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Our scholars are internationally regarded and supported by distinctive research centres.

We are a research-intensive part of a research-intensive institution.

This means that every permanent member of academic staff carries out original, peer-reviewed research, which they incorporate into their third year undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 64% of our research output has been classified as 4*, defined as world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. This was the highest score achieved in the sector for this unit of assessment. Furthermore, 100% of our research impact was judged to be 4* or 3*, with 50% of our impact work graded as world leading. In Times Higher Education’s (THE) analysis and rankings of the REF 2021 results we are ranked 2nd in the UK. 

Colleagues in the department currently edit two journals: Electoral Studies and Media, War and Conflict and sit on the editorial boards of 16 journals.

The research we carry out depends in part on the research interests of individual members of staff. You can find staff members’ research interests through our staff directory.

Our research also takes place in different research centres, which bring together staff and PhD students who share research interests:

Research Centres

The Gender Institute has three primary goals: to support academic staff and student research and research collaboration in the study of genders and sexualities, to support teaching and learning of and around genders and sexualities, and to produce resources for community engagement and impact around genders and sexualities. We hope to do this through research conversations, support for seeking external funding, support for integrating genders and sexualities into modules and programs, and a detailed and up-to-date list of relevant resources. The Gender Institute is also open to other ways that we can be supportive of the work of the Royal Holloway community with regards to genders and sexualities.

The Global Politics and Development Centre (GPDC) brings together researchers who have expertise in the politics and international relations of different countries in the Global South. Recent conferences organised by the Centre have focused on the challenge of ensuring political stability in ethnically and religiously divided societies. The centre hosts an MA programme in the Politics of Development.

The Democracy and Elections Centre brings together researchers who are interested in electoral behaviour, and how elections do (or don’t) shape public policy. Researchers at the centre are particularly interested in how our political views and behaviour depend on our age (Smets, Sloam) or social backgrounds (Heath, Hanretty), and how public policies, including spending policies, are made more or less responsive to public opinion (Hackett, Hanretty, Benedetto). The Centre is home to the journal Electoral Studies.

The Centre for International Security serves as a hub for research and teaching on the study of global security issues and contested political authority within the context of transnational policy challenges. Researchers in the centre are recognised for their expertise in particular areas, ranging from nuclear weapons control (Bentley) to food security (Petrikova), to collective trauma in international political economy (Lerner) and for their knowledge of particular institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU (Stubbs, Benedetto). The Centre hosts three of the School’s MSc programmes, in International Relations, International Public Policy, and International Security.

The Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies is the product of an exciting new collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Imam Sadr Foundation and affiliated donors. While based in the School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy at Royal Holloway, the centre provides an institutional base for Royal Holloway scholars whose research relates in some way to Islamic and West Asian studies, including researchers in the departments of History, Music, Geography, Theatre, English, and Economics, and in the School of Law and the School of Management.

The New Political Communications Unit was set up in 2007 to carry out research into new media and communications technologies, and how they shape individual behaviour and institutional responses. Researchers at the unit are interested in both how new technologies affect relationships between countries (O'Loughlin), the competition between parties (Van Spanje) , and in how they affect domestic governments and voters (Collignon). The Director of the Unit, Ben O'Loughlin, is one of three editors of the journal Media, War and Conflict.

The Politics of the Environment and Climate Change (PECC) Lab conducts academic research and outreach on the political dimensions of addressing environmental issues and climate change. Our research takes a data driven approach to examining these problems, utilising methods for causal inference, experiments, and machine learning. The PECC Lab also holds regular seminars for members of the Royal Holloway community, and for a global academic audience. 

The Department of Politics and International Relations also hosts our Jean Monnet Chair in EU budgetary politics (Benedetto).


The Contemporary Political Theory Research Group brings together political theorists from Politics and International Relations and researchers from Philosophy.

Research Activities

Not just speaking with those inside the academy, RHUL academics publish in internationally leading academic journals and disseminate their work via different mediums and in non-academic spaces - through popular blogs, podcasts, and other (social) media, via collaborations with artists and illustrators, and in varied short form comment and applied articles. PIR academics also provide evidence to government and other public and private bodies and organizations. Impactful academics are also engaged with, either loosely or more directly, or collaborate with others – co-producing research through contracted consultancies and commissions, and publicly funded collaborations; producing bespoke research (reports and briefings) for international and national non-governmental organizations and institutions (NGOs and INGOs); and sustaining long-term relationships with political institutions and public sphere actors
Committed to methodologically pluralistic, rigorous research across the core sub-fields of Politics and IR and Philosophy, PIPR researchers engage with essential questions: power – who has and who does not have access to power; participation and representation – who participates, how, and to what effect, and the who, what, why, how, and when of political representation; the nature of relations between individuals, groups, nations, and international and supranational actors – political, structural, economic, social, and cultural and symbolic; and political inequalities and how these can be redressed. PIR’s impactful research pays particular attention to marginalised and at-risk groups both nationally, internationally and transnationally.
Individual impactful researchers and collective impactful research projects – can be found across Politics and IR’s specialist Research Centres. Centres’ pages provide more details of current and recent impacts.  

The Department of Politics and International Relations and Philosophy in the School of Law and Social Sciences at Royal Holloway offers Visiting Research Fellowships to scholars for a period of one to 12 months.

The Visiting Fellow Scheme is intended to give academics from other universities the opportunity to engage in scholarly interaction with the department’s researchers and centres. It is aimed at researchers interested in actively contributing to the department’s research environments. Visiting researchers are expected to engage in seminars and other departmental events.

We encourage applications from – and will give priority to - researchers working on the broad range of topics covered by the members of the department. Prior contact with or invitation from a relevant Head of a Research Centre or academia at the Faculty is recommended.

Our research specialisms include democracy and elections, international security, global politics of development, gender and politics, new political communications, and Anglo-American and Continental philosophy.

For information about our research clusters and staff profiles, see our staff directory.

Visiting researchers are provided with (shared) office facilities, access to the Royal Holloway’s library and to other research infrastructure, but not with remuneration. Visiting researchers will also benefit from a thriving research environment and interactions with a large group of doctoral students and researchers.


Interested candidates should submit their applications online using the form below. Applications should include (1) the form, (2) a CV and (3) a brief (1-2 page) research statement of the activities planned during the visit, and indicate the preferred period of stay. Please include the letter of invitation from your contact person at Royal Holloway (if applicable).

Applications should be sent to

Application Form 

Application deadlines:

15 July for visiting fellowship starting between September and December.

15 November for visiting fellowship starting between January and August.


Research Seminar Series 2020/21 

The department of Politics and IR host a weekly research seminar in which recognised academics from the UK and abroad present and discuss their work. This year, the series will be held online. If you are not a member of the department but are interested in attending, please contact Dr Sofia Collignon (email

Below is a list of confirmed speakers for the Autumn term: 

30/09/2020 Sylvia Shaw University of Westminster Gender, Language and May/Corbyn Question Times: Political performances and gendered stereotypes about communication.
07/10/2020 Maarja Luhiste Newcastle University  Wasting female candidates? Examining gender differences in candidate retention. 
14/10/2020 Clara Eroukhmanoff London South Bank University (LSBU) Responding to terrorism with peace, love and solidarity: 'Je suis Charlie', 'Peace', and 'I Heart MCR'
21/10/2020 Bernhard Reinsberg University of Glasgow  Neoliberal globalization and mass protest revisited. 
28/10/2020 Melita Lazell University of Portsmouth The Securitization of the UK development aid to West Africa and the Sahel: Priorities and Practice.
Reading Week  - - -
11/11/2020 Lucy Barnes UCK Mental models in political economy: How do voters think the economy works?
18/11/2020 Manu Savani Brunel University  The electoral politics of sexual harassment.
25/11/2020 Jonathan Seglow RHUL Against the Secret Ballot.
02/12/2020 Joe Hoover Queen Mary From an Architectonic to a Consummatory Approach to Global Justice.

Below is a list of confirmed speakers for the Spring term: 






Dr Sara Hagemann


The New Political Game in Europe


Dr Jan Eichorn 

The University of Edinburgh

From climate change awareness to climate crisis action


Dr Mona Morgan-Collins

Durham University

Competing for New Votes: Mobilization of Women in the Wake of Democratization


Prof Miles Larmer

St Antony's College, University of Oxford

Living for the City: Social Change and Knowledge Production in the Central African Copperbelt

Reading week


Prof Anna Leander

Graduate Institute Geneva

Militarization Matters: Rhetorical Resonances and Market Militarism


Dr Laura Sudulich

University of Essex



Dr Catherine Owen

University of Exeter

Into participatory governance under authoritarianism 


Dr Iain MacKenzie

University of Kent 

On losing hope in a Teams meeting but finding new weapons.'


Tim Haughton 

University of  Birmingham

The New Party Challenge Changing Cycles of Party Birth and Death in Central Europe and Beyond


Research Seminar Series 2021/22 

The department of Politics and IR host a weekly research seminar in which recognised academics from the UK and abroad present and discuss their work. This year, the series will be held online. If you are not a member of the department but are interested in attending, please contact Dr Sofia Collignon (email

Below is a list of confirmed speakers for the Autumn term:






Lauren Wilcox

University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies

War Beyond the Human: Gender, Race, and Violence in a Posthuman Age


Tariq Thachil

University of Pennsylvania.

How Patrons Select Brokers: Efficacy and Loyalty in Urban India’s Political Machines


Chloe Thurston

Northwestern University

Political economy of American debt relief


Mette Marie Harder 

Faculty at Karlstad University

Representation of Unattached Interests. The case of Gender Equality


Anca Gheaus

Central European University

What Kind of Surrogacy is Compatible With a Fiduciary Account of Parenting?


Reading Week


Nicole Martin

University of Manchester

Ethnic minority voters, Brexit and the 2019 general election


Julian Garritzmann

University of Frankfurt

Welfare States in the Century of Knowledge: The Politics of Social Investment around the Globe


Sean Fleming

Christ's College Cambridge

Return of the Luddites?: The Unabomber and the New Anti-Tech Radicals


Vipin Narang (starts 3pm UK time) 


Seeking the Bomb: Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation


End of Term Lunch 

Below is a list of confirmed speakers for the Spring term:






Stephanie Reher 


Voting for Disabled Candidates: The Roles of Voter Preferences and Belief Stereotypes


Kate Dommett


The Business of Elections: A deep dive into election spending returns


Mette Marie Harder 

Faculty at Karlstad University

Representation of Unattached Interests. The case of Gender Equality


Vipin Narang (starts 3 pm UK time) 


Seeking the Bomb: Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation


Jack Blumenau 


Reasoning About Politics: Voters’ Justifications and Political Attitudes

Reading Week


Sandra Ley 


The Logic of Criminal Governance


Anne Irfan and Uttara Shahani 


is Post-partition refugee regimes as immobility regimes: Israel and India.


Christel Koop 




Julio Amador Garcia 


Are polling predictions the way to go? Measuring public opinion through Bayesian data assimilation





Politics of the Environment and Climate Change (PECC) Lab 

The PECC Lab runs a series of seminars on Environmental Politics and Governance (EPG). Below are the speakers for the Autumn term 2021/2022.

For more details visit:




7th October

Jamie M. Sommer (University of South Florida)

Domestic Autonomy and Environmental International Non-Governmental Organizations: A Cross-National Analysis of Forest Loss

Noah Zucker (Columbia University)

Identity and the Structure of Climate Risk Preferences

21st October

Jean Léon Boucher (Dublin City University) and Walter Mérida (University of British Columbia)

Status Symbols in Social Space: Inflated Lives, Clean Tech Privilege, and Electric Cars in Washington State

Sanya Bery (Wesleyan University) and Mary Alice Haddad (Wesleyan University)

Walking the Talk: Why Cities Adopt Ambitious Climate Action Plans

4th November

Alexander F. Gazmararian (Princeton University) and  Helen V. Milner (Princeton University)

Political Cleavages and Changing Exposure to Global Warming

Constantin Kaplaner (LMU Munich) and Yves Steinebach (LMU Munich)

Coping Practices and the Spatial Dimension of Authority Design: The Case of Environmental Policy Enforcement

18th November

Maria-Therese Gustafsson (Stockholm University), Jorge Ernesto Rodriguez Morales (Stockholm University), and Lisa M. Dellmuth (Stockholm University)

Private adaptation to climate risks: Evidence from the world’s largest mining companies

Franziska Quoß (ETH Zürich) and Lukas Rudolph (LMU Munich)

Local weather extremes and political attitudes on climate policy - Evidence from Switzerland

2nd December

Lena Maria Schaffer (University of Lucerne)

Who’s afraid of more ambitious climate policy? Distributional consequences and inequality perceptions in ratcheting up for the Paris Agreement

Muzhou Zhang (University of Essex)

No Diffusion at All: Trade, Free Riding, and Government Underspending on Environmental Innovation

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