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Euro-British External Security Cooperation against Non-State Actors

   School of Law and Social Sciences

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  Dr Tom Dyson, Dr Foivi Mouzakiti  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Egham United Kingdom Government International Relations Law

About the Project

The Department of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy and Department of Law and Criminology invite students to apply for a full-time scholarship for doctoral research.

Euro-British External Security Cooperation against Non-State Actors

Brexit has thrown in flux EU-UK security cooperation against the threats posed by non-state actors. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not cover external security cooperation against such actors. Furthermore, the majority of scholarship has focused on policy solutions to the Brexit negotiations. Research which examines the scope and nature of the parties’ agreements, and the development of new formal and informal mechanisms for cooperation in key areas such as intelligence, sanctions regimes and cybersecurity is, therefore, essential.

Hence this project invites candidates to examine the following research questions:

1) What formal and informal processes and mechanisms of security cooperation are emerging in the fields of intelligence, sanctions regimes and cybersecurity?

2) How effective are these processes and mechanisms in permitting useful cooperation and how might they be improved?

3) What are the implications of these changes for the fundamental rights protection offered by the UK to those targeted by national security measures? How does this new system measure against the standards for fundamental rights protection set by EU law and case law?

4) What do the emerging forms of security cooperation tell us about the explanatory power of the key theoretical approaches to inter-state cooperation in security?

If it transpires that the project is overly ambitious in aiming to examine these research questions across the areas of intelligence, sanctions regimes and cybersecurity, the focus could be narrowed to one or two of these fields. Candidates are also invited to propose alternative case studies.

Successful candidates should start in September 2021 or January 2022.


The successful candidate will be based at the Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (PIRP). But as the project sits at the nexus of international relations and law, it will be co-supervised by Dr Tom Dyson (PIRP) and Dr Foivi Mouzakiti (Law and Criminology). The supervisors are well-placed to supervise the project. Dr Dyson’s expertise lies in European defence and security cooperation and military innovation studies. He is therefore well-suited to advise on the case studies and theory. Having undertaken hundreds of semi-structured elite interviews with defence and security practitioners in the UK and overseas he will also be able to provide helpful guidance on methods and field research. In addition Dr Dyson has substantial experience of undertaking cross-disciplinary research projects. Dr Mouzakiti’s expertise lies in the field of EU and UK human rights law, especially cross-border security cooperation and its impact on fundamental rights. She is well placed to advise on the legal and constitutional aspects of the project.

The Department of Politics and International Relations is an established centre of teaching and research excellence. Rankings of research intensity put us in the top ten of politics departments in the UK. It has more than 40 PhD students pursuing cutting-edge research and undertaking advanced training in the areas of new political communication; elections, public opinion and parties; comparative politics; politics of Africa, Asia and the Middle East; international relations; and political theory. The department has several research centres, including the Centre for International Security, bringing together internationally regarded researchers and our community of PhDs.

The Department of Law and Criminology has a strong reputation for excellence in research, with national and international recognition of our expertise in law, human rights, criminal justice, health, counter-terrorism, families and children. It has a strong interdisciplinary research culture, which is reflected in the department’s research clusters, including the Rights and Freedoms Cluster. The department of law is home to a vibrant community of doctoral researchers, whose projects cover a wide range of topics, including human rights, healthcare, legal history and state crime. As a doctoral student, you will be a vital part of the department’s research culture and you will be provided with a supportive research environment.  

In addition to the PhD courses offered by the departments, generic research skills training is provided at College level. Royal Holloway is also part of the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) in partnership with 10 other leading UK universities.

Qualifications and Eligibility

The successful applicant must hold a relevant Masters-level qualification, or expect to have completed their studies by 30 September 2021.

Application Procedure

In order to be considered for this scholarship, please submit a letter of interest, a CV, transcripts of your Undergraduate and Masters degrees and a proposal (up to 2,000 words) setting out how you would develop the envisaged research project.

These materials will need to be submitted directly to Dr Tom Dyson [Email Address Removed] and Dr Foivi Mouzakiti  [Email Address Removed]

The closing date for applications is Monday 7th June 2021. Interviews are expected to take place later that month.

Informal enquiries about the scholarship should be made to Dr Tom Dyson or Dr Foivi Mouzakiti.  General guidance on what needs to go into the proposal can be found at the following link.

Funding Notes

The School of Law and Social Sciences PhD Scholarship offers an HEU fee waiver and a maintenance award of £16,000 p.a. for three and half years years for full-time students (or half of that amount per year for 7 years for part-time students). Non-EU international students are eligible to apply, but please note that if successful the difference between the HEU and overseas fee will need to be found from another source.
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