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Geopolitics, Security and Professional Research


 On the way to RUSI through Horse Guards Parade

Engaging with the way security and geopolitical professionals conduct research and analysis is crucial to the programme. Part of our task is to help understand how and why a large amount of current analysis is conducted within government departments, think-tanks, consultancies and agencies. 

The MSc develops critical awareness of this work, identifies how and where academics and professionals might better engage with one another as well as show caution, and explores potential research synergies, professional networking and career opportunities. This means that we frequently conduct fieldtrips to institutions like the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).strattrends

This engagement is perhaps best exemplified in a session within the team-taught Research Design in Geopolitics and Security which was ran in collaboration with our own Professor Klaus Dodds and Jonathan Storey of the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), an independent think tank within the UK Ministry of Defence. 

Among the details of how the DCDC functions, conducts analysis, and presents its findings, the group considered how concise and jargon-free writing is immensely important in communicating work beyond and between practitioners, professionals and the academy. We saw examples of best practice and discussed writing styles for professional and government engagement.

Jonathan, an Oxford University geography graduate, outlined the think tank’s research methodology through their strategic trends programme before emphasising the importance of geography as a discipline to these kinds of careers, a perspective we see repeated in other security and industry contexts. We saw how our students can stand-out from amongst the field, by having all important geographical and critical perspectives on what is taken for granted, and a contextual sensitivity to events which often go unnoticed through more ungrounded forms of analysis.

During the summer months, and following a visit to RUSI, our students will visit the DCDC for a fieldtrip to further explore the centre’s work, while it will also present the students with an opportunity to discuss progress with their own dissertations and areas of interest.

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