Politics and International Relations at Leicester

Research projects

Current externally-funded research projects in the Department.

NUCLEARREV: Non-nuclear weapons and the revolution in nuclear order

Professor Andrew Futter

A new generation of high-tech and non-nuclear strategic weaponry has emerged recently due to the information revolution. The fundamental characteristic of this new class of weapons, named strategic conventional weapons (SCW), is that they can replace nuclear weapons. The rise of SCW also raise questions related to deterrence strategy, future arms racing and control as well as their impact on global nuclear order. The EU-funded NUCLEARREV project intends to conduct the first ever systematic academic study representing an entirerethink of the global nuclear order. The study will chart the SCW systems, analyse their potential impact on regional nuclear relations, investigate the role SCW could play in international nuclear relations and define the embryonic third nuclear age.

Paving the path to peace: Civil society and the Northern Ireland peace process, 1989-1998

Dr Stephen Hopkins 

Dr Hopkins (Leicester) and Dr Connal Parr (Northumbria) have received support from the Irish Government’s Reconciliation Fund (administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs) for a research project investigating the role of civil society groups in the Northern Ireland peace process from 1989 to 1998. 

The project will take place from the autumn of 2022 until the summer of 2023. Through publications, a 'Witness Seminar', and a one-day conference, the project will show how groups such as the Peace Train Organisation (PTO) bridged social and cultural movements with political campaigns, mobilising citizens from the trade unions, Catholic and Protestant churches, business groups, the educational sector, and the arts in different jurisdictions, helping create the conditions for a successful peace by the time of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Parliament, Public Administration and constitution: ESRC Thematic Research Lead

Dr Rick Whitaker

For 60% of his time during 2023, Richard Whitaker will be Parliament’s Thematic Research Lead in the areas of Parliament, public administration and the constitution. This post is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It involves strengthening links between the UK Parliament and the research community, bringing topical, policy-focused research to the desks of MPs, Lords and those working in Parliament. Based on the concept of Chief Scientific Advisers, this post will ensure a strong evidence base for debate and legislation.


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