Work experience opportunities at the ICCS

work-experience profile

At the ICCS we have a number of work placements who support our high-profile research and events throughout the year. 

Joining the ICCS provides an excellent opportunity for those considering a research-based career in security, or even further academic studies; experts across the ICCS provide mentoring and support at all times.

Current projects

The role of Efficacy and Trust Perceptions in Business Supply Chains

Project Supervisor: Tereza Capelos

This placement involves helping Dr. Capelos gather data for a project that investigates the role of institutional reputations of efficacy and trust in business supply chains.  The placement will build your research skills on online document collection and content analysis and training will be provided. You will also be able to use the data for your own research needs if you wish to do so. 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

The focus of the research: Modern slavery in business supply chains is a major problem, as many workers in the global economy often toil away for extremely long hours in inhumane conditions without proper access to food, water or shelter.  In 2015, the UK Government passed the Modern Slavery Act, which among other things, mandates that global businesses formulate a statement about how they plan to identify and eradicate slavery in their supply chains.  We are interested to examine how businesses with strong reputations of efficacy and trustworthiness respond to the UK Modern Slavery Act. The project involves reading through collected business statements, analysing their content, and recording features of the business plan onto an excel database.  Additionally, the placement involves looking through electronic  databases to identify news stories about each business prior to their statement. 

What will you be doing?

  • Online data collection (printed material)
  • Content analysis of statements
  • Bibliography searches on corporate social responsibility and modern slavery using university resources 

What skills will you need?

  • Good communication skills
  • Use of excel 

Learning Outcomes

The placement offers ample research training in content analysis research methodology. I will allow the student to develop and strengthen content analysis skills, time management and collaborative engagement in research. It will also strengthen knowledge with the topic under investigation and allow students to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  


Emotions in the Media and Reasoning about Rights of Asylum Seekers

Project Supervisor: Tereza Capelos

This placement involves helping Dr. Capelos gather and analyse data on how we reason about human rights of asylum seekers. The placement will build your research skills on content analysis of media sources and analysis of public opinion data, and training will be provided. You will also be able to use the data for your own research needs if you wish to do so. 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

The project examines how citizens reason about the rights of asylum-seekers under conditions of heightened emotionality. This project addresses a pressing social and political issue, contributes to ongoing academic debates, brings together research in political science and psychology and paves the way for a comprehensive study on political tolerance and reasoning about ethnic minorities among the general population. The placement involves collating media materials involving human rights stories, analysing the content of the collected media materials, collating secondary survey data and collating related bibliographies. 

What will you be doing?

  • Collect media content on human rights stories involving asylum seekers
  • Analyse the content of collected material paying particular attention on emotionality present in stories
  • Collate secondary survey data on human rights perceptions
  • Conduct bibliography searches on tolerance, emotions, and human rights 

What skills will you need?

  • Good communication skills
  • Use of excel 

Learning Outcomes

The placement offers ample research training. I will allow the student to develop and strengthen media content analysis skills, survey questionnaire skills, time management and collaborative engagement in research. It will also strengthen knowledge with the topic under investigation and allow students to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  


Emotional mediation: understanding the role of affect in mediation practices

Project Supervisor: Tereza Capelos

This placement involves helping Dr. Capelos gather and analyse data on emotions in the context of international mediation. The placement will build your research skills on interviewing and research design and training will be provided. You will also be able to use the data for your own research needs if you wish to do so

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

The project investigates the relationship between emotions generated in the context of mediation and the strategies mediators employ to arrive at favourable mediation outcomes. The project involves collating lists of mediators, conducting interviews (skype, phone, in person), transcribing interview material, and collating related bibliographies on emotionality and mediation practices. This project is an extension of existing work and newly collected data will be collated with existing data to analyse relationships between emotionality and mediation practices. 

What will you be doing?

  • Collate mediator lists and contact info
  • Arrange and conduct interviews
  • Transcribe interview material
  • Conduct bibliography searches on emotions and mediation using university resources 

What skills will you need?

  • Good communication skills
  • Use of excel 

Learning Outcomes

The placement offers ample research training in interviewing and research design. It will allow the student to develop and strengthen interpersonal and professional skills, time management and collaborative engagement in research. It will also strengthen knowledge with the topic under investigation and allow students to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  


Reactionary Politics in a Populist Era – Greek Trends

Project Supervisor: Tereza Capelos

This placement involves helping Dr. Capelos gather data for a project that investigates the role of political emotions in detecting reactionary orientations in Greece in the context of the financial crisis. The project combines political science and psychology research to examine the affective components of political reactionism, defined as feeling overwhelmed by the present and wanting to return to an imagined and often invented past (Capelos, Katsanidou, Demertzis 2017). 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

In Greece, the European economic crisis has heighted perceptions of personal and social injustice and economic hardship. Citizens express hostility towards international and national institutions, display lower opposition to, and often engagement with, political violence, hold low tolerance towards minorities and outgroups. These elements are fuelled and harnessed for electoral gain by populist anti-immigration, anti-EU, and anti-expert narratives and their representatives. As such, there is a direct link between reactionary political sentiment and populist electoral support, and this project seeks to explore this link conceptually and put it under rigorous empirical test.

The project will code and analyse focus group data of Greek populist party voters (already collected and available by Capelos) and transcribe and code materials from already conducted in-depth qualitative interviews in Greece (available by Capelos). Aim of the analysis is to map and identify the role of emotions on preferences for anti-immigration, anti-EU integration, and anti-expert sentiment. Additionally, the placement involves looking through electronic  databases to identify news stories about the issues and discussion points featured in the focus groups and interviews .

Competency in Greek language is essential for this project as the original data collected (focus groups and interviews) are in Greek. 

What will you be doing?

  • Coding and transcribing of focus group and in-depth interview data (in Greek)
  • Content analysis of news  stories (in Greek)
  • Bibliography searches on emotions and populism 

What skills will you need?

  • Good communication skills
  • Use of excel 

Learning Outcomes

The placement offers ample research training focus group, in-depth interviewing and content analysis research methodologies. It will allow the student to develop and strengthen time management skills and collaborative engagement in research. It will also strengthen knowledge with the topic under investigation and allow students to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  


The role of Resilience in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism

Project Supervisor: Katherine E Brown

The purpose of the project is to understand how the idea of resilience is understood and used in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism initiatives and strategies. The volunteer will participate in mapping the ways in resilience is used in country’s National Action Plans to Prevent or Counter Violent Extremism and in UN agency documentation. 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

What will you be doing?

The volunteer will play a key role in developing our understanding of ‘resilience’ in CVE/PVE by gathering the primary data (National Action Plans from key countries, regional intergovernmental organisations and UN documentation on PVE and CVE) and identifying and coding where and how ‘resilience’ occurs.  If time permits to transform this analysis into a report.

What skills will you need?

  • Strong organisational skills, ability to handle large quantities of material.
  • It is desirable (but not essential) if the candidate has working proficiency in written Arabic or French (where countries or INGOS write official documents in these languages). 

Learning Outcomes

The placement will help you build your data analysis skills, including the use of NVivo. 


Gender Mainstreaming in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism (C/PVE)

Project Supervisor: Katherine E Brown

This project explores how Preventing and Countering Violent extremism have included ideas about ‘gender’. The project builds on Dr Brown’s work for UNWomen and the OCHCR where she has produced gender-mainstreaming guidelines. This project would involve reviewing programmes in Europe and North America and evaluating them in light on the guidelines produced. This review will have implications for policy, design and implementation of C/PVE programming.

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

What will you be doing?

To first identify a limited sample of C/PVE projects from across Europe and North America (as well as to establish inclusion and exclusion criteria). To identify within those projects how gender is included in their ideas of what causes violent extremism, to identify what efforts they make to include women (and at what stages). The project will then involve a comparative analysis and identify ‘good practices’. This is a ‘desk review’ of existing publically available material –including that produced by the practitioner community, policy makers, think tanks and academics. 

What skills will you need?

  • Strong analytical skills, familiarity with feminist or gender based analysis.
  • Ideally working familiarity with one or more European language (as well as English).

Learning Outcomes

The cores skills are developed through the operationalizing abstract concepts: that is mapping core ideas as they materialise in the policy and practitioner realms. The collaborator will develop their research design skills  (through case selection and variable identification) and comparative analytical skills (through looing at different programmes). 


How do primary schools’ educators deal with the Prevent statutory duty? A case study of five Birmingham schools

Project Supervisor: Giuditta Fontana and Raquel da Silva

The purpose of this project is to assess the impact of the Prevent strategy, and how educators navigate the contested and complex landscape of the Prevent duty. Counter-extremism and the prevention of extremism is a complicated field that has infiltrated areas of society not traditionally seen as part of the security nexus, including primary schools. 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

This research will provide a rich, empirical illustration of the impact of the Prevent duty in civil society, specifically in primary education. It will allow for a better understanding of how effective Prevent training has been for teachers, as well as how easily teachers are able to understand the expectations placed upon them. The study is based on semi-structured interviews with primary school staff members as well as an extensive analysis of policy documents and of the secondary literature. 

What will you be doing?

  • Transcription of interview recordings.
  • Creation of interview summaries.
  • Thematic coding of the interviews using the qualitative data analysis software package NVivo.

What skills will you need?

You will have basic understanding of qualitative research methodologies and an interest in counter-extremism.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the project, you will have gained the following skills:

  • A thorough understanding of the Prevent strategy;
  • Experience in transcribing and analysing qualitative data;
  • Experience with the qualitative data analysis software package NVivo;
  • Working both independently and as part of a research team. 

The Cyber Security Dilemma: Challenges to the Liberal Order

Project Supervisor: Nicholas Wheeler and and Dr Marcus Holmes (College of William and Mary, United States) 

This placement would entail working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler and Dr Marcus Holmes (College of William and Mary, United States) on how far existing theories in the field of strategic studies (e.g. deterrence, crisis management etc.) help us to think about the challenge of cyber security. How far does the concept of the security dilemma - one of the key concepts in the field of International Relations - apply to the cyber-realm? How can states signal their peaceful intentions to potential adversaries in cyberspace? Is it possible to distinguish between offensive and defensive cyber-weapons? How can trust be developed between cyber adversaries with a specific focus on Russia and China? 

More about the project: activities, learning outcomes and required skills

What will you be doing?

The placement requires a detailed analysis of the existing literature on cybersecurity threats and how far this literature draws on existing concepts in strategic studies. The volunteer would also examine the cyber-threat posed by Russia and China to the liberal order, and how this might be countered through different strategies, including confidence and security building measures and trust-building. 

Learning Outcomes

The placement will be able to develop and strengthen your skills at collecting research materials and triangulating different sources of data. The volunteer will also gain/strengthen their knowledge about the topic under investigation and will be able to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  

Supervision 

Initial meeting with Professor Wheeler and by skype with Dr Holmes to discuss the objectives and learning outcomes. This will include an introduction to the project and the main sources to be examined, and an overview of the methodologies used. Professor Wheeler will be available throughout the placement to offer further advice and guidance. A debrief will be arranged at the end of the placement with Dr Holmes and Professor Wheeler to assess how the learning objectives have been achieved.


Trust-Building among the P5 and the Concept of Responsible Nuclear Sovereignty

Project Supervisor: Nicholas Wheeler

The purpose of this project is to investigate the possibilities for developing new trust and confidence-building measures among the five Nuclear Weapon States recognized under the 1968 Treaty Against the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). How far is there a P5 nuclear process and what are the possibilities for developing new understandings of responsible nuclear conduct among the P5. How far do new agreements within the P5 need to go beyond nuclear weapons to encompass other strategic weapon systems (e.g. missile defences, new forms of conventional weaponry that can hold at risk nuclear assets, cyber etc.). The project seeks to build a bridge between trust research in IR and the concept of responsible nuclear sovereignty, focusing on the narratives and practices of the P5. 

More about what you will be doing and the skills you will need

What will you be doing?

The volunteer will track using documentary sources, newspaper materials, and other secondary source materials the development of P5 meetings on the nuclear issue since the end of the Cold War. Research will focus on UN Security Council meetings, nuclear summit meetings, NPT Review Conference and Preparatory Committee meetings, as well as dedicated P5 nuclear dialogue meetings. 

Learning Outcomes

The placement will be able to develop and strengthen your skills at collecting research materials and triangulating different sources of data. The volunteer will also gain/strengthen their knowledge about the topic under investigation and will be able to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  

Supervision

Initial meeting with Professor Wheeler and to discuss the objectives and learning outcomes. This will include an introduction to the project and the main sources to be examined. Professor Wheeler will be available throughout the placement to offer further advice and guidance. A debrief will be arranged at the end of the placement with Professor Wheeler to assess how the learning objectives have been achieved.


The Legality and Legitimacy of Armed drone strikes in a European and Transatlantic Context

Project Supervisor: Nicholas Wheeler and David H. Dunn

This placement would entail working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler and Professor David H. Dunn on an Open Society Foundation funded project investigating the legality and legitimacy of UK armed drone strikes in a European and transatlantic context. Specifically, the placement would involve supporting the development of a final report to be produced by December 2018. 

More about what you will be doing and the skills you will need

What will you be doing?

The placement would involve collecting materials on different state perceptions of armed drone strikes and the possibility of a European consensus. This would involve studying internal debates within key European states (UK, France, the Netherlands, and Germany), as well as the views of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The volunteer will also consider how far the UK position is similar/different to the US Government under both the Obama and Trump administrations, and how far there is a new legal consensus among the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ community (UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand).

Learning Outcomes

The placement will be able to develop and strengthen your skills at collecting research materials and triangulating different sources of data. The volunteer will also gain/strengthen their knowledge about the topic under investigation and will be able to use the collected data for dissertation purposes.  

Supervision

Initial meeting to discuss the objectives and learning outcomes. This will include an introduction to the project and the main sources to be examined, and an overview of the methodologies used. Professor Wheeler will be available throughout the placement to offer further advice and guidance. A debrief will be arranged at the end of the placement to assess how the learning objectives have been achieved.

ICCS work placement alumni

Basilio Ghisletta has joined the University of Birmingham by taking part in the MSc Political Psychology of International Relations. He previously completed a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History at the University of Bern, Switzerland. In his dissertation, he explored the applicability of the concept of global justice. His research interests revolve around human rights, the role of trust-building in International Relations, and from a political psychology perspective, the re-emergence of the far-right. At the ICCS Basilio is working with Dr Tereza Capelos on the project ‘Emotion and Young People's Reasoning about Rights’.

Syd Holcombe-Strangeways is an MSc student at the University of Birmingham studying Political Psychology of International Relations, having previously studied Psychology at the University of Bristol. His undergraduate dissertation looked into the relationship between personality traits and political ideology, with specific regard to risk attitudes. His current research interests include how citizens react to international political events and the role of emotionality and rationality in these reactions, as well as how citizens can influence mainstream political discourse. At the ICCS, Syd is working with Dr. Tereza Capelos on the research project ‘Crises, Emotionality and the Media’.

Isabel Hunt holds a BA Honours degree in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds and is currently studying an MSc Global Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham. Research for her undergraduate dissertation focused on the use of modern day mercenaries as an instrument of foreign policy. She has an interest in the security and peace process in the Middle East and the threats made by borderless conflict and modern-day warfare. She is looking forward to working with Dr David Dunn researching the ‘nefarious criminal and terrorist use of unmanned aerial vehicles’.

Gareth Jonas recently completed his undergraduate degree in History and Political Science at the University of Manchester, and is hoping to undertake an MRes in Security, Conflict and Human Rights at the University of Bristol this autumn. His research interests revolve around the politics of securitisation, unrecognised states and the ethics of foreign interventionism. His dissertation focused on the historical formation of Egypt's security state and the securitisation of Islam in the 2013 Revolution. He is participating in the project 'Assessing Success and Failure of UN Peace Operations in Ethnic Conflicts: Capabilities and Context' with Professor Stefan Wolff.

Balvinder Kalon is previously a Finance Graduate; his previous research interests revolved around Corporate Tax Avoidance, Corporate Finance, & Corporate Social Responsibility & Ethics. He is currently a MSc Global Cooperation and Security Student at the University of Birmingham where his interests have focused on Root Causes of Terrorism & Fear, Cooperation & Trust in World Politics. As well as being a student he is also Director of Media & Logistics at Non-For-Profit organisation ‘Nirvair Khalsa Jatha UK’. At the ICCS, Balvinder is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler & Professor David Dunn in researching ‘Decapitation drone strikes and peace processes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen’.

Maria Liszkai is an MSc student at the University of Birmingham in the International Development Department, in the Conflict, Security and Development pathway. She has an interest in conflict areas, post-conflict reconstruction, UN operations and international law. Her undergraduate thesis focused on fragile states in the international context, examining the case study of Somalia. During her undergraduate years as an International Relations student, she worked in several projects in Foundation for Africa in Budapest. In the future she wants to continue her work in humanitarian field specialising in state and peace building process. At the ICCS, Maria is working with Professor Stefan Wolff in the research project ‘Assessing Success and Failure of UN Peace Operations in Ethnic Conflicts: Capabilities and Context’.

Charles McGivern is a current MSc student studying ‘Global Cooperation and Security’, having also completed an undergraduate degree here at the University of Birmingham. His specific interests revolve around the concept of the security dilemma, threat perception and other aspects of political psychology. Charles is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler on his project ‘Great Powers and Nuclear Responsibility’.

Sarah Manouchehri has recently completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Denmark in European Studies. Her dissertation focused on how the humanitarian crisis reshaped the European Union. Sarah has previously worked with NGOs in Germany, which were focus on helping to integrate refugees.  Currently, Sarah is doing her MSc in Global Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests are within security policies and peace studies. At the ICCS, Sarah is examining the project on ‘Assessing Success and Failure of UN peace Operations in Ethic Conflicts: Capabilities and Context’ with Professor Stefan Wolff.

Annabelle Martin-Jones is currently studying an MSc in Political Psychology and recently graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in International Relations. She has a particular interest in humanitarian intervention and human rights, and understanding the varying motives behind those interventions. After taking a module in Strategy and Decision making, she was inspired to really get to grips with the psychological element of politics and she hopes to apply this expertise to research into intervention, conflict and peace operations. At ICCS, she is working with Professor Stefan Wolff on the project 'Assessing Success and Failure of UN Peace Operations in Ethnic Conflicts: Capabilities and Context'.

Isabel Morrell is currently in her final year of undergraduate study at the University of Birmingham studying International Relations with Political Science. This academic year, she is enjoying her modules concerning security, international development and migration. She is interested in the role that identities play in international relations and is writing her dissertation on the Western colonial legacy on states in the Global South. After completing her BA, she is planning to start a Masters in International Security in September 2018. At the ICCS, Isabel is working with Dr Tereza Capelos on a project investigating ‘Emotions and Young People’s Reasoning about Rights’, specifically studying political tolerance and reasoning about ethnic minorities.

Bianka Mozes is currently on the MA International Relations, Contemporary Asia-Pacific program at the University of Birmingham and holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary. Her current interest is the role trust plays in international politics, especially trust in US-China relations. In addition, she is also interested in topics from the East/Southeast-Asian region, such as China-Taiwan relations, North-Korean nuclear program and the South-China Sea dispute. At the ICCS, she is working with Dr. Eszter Simon on the role which emotions, empathy and metaphor play in the ‘role theory’ literature. 

Rapinder Singh is an MSc student at the University of Birmingham on the Global Cooperation and Security programme, with an interest in international diplomacy, the role of trust in International Relations, security challenges in the Asian region and great power dynamics as well as conflict mitigation and negotiation. She recently completed an intensive module on Traditional and Modern Security Challenges at the University of Delhi and completed a first-class BSc (Hons) in International Relations prior to enrolling to University of Birmingham. The focus of her dissertation research is centred on India and its regional and international security challenges and the future of its foreign policy. At the ICCS, Rapinder is working with Dr Eszter Simon on research examining the role of trust in human interactions, and see how it influences human relationships.

Maren Evensen recently completed her undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Manchester and will commence an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s College London this autumn. Her research interests revolve around the politics of security, conflict and war. In particular, she has a keen interest in drone warfare. Her dissertation focused on the potential and likelihood of drone warfare to adhere to jus in bello principles under Just War Theory. During her degree she also completed a research project questioning the legitimacy of the legal and moral justifications for US drone strikes under the Obama administration. At the ICCS Maren is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler on the project ‘The changing legal bases in the US and UK of the use of force outside of traditional zones of military conflict’.

Flavia Mic is an MSc student at the University of Birmingham in Global Cooperation and Security programme, with particular interests in international security, the role of trust in IR, female terrorism and the Middle East area. Prior to enrolling at the University of Birmingham, she worked for one year as a web developer in an Australian-Romanian IT company – this working experience in the cyberspace further cultivated an interest in cyber-security and raised concerns about cyber-security issues and cyber-security policies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Security Studies from Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania). At the ICCS, Flavia is working with Dr. Nicholas Wheeler in the research project investigating the trusting relationships between US and Russian leaders.

Alex Read is currently studying for an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Political Science at the University of Birmingham. His research interests focus on cultural perceptions of human rights and how instances of humanitarian intervention have hindered cooperation between world powers. At the ICCS, Alex is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler on research examining the trusting relationships between US and Russian leaders.

Alice Spilman is currently on the Msc Global Cooperation and Security programme, following completion of an undergraduate degree in Politics from Newcastle University. Her current interests and topics influencing her dissertation are around trust, the security dilemma and images of the self and enemies. She has an interest in a wide range of other topics, which include nuclear weapons and South Asia. She recently completed an intensive module on South Asian security at the University of Delhi and represented the UK on the nuclear planning committee at an international model UN held in Washington DC.

Tawnni Castaño de la Cuesta holds a BA Honours degree in Global Justice and a minor in World Politics from Leiden University College The Hague. She is currently a LLB for Graduates student at the University of Birmingham. Tawnni’s bachelor thesis focussed on international law and the use and regulation of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) participating in anti-piracy operations. She is interested in peace and conflict studies, international humanitarian law and human rights law, in particular with respect to Non-State Actors during conflicts. At the ICCS, Tawnni is working with Dr. Giuditta Fontana on a project regarding education and peace in deeply divided societies with the Netherlands as a case study.

Diana Dascalu is an undergraduate student in Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She spent a year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied Political Science. While in the United States, she completed an internship with the Cline Center for Democracy, where she researched ethnic and religious groups from around the world and conducted a preliminary analysis on the topic of sub-state violence as a result of demographic change and inconsistency in social status. She is interested in conflict, particularly terrorism, and is planning on starting a Master’s in International Security in the fall of 2017. At the ICCS, she is working with Dr. Nicholas Wright on the Psychology in Gray Zone Conflicts project.

Kiran Manku is on the MSc International Development course, following her undergraduate degree in Psychology with Year Abroad. She is interested in the development of minority groups and group cohesion, but also decision-making and international relations. Kiran has previously completed research on political ideology, moral foundations, and prejudice.

Fadhila Inas Pratiwi is currently studying an MA International Relations (Security) at University of Birmingham and holds a bachelor degree in International Relations from Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia. She is interested in foreign policy making process which part of her undergraduate dissertation, she also focuses on conflict and terrorism studies, and international security studies. Right now, she is working with Dr. Nicholas Wright in The Psychology in Gray Zone Conflicts project.

Olga Pyshkina is a Chevening Scholar, currently studying for a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in the International Development Department (IDD) the University of Birmingham. Her research interests focus mainly on the foreign policy of Russia, its previous and current relations with the West, as well as the influence, ideology and role of the Russian Orthodox Church in domestic policy and international relations. She holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the State Saint-Petersburg University of Economics and Finance (Russia). During her studies she has also received experience with simulations, attending Model UN in Saint -Petersburg, Russia.

Jessica Rowley is currently an MA International Relations student at the University of Birmingham with a BA History from the same university. After undertaking research on the politics of representation she is now interested in pursuing research on the continued impact Cold War constructions of security on international security regimes, transnational terrorism, and U.S. attempts to democratise the Middle East. After completing her studies, she aims to work within an independent policy institute on international defence and security with a view to later pursuing a career in diplomatic service. She is currently working with Dr Eszter Simon on a project investigating the Moscow- Washington Hotline as a trust institution seeking to determine whether the Hotline can offer trust for leaders in crises and also beyond the emergency circumstances for which it was created

Anatolijs Torbenko is currently studying an MSc in Global Cooperation and Security within the School of Government and Society at the University of Birmingham. Holding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Economics, obtained at Pskov State University (Russia), his research interests are connected to the role of political, economic and social institutions in developing trust and cooperation in the Central and Eastern Europe.

Eleanor Smith recently completed an MSc in International Public Policy at UCL, where her interests included post-war development and the governance of divided societies. Her dissertation examined economic policy in post-conflict de facto states. Eleanor also holds a BA in History with Spanish from UCL, during which she focussed on modern history, ranging from American progressivism to inter-war Eastern Europe. At the ICCS, Eleanor is working with Professor Paul Jackson on a paper examining violence in post-peace agreement Nepal.

Mariama Hassan-Balogun is currently studying an MSc in Global Cooperation and Security within POLSIS at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include Terrorism and Social Justice; she is currently researching rising islamophobia in the UK and how it links to radicalisation.

Federica de Pantz holds an MA and an undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Bologna. While her undergraduate major was in Sociology, she focused on International Relations of East Asia during her Master’s, and completed a dissertation on the international role of South Korea as a Middle Power. At the ICCS, Federica is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler on a research project investigating the role of trust in the case of South Korea’s international relations. She is also editing the ICCS Blog with articles on such topics

Charles Sainsbury is a graduate of International Relations with Political Science at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include European security and critical security theory and he plans on studying an MA in International Relations in the future. He is currently working with Professor Mark Webber researching NATO discourses on Russia and Ukraine and on debates surrounding British defence expenditure.

Paula Stoleru is a graduate of International Relations with Political Science and currently completing an MA in International Relations (International Peacekeeping) at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on human trafficking and gender based violence in crisis situations. Other research interests include Securitisation theory, with a particular focus on the Securitisation of migration.  After participating in the ICCS Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme, Paula has undertaken a work placement at the institute. She is currently working with Dr Dawn Walsh researching the frozen conflict between Moldova and Transnistria.

Hannah Caswell holds an LLB Honours in Law from the University of Warwick and has recently completed an MA in International Relations (Security) at the University of Birmingham. She focused her post-graduate studies on issues of civil war, state-building and post-conflict peacebuilding in the African region and this is where her current interests continue to lie. Actively involved in the Institute, she is attached to the state-building and intervention research cluster . Hannah was a project officer supporting the Institute’s first Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme. For this she undertook the production of a thorough preparation handbook for the events participants, in addition to logistics for the event. She is also sub-editor on the Institute’s bi-annual publication and has been responsible for collating and designing the news and events section of the publication.

Simon-copelandSimon Copeland completed an MA in International Security Studies and an undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Leicester. He has been actively involved in a number of projects at the ICCS, including rapporteur work to produce an official policy report for the workshop 'NATO and Emerging Security Challenges; Researching for a key development policy report 'Decentralisation, Peace agreements and Post-conflict reconstruction' and undertaking rapporteur work for the workshop 'Responding to Uprising: Urban Security between Resilience and Resistance'.

Scott Edwards completed an MA in International relations (Asia-Pacific) at the University of Birmingham and an undergraduate degree in History and International Relations at Coventry University. He is currently working on his PhD proposals and finalising his contributions as a country assessor for two countries in Transparency International’s Government and Defence Anti-Corruption report.

Nawaz-HanifNawaz Hanif is a graduate of International Relations and Politics and is currently completing his Masters in Security Studies at the University of Birmingham. His current research explores ontological inquiries of drone technology and covert warfare and how potential changes may be affecting military and media narratives. Nawaz is a former Death Penalty Investigator at the legal action charity REPRIEVE, primarily investigating torture and drug trafficking. He was often drafted to undertake desk-based research around covert drone warfare in Pakistan and facilitated a surprise visit to Pakistan by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights in Spring 2013. At the ICCS, Nawaz is assisting the team working on The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States."

Richard Judd completed an MA in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and an undergraduate degree in International Relations of the University of the West of England. His research focuses are on Security and Development and Conflict Transformation. Richard is attached to both the Cooperation and Trust-building cluster, and the State-building and Intervention cluster. His current projects include working with the Institute’s Director, Professor Nick Wheeler, on Trustbuilding in Iran, undertaking intensive research into the Obama Administration’s outreach to Iran and also working with Professor Paul Jackson on a research project looking at reintegration of Maoist Combatants in Nepal. For this project Richard is undertaking systematic research on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.

George May is currently studying an MA International Relations (Security) and completed his undergraduate degree in Politics and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and the National University of Singapore.  He is involved in research being undertaken by the ICCS into the Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States, specifically the relationships between the US, the Yemeni government and sub-state groups operating in Yemen.  He is more generally interested in research projects examining security threats emerging from new technologies.

Natalie-PalmerNatalie Palmer is currently studying for MA in International Relations (Diplomacy) at the University of Birmingham and holds an undergraduate degree in Transatlantic Studies and International Relations from the University of Dundee.  Her current research focus is the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, primarily looking at the constraints and credibility of the foreign and security policy of an independent Scotland, in comparison with the foreign and security policies of the Nordic states.  Having participated in the ICCS Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme in April 2014, Natalie has now joined the Institute on a work experience placement. Natalie has considerable experience with simulations, attending Model UN and Model NATO conferences as both a chair and a delegate. Therefore, her research within the Institute is focused upon formulating the simulation aspect for the 2015 training programme, including finding a suitable topic and forum upon which to model the simulation.

Joanna Skelt recently completed her PhD thesis on ‘The Social Function of Writing in Post-war Sierra Leone: Poetry as a Discourse for Peace’ at the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham. She is working on the development of an interdisciplinary Creativity and Conflict Transformation programme for the ICCS. This will explore how creative narratives and the process of participation and production of such narratives aid our understanding of conflict and contribute to its transformation and will include case studies in varied settings. Jo has worked as an educational author writing citizenship and social studies materials in West Africa and the UK and is also a creative writer. Most recently she has worked on projects combining literature, community engagement and social cohesion in Birmingham.

RVrabeludi Vrabel is a postgraduate student of International Political Economy with an interest in forging links between political economy and the field of security. During his undergraduate studies he was interested in the increasing link between security and economic development in Afghanistan, and particularly the relationship between NATO and the World Bank, which he also published on during one of his professional experiences. Whilst at the institute Rudi has analysed the issue of cooperation in international finance, where traditional entrepreneurial conflict and (in)security in the markets are increasingly becoming accompanied by unwanted collaboration among interconnected and loosely regulated private international financial institutions. Rudi’s work was published on the institute’s blog as well as in a Slovak financial newspaper. He has recently secured a position of junior financial analyst, where he continues to analyze trends in political economy and finance.

Véronique Rodriguez Perez is currently studying for an MA in International Relations (Security) within POLSIS, and completed a BA in International Relations at the University of Geneva. She is currently supporting two research projects on transitional justice and terrorism. She has developed a strong interest in researching the root causes of terrorism as well as the privatisation of security.

How to apply

Please contact Cecilia Davis by email at c.c.davis@bham.ac.uk or via phone on 0121 414 8683 and she will contact you with further information.  

ICCS work placement videos

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