The research strategy of the Department concentrates upon the development of a vibrant and sustainable research culture, the publication of high-quality research, the targeting of external funding for our research and the development of a funded doctoral programme.

The Department has come to establish itself as a centre of excellence in political science, political economy (comparative and international), international studies and international relations theory.

POLSIS is the proud host of the Institute for German Studies. The Institute's research programme encompasses the politics, economics, international relations, history and culture of contemporary Germany. The Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES) which has been one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Russia, Eurasia and Central and Eastern Europe for over five decades. The department also plays host to Sociology at Birmingham.

Research in the Department is concentrated around the various research groups and research clusters.

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) latest research

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) aims to promote interdisciplinary research by combining expertise from across the breadth of the University to address major cross-cutting themes that are important, relevant and timely.

Saving Humans: Risk, Intervention, Survival

'Saving Humans' is an innovative and timely theme which consolidates existing University research agendas, provides opportunities for creating novel and exciting partnerships, transcends divides between arts, social sciences and natural sciences and, most importantly, addresses broader issues of social, political and moral concern for humanity’s future.
Theme Leaders: Professor Heather WiddowsProfessor Paul Jackson and Professor Nick Wheeler 

Highlighted research projects

Security-Democracy Nexus in the Caucasus (CASCADE) (2014-2016)

The CASCADE project will: 1.scrutinise Caucasian states and societies for the root causes of conflict and insecurity, 2.conduct synergetic research on democracy and security in the Caucasus, 3.analyse the links between the region and its wider neighbourhood, 4.provide forward-looking analysis on regional security and democratisation processes, and 5.develop a set of proposals on how the EU could enhance its role in the region.

Rising Powers and Interdependent Futures (2013-2015)

This interdisciplinary project aims to map Russia's governance-related influences in the post-Soviet states in the 'common neighbourhood' with the EU.

The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation within and between States (2013-)

This project will examine the impact of a recent and on-going development in science and technology (drones) on prospects for conflict and cooperation in countries where drones are deployed.

More research projects throughout the department

Please direct any queries about the research conducted in the department to the Director of Research: Professor Peter Burnham, Telephone +44 (0)121 414 8225, Email


Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) result - The Department is delighted to celebrate its success as an international centre of excellence with another outstanding performance in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, 85% of the research conducted in POLSIS was evaluated as being internationally recognised.


The results of a UK-wide research quality survey published on Thursday 18 December prove that the University of Birmingham’s research power has global reach and leads the world in a broad range of disciplines.


Learn more about the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)