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Supervisors and Topics

PhD students in Politics & International Relations are allocated a supervisor and a co-supervisor, who will advise on the entirety of the research process, from reading and assembling ideas, to fieldwork, to analysing empirical or theoretical materials, to writing up chapters, to completing the thesis, to the viva which rounds off the process. 

Although the first supervisor is based in Politics & International Relations, the second one may be from another discipline in the School or the wider University. This decision depends wholly on your topic and the availability of supervisors.

There is a regular progress review, to discuss ideas, review progress and provide help and support where necessary. The Postgraduate Advisor in Politics & International Relations is also available to provide advice. The supervisors and the Postgraduate Advisor facilitate a supportive framework and promote an active and sustaining research culture for our PhD students.

You are encouraged to contact staff with similar interests to yours and discuss ideas prior to application.

Supervisor Topics Interested in Supervising


Lucy Abbott

Cybersecurity, IR and the Middle East, The Arab World, Regionalism, Public Sphere, Digital technologies, The Gulf States, Jordan, Process Tracing

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Jamie Allinson

Decolonisation, Historical sociology, International Relations, International theory, Marxism, Middle East Politics

I am interested in supervising PhD applicants working on Middle Eastern politics and International Relations, especially those using critical theory and historical sociology approaches.

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Hayley Bennett

Contractualism, Welfare Markets, Unemployment, Labour Market, Poverty, Welfare reform politics, Welfare-to-Work, Regionalism, Third Sector, Inequality, public service reform, Public policy, social enterprise, Devolution and social security, Social Policy

Shaun Bevan
Shaun Bevan

Agenda-Setting, Public policy, interest groups, Public Opinion, political behaviour, Time Series Analysis, Event History Analysis, Measurement

Shaun is interested in students doing UK, US and/or Comparative work on, Agenda-setting, Public Policy, Interest Groups, Political Institutions and Political Behavior, particularly related to Public Opinion. He is also interested in projects focused on using dynamic, time series data.


Andrea Birdsall

Human rights, International Relations, International Law & International Relations, Humanitarian intervention, Norms, Counterterrorism

I am particularly interested in supervising dissertations that deal with the interplay between International Relations and International Law and issues related to Human Rights.


Elizabeth Bomberg

Environmental politics and policy; energy politics; activism; Europeanization; US politics

Environmental politics and politics; climate politics and activism; community energy; EU or US environmental policy; comparative environmental politics; NGOs, multilevel governance and environment

Christina Boswell
Christina Boswell

Political Sociology, Use of Research in Policy, Immigration and asylum policy, Politics of immigration, Public policy

Christina is interested in supervising PhD research in three main areas: (1) immigration, asylum and integration policy (2) the uses of research in politics and policymaking, and (3) organizational sociology and systems theoretic approaches to public policy.

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Julia Calvert

International political economy, International Law & International Relations, Political Sociology, International development, trade, foreign investment, investor-state dispute settlement, Extractive industries and resource governance, Latin America, Canadian foreign economic policy

Alan Convery
Alan Convery

Britain, Multi-level party politics, British Politics, Conservative Party, Conservative politics, Scottish Politics, Welsh politics

Philip Cook, University of Edinburgh
Philip Cook

Political Theory, Political Philosophy, Social Justice, Education and Schools, Children and Childhood, Family Relationships, Children and Democracy, Contractualism, Children and Young People, , Child Labour

I am happy to supervise students working in contemporary political theory, particularly on topics of social justice, childhood, schooling/education, family relations, free speech/censorship, democracy, and contractualism.


Laura Cram

European public policy, European Identity, Neuropolitics of identity, Neuropolitics of public policy, experimental research, fMRI studies, physiological studies, behavioural games, identity triggers, national identity, symbols, Brexit processes, Scotland and EU

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Elizabeth Cripps

Climate change ethics, Climate justice, Collective responsibility, Justice and non-human animals, Population and justice, Political theory, Political philosophy, Justice and environment, Parental duties

Liz welcomes enquiries from potential PhD candidates in climate change ethics or justice, duties to non-human animals, population ethics, or parental duties. For more on why to do a PhD in political philosophy in Edinburgh PIR, please see Edinburgh PhD in Political Theory.

Chad Damro
Chad Damro

Chad is able to offer advanced research supervision on most topics related to European Union external relations, in particular IPE/IR studies of EU regulatory, trade, competition and environmental relations with other state and non-state actors (including international organisations and regions).

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Sara Rich Dorman

African Politics, nationalism and the post-colonial state in Africa, Citizenship and belonging, Elections, State formation

Sara welcomes inquiries from prospective students interested in researching African Politics. Current and recently finished PhD students whom she supervises/d have conducted research in Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Russia. Recent topics include land reform, violence, religion, labour, NGOs and social movements in Southern Africa; borders, leadership succession, trade and identity in the Horn of Africa; corruption, mutinies and elections in West Africa.


Claire Duncanson

Gender, gender and international relations, International peacebuilding, International Peace and Security, gender and security, Feminism, peacekeeping, Masculinities, The Military in Global Politics

I welcome enquiries about supervision in all aspects of gender and International Relations, including military masculinities, gender and peacekeeping/peacebuilding, gender and foreign policy and gender and nuclear weapons.

Oliver Escobar
Oliver Escobar

Public participation, Policy Processes, Public services, participatory and deliberative democracy, collaborative governance and partnerships, Community Planning, public dialogue and deliberation, facilitation and mediation, participation practitioners, policy work and policy workers, democratic innovations, Interpretive Policy Analysis, political ethnography, Mixed methods, in/equalities

Citizen participation, participatory and deliberative democracy, policymaking, governance, public policy, public services, evidence-based policymaking, knowledge brokering, science public engagement, public dialogue and deliberation, political communication.

Carmen Gebhard
Carmen Gebhard

European Union's Foreign and Security Policy, Comparative European Politics, Small States, Security and defence cooperation, Inter-organizationalism

Global, European and Transatlantic Security; European integration; European foreign and security policy; EU-NATO; small state foreign policy; sub-regionalism; Strategic Studies; Defence Cooperation;

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Marc Geddes

British politics, parliamentary studies, UK Parliament, interpretive political science, evidence in politics, ethnography

I would be interested in supervising PhD applicants within parliamentary and legislative studies, especially on British politics. I am also happy to supervise PhD students on UK governance issues and/or those interested in adopting interpretive approaches to political science.

Iain Hardie
Iain Hardie

Comparative Political Economy, International Political Economy, Financial Markets, Financialization

Iain welcomes enquiries from prospective students interested in research into issues surrounding the politics of markets, particularly financial markets, from an international political economy or comparative political perspective, and on financialization and its impact on governments. Research can cover any geographic area.

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Tim Hayward

Global justice, political theory, Human rights, environmental values, fairness, Political philosophy

political philosophy; global justice; human rights; environmental rights; rights theory; ecological debt; environmental security; dialectical theory; ethics and international affairs; fairness; finance; practical epistemics and investigative citizenship

Ailsa
Ailsa Henderson

Political behaviour, political culture, Regionalism, voting and elections, comparative territorial politics, UK, Scotland, Quebec-Scotland comparisons, European values, Public opinion and Political attitudes

political behaviour, political culture, referendums and elections, civic engagement, nationalism (esp Scotland-Quebec comparisons)

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Andrew Hom

Classical realism, International Relations, International theory, just war theory, Social constructivism, Narratives, methodology in the social sciences, timing / time / temporality, International Security, critical security studies, Process / Figurational Sociology, disciplinary history

Timing, time, & temporality | IR theory - especially realism(s), constructivism, and critical approaches | Security | Disciplinary history | Sociological approaches to IR | International Political Theory

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Kristen Hopewell

International Relations, Global political economy, global governance, Development, emerging powers, BRICs, Brazil, India, China, US hegemony, industrial policy, developmental state

Dr. Hopewell is available to supervise students with interests in: global political economy; global economic governance; development; industrial policy; emerging powers/BRICS; Brazil; China; India; US hegemony.

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Charlie Jeffery

Regionalism, Multi-level governance, Public attitudes, Public policy, Scottish Politics, Territorial Politics

I am interested in regional (or territorial) politics in the UK and comparatively (covering both Europe and North America). I am happy to supervise work on regional public attitudes, parties and elections, public policy innovation and variation, and regional dimensions of EU governance (multi-level governance). I also supervise work in German politics, especially on federalism and on German EU policy.

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Juliet Kaarbo

Foreign Policy Analysis, political psychology

foreign & security policy * political psychology * political leadership * group decision-making * parliamentary systems * the role of individuals and domestic politics in international relations

Meryl Kenny
Meryl Kenny

Women and politics, gender and political institutions, Feminist institutionalism, political parties, Political recruitment, Political representation, Territorial Politics

I am able to offer PhD supervision in most areas relating to gender politics (international, national and local), party politics, elections and political representation, and British and comparative politics. I would particularly welcome prospective students with interests in feminist and institutionalist approaches to the study of party politics, political recruitment, and/or post-devolution politics in the UK.

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Harshan Kumarasingham

British Politics, Decolonisation, Comparative Politics, Political History, South Asia, Commonwealth Politics and History, Monarchy, Australasia, British Empire, Constitutional Politics, Constitutional History, Parliamentary Studies, Westminster Model, State-Building, South-East Asia, Executive Power

Dr Kumarasingham is happy to discuss supervising PhD applicants interested in the following areas: - British Politics and Institutions - Westminster Model - Parliamentary Systems - Regime Types - Decolonisation - Modern British Political History - Imperial and Commonwealth History and Politics - South Asian History and Politics - Constitutional History and Politics - Commonwealth Comparative Politics - especially Australasia and Asia

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Fiona Mackay

Gender and political institutions, gender mainstreaming, gender and public policy, Feminist institutionalism, women's movements, International Organisations, Feminism, Institutions and institutional change, organizations and institutions, Political representation, gender based violence, women and politics, Inequality & diversity

I welcome proposals on most topics in the fields of women & politics, and gender and political institutions. I am particularly interested in the gendering effects of political institutions, gender and institutional innovation (such as quotas, gender mainstreaming, "gender-equal" constitutions etc) at global, national and local levels; women's political representation, and gender and devolution in the UK.


Luke March

Russia, Moldova, Radical left, post-Soviet politics, Populism, Social movements, Ukraine, Protest

Luke welcomes applications from students considering research in the fields of post-Soviet politics (especially, but not exclusively, Russia, Moldova and Ukraine), populism, the politics of the left (especially radical left).

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Nicola McEwen

Territorial Politics, Scottish Politics, Devolution, Multi-level governance, multi-level energy policy, welfare devolution, voting and elections, federal states, identity politics, nationalism

I am interested in supervising research on devolution, nationalism and the politics of Independence, Brexit, public policy, multi-level government, parties and elections, political behaviour

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Mihaela Mihai

Critical Social and Political Theory, Arts and politics, gender, Architecture and political theory, Political emotions, Political memory and historical injustice, Comparative constitutionalism

I work in contemporary political theory. I am particularly interested in supervising students working on topics related to democratic theory, theories of oppression, political memory, art and politics, political emotions, gender, transitional justice and historical injustice.


James Mitchell

Public policy, Public service reform, Scottish politics, territorial politics and government, electoral politics and political behaviour


Andrew Neal

International Security, War on terror, Discourse Theory, Sociological Theory, cultural theory, political theory, UK, Britain, critical theory, critical security studies, securitization, constructivism, Postmodern Governance, poststructuralism, Scotland, Scottish Politics

I am keen to supervise PhD projects in critical security studies and critical terrorism studies. I would also to be happy to supervise projects which more broadly use post-positivist theories and methods. I have expertise in the relationship between politics and security, Scotland and security, securitization theory, constructivism, critical theory and poststructuralism, and the works and methods of Michel Foucault.

Kieran Oberman
Kieran Oberman

Political theory, Political philosophy, Global justice, just war theory, Immigration, Immigration and asylum policy, Distributive justice, Social justice

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Pontus Odmalm

Comparative European Politics, Politics of immigration, Citizenship, Political parties

Comparative projects that focus on the following areas: politics of immigration/integration; citizenship; and party competition.

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Ugur Ozdemir

Comparative Political Behavior, Spatial Models of Elections, Quantitative Methods, Positive Political Theory

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Nicola Perugini

Global justice, Human rights, Politics of human rights, Humanitarianism, International Law & International Relations, Critical legal studies, Middle East Politics, Israel-Palestine, Postcolonial theory, Critical Theory, Political violence

Human rights, humanitarianism, international law, political violence, Middle East politics and conflicts, Israel/Palestine, colonialism, migrations.


John Peterson

US-European relations, EU politics and policy, US foreign policy, EU trade policy

I welcome queries about supervision of theses on EU politics and policy-making (particularly external policy), US-European relations, and US foreign policy. I recently supervised 5 PhD students (to successful completion) funded through the EU Marie Curie International Training network EXACT (http://www.exact.uni-koeln.de/169.html), which focused on EU external action. I have a long track record (longer than I'd like to admit!) of supervising PhD students to successful completion.

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Charles Raab

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Charlotte Rommerskirchen

European Union, Financial Markets, Mixed Methods, International Political Economy, Comparative Political Economy, Debt Management

Economic and Monetary Union, Comparative and International Political Economy

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JP Singh

International trade and development, Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), Cultural economics, identity politics, Diplomacy, Negotiations, global governance

cultural economics and policies; international trade and development; international negotiations and diplomacy; global institutions and governance; information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D)

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Ewan Stein

Political Islam, Middle East Politics, Egyptian politics, Arab political thought, Arab-Israeli conflict, state-society relations, International Relations of the Middle East

I am interested in supervising PhD projects in any area of Middle Eastern politics or international relations, particularly topics related to Egypt, political Islam, foreign policy and the role of ideas.

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Wilfried Swenden

Federalism, intergovernmental relations, Governing in divided societies, Indian Politics, Territorial Politics, Multi-level governance, Comparative Politics

federalism and territorial politics, devolution, governing divided societies, territorial party strategies, intergovernmental relations, India, South Asia


Mathias Thaler

Genocide, Global justice, Humanitarian intervention, Ideology, International theory, Marxism, Multiculturalism, Reconciliation, Political forgiveness, Democratic theory, Political violence and non-violence, Pragmatism, Critical Theory, Just War theory

I am interested in supervising projects within the following fields of research: - Contemporary political theory; - History of political thought; - Democratic theory; - Political violence. If you are interested in having me as your PhD supervisor, please check out our departmental webpage where we (political theorists) outline what we have to offer and what we expect from prospective PhD students: http://politicaltheory.sps.ed.ac.uk/ This webpage is very helpful in preparing the proposal: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/applying/research-proposals In case you are unsure as to whether I am the right person to serve as your supervisor, feel free to contact me via email with a short summary of your project as well as a recent CV.


Andrew Thompson

Quantitative Methods, Public policy, Citizenship, perception measurement, surveys, statistical analysis, involvement, Participation, European Union, Health policy

* Citizens' perceptions of public services * Meaning of citizen involvement and participation * Widening participation in higher education * Effect of public involvement on quality of services * Civil society impact on public policies * Attitudes of European Union institutional officials

Dr Oliver Turner
Oliver Turner

US politics, US foreign policy, US-China/Asia relations, British foreign policy in Asia, Critical geopolitics, International relations of East/South East Asia, Decolonisation

Oliver is interested in supervising PhD dissertations on the broad themes of US politics and foreign policy; US and/or British power and policy in Asia; and the international politics of (especially East and South East) Asia, all in historical and/or contemporary contexts.

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