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Security and defence research

Explore our work in security and defence, one of our areas of expertise in Politics and International Relations

Our security and defence research explores ways in which we can reduce the impact of war, encourage peace, improve the lives of citizens around the world, and create a safer, more peaceful world. It deals with some of the most-pressing and damaging global issues of our time.

We have a breadth of knowledge across many areas of security and defence. Our collaborative, multidisciplinary research covers a wide range of contemporary security and defence challenges – including 'remote warfare', gender-based violence, nuclear non-proliferation and deterrence. 

Our research is regularly published in international peer-reviewed journals, including Contemporary Security Policy, Development Policy Review, Third World Quarterly, Critical Studies on Security, European Journal of International Relations, and the Journal of Contemporary African Studies.

Our researchers also publish monographs with leading academic publishers, such as Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge.

Our research covers the following topics

  • The securitisation of development
  • Nuclear non-proliferation and deterrence
  • Terrorism
  • Insurgency
  • Strategy
  • Gender and security
  • Foreign policy
  • West African peace and security
  • Risk and resilience


We use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, including statistical analysis, social network analysis, document analysis, media discourse analysis, questionnaires, and interviews.

Collaborations and funders

Our research is conducted in collaboration with government departments, including the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the Department for International Development (DFID).

We also work with other universities, both nationally and internationally, including Ibadan University, Nigeria, and with policy institutes, think tanks and NGOs, such as Chatham House and the Overseas Development Institute. These relationships lead to collaborative research, funding bids, conferences, workshops and student placements.

Recent projects have received funding from major funding organisations, including DFID, the Global Challenges Research Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the British Academy, and EU Horizon 2020 (European Union).

Discover our areas of expertise

Security and defence is one area of expertise in our Politics and International Relations research area. Explore the others below.

Citizenship and civil society

We're exploring aspects of citizenship, including identity politics, questions of sovereignty, and how they impact individuals.

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Politics of states and regions

We're working to foster citizen engagement in politics, improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of public institutions as well as the educational experience of students. Explore our politics of states and regions research.

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Global governance

We're addressing the political challenges of the modern world, by analysing how insecurity, conflict and political exclusion form in different regions – and what impacts they make.

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Research groups

Peace, Conflict and Security Research Group

We're researching the complex reality of the struggles over the meaning of security, citizenship and rights.

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Interested in a PhD in Politics and International Development?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Politics and International Development postgraduate research degrees page.