraud, and more recently the impact of the Ukraine invasion on the legal profession in acting for wealthy Russians, and how that interacts with anti-money laundering and sanctions.

Professor Levi concluded, “The European Society has always been a very convivial event, and I was deeply touched by the applause I received after my acceptance speech.

“I’ve always worked because I thought what was investigating was interesting and sometimes socially useful, rather than because it might bring me what passes for glory in academic life.

“I did not begin with the thought of ever winning any award. As the first higher-educated member of my family, I’d never met anyone with a PhD before I went to university. I feel fortunate indeed to have received these accolades during my 47 years at Cardiff University.”

Find out about Professor Levi and his latest work.

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