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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.

Rankings of research intensity put us in the top ten of politics departments in the UK.

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:

  • The Institute for Gender Studies 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) 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.

We also host a Centre for European Politics, which hosts our Jean Monnet Chair in EU budgetary politics (Benedetto), and a Contemporary Political Theory Research Group, which brings together researchers from Politics and International Relations and researchers from Philosophy.



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.

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