Politics and International Relations at Leicester

Research grant for study into nuclear weapons and cyber warfare

Research will look into whether today’s nuclear weapons are safe from computer hacking

Dr Andrew Futter, a Lecturer in our Department of Politics and International Relations, has been awarded a grant by the Economic and Social Research Council. The grant of £167,000 awarded in early July means that he can go ahead with his research, entitled  ‘Cyber Warfare and Nuclear Strategy: Changing the Utility of Nuclear Weapons in Global Security’.

Dr Futter will be looking at how advances in global cyber capacities might impact nuclear strategy and the utility of nuclear weapons.  Specifically, the research seeks to address the question of whether the ability to use and the confidence in nuclear weapons is being eroded by new cyber capabilities being developed by an increasingly large range of actors.

The 3 year project will see Dr Futter conduct research in the United States, Europe and the UK, in order to speak with leading officials, practitioners, and academics from both the political and information technology worlds.

As part of the project, Dr Futter intends to hold a multinational conference at Leicester during the second year of his research, and in the third year, publish a book detailing the key findings of the research as well as submitting policy briefings to the UK and US governments and to NATO.

While Dr Futter remains open-minded about what the project may uncover, he hopes to raise the profile of a number of key issues that will become an increasingly important part of our everyday life.

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