Juan Ocampo

Doctoral student

Personal profile


Juan Ocampo is a doctoral candidate at Lund University with studies in engineering and social sciences; currently, he is studying the engineering of complementary currencies to fight against poverty.

3 billion people are considered poor. This is an alarming problem and while there are solutions coming from the market logic (e.g. micro-credit and mobile money) these have not solved the problem. Coming from diverse economic perspectives, complementary currencies solve a community's lack of access to money.  Complementary currencies are participatory financial innovations that facilitate the payment of obligations and contributions of the members of a community. While current literature focuses on the classification and ex-post analysis of the economic impact of complementary currencies, more needs to be known about the introduction of complementary currencies as poverty alleviation tools. Informed by theories about the constitution of money and using methods from the field of socio-materiality, I follow an action research project introducing a complementary currency in a community of merchants in Kisumu, Kenya and theorize about the governance over the payment technology, the introduction of external ideas in the design of money, and the influence of the monetary design in the relations amongst the participants of the complementary currency project. I conclude that in the creation of money, it is important to discuss who is in control and for whom the currency is designed, the importance of being aware of the means to achieve the goal of introducing diverse ideas on money, and what it means to let users participate in the creation of a currency.

The aim of my research is twofold. First, to further develop the field of studies researching the governance and design of complementary currencies as a tool against poverty. Second, I want to equip policymakers and practitioners with insights on the challenges, risks, and opportunities of creating and maintaining complementary currencies for financial inclusion and socio-economic well-being while allowing local people to speak on matters of their concern.

He is affiliated with LU Agenda 2030 Graduate School and Lund School of Economics and Management. 


Aware of the importance of outreach in academia I am constantly developing and participating in events and activities that bring attention to topics of my interests.

I have moderated different panels on Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Development in collaboration with different actors in Sweden, and coordinated seminars on Computer Modeling and Qualitative methods for the European Association of Social Simulation.

I also post regularly on the Agenda 2030 Graduate School blog

Creativity is key in my research, so I am continuously looking for different ways of developing content based on research. For example, I have produced a short movie on socio-economic realities, developed educative material on community currencies, and have been invited to present my research at different popular science events (e.g. Forskar Grand Prix 2021)


I have teaching interests in social innovation and technology to fight against poverty

Professional work

Juan began his professional career as an engineer in project development and sales and later moved to the multilateral sector as a consultant for the World Bank in Latin America. After completing his Master's in Social Engineering, he worked as an advisor for the Vice-Minister of Public Administration in Colombia. In 2017, Juan moved to Denmark to carry out his studies in innovation and entrepreneurship and in 2019, moved to Sweden to begin his doctoral education in social innovation. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Economics

Free keywords

  • Digital Financial Inclusion
  • Complementary Currencies
  • Social Innovation
  • Science and Technology Studies

Collaborations the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or