Please note that advertised projects are sample projects and prospective applicants are not required to apply to one of the advertised projects, but are welcome to discuss broader research interests with the academic named in the advert - and/or to apply with their own research proposal.
The Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security for the Everyday at Royal Holloway seeks to recruit a PhD student who will explore how international security standardization is constructed and how it influences digital development and geopolitical dynamics. This project will potentially be conducted in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
International standards are highly influential in establishing norms and best practice in cyber security, from both a governance and technological perspective. A wide range of international standardization bodies oversee security standards development, including those with general oversight such as ISO, technology-specific bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), sector-specific bodies such as ETSI for telecommunications, and globally influential national bodies such as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Many international standardization efforts are co-constructed by a range of stakeholders, who may have both common and competing agendas. Historically, the US has played a leading role in the development of many international security standards. However, China has been increasingly making its presence felt in terms of international standard setting in digital markets – aided and abetted by sheer economic-technological size, industrial capacity and determined leadership to shape technological evolution. The 2021 national strategy for standards followed up by a 2022 Action Plan illustrates that China has considerable ambitions leading up to 2035.
The project will investigate the historic and continued development of digital security standardization and examine key issues, which might include:
· An analysis of the geopolitics behind the emergence of historically influential security standards.
· The geopolitical dynamics behind the current international digital security standardization landscape.
· The manner in which the US and EU respond to increased competition over digital security standards and how and where it makes itself manifest.
· How digital standards will shape the capacity of foreign companies and other stakeholders to operate in markets such as China.
· How standards help to co-constitute geopolitical and digital power and the manner in which public and private stakeholders are embroiled in it.
We seek applicants with an interest in cyber-security but come from a social science or humanities discipline, with at least an undergraduate degree in a field cognate to Human Geography, Politics and IR, Science and Technology Studies, or Digital Humanities. Ideally, applicants will have experience in the collection, handling and ethical treatment of qualitative data, and experience of research methodologies such as ethnography and participant observation, semi-structured interviews, policy and documentary analysis. Applications are welcome from those who have had experience of working in relevant professional or policy-related fields.
Please contact Prof Klaus Dodds to discuss further K.Dodds@rhul.ac.uk