Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams

Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams

Social Sciences
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences

Contact details

CoSS Hub Manager and Executive Assistant: Kate Chamberlain
View my research portal
College of Social Sciences
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams FAcSS, is Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham where he is also Professor of International Politics. He holds an Honorary Professorship in Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick.

Professor Vaughan-Williams’ programme of research - supported by grants from the British Academy, UK Economic and Social Research Council, and Leverhulme Trust - focuses on the international politics of borders, migration, and security. He is a former recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding research in Politics and International Studies and Gold Winner of the Association for Borderlands Studies Past Presidents' Book Award. His research findings have been presented to the EU Commission, Frontex, the UK Cabinet Office, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the UK Home Office, and the Maltese Presideny. 

Professor Vaughan-Williams' latest research monographs are Vernacular Border Security and Reclaiming Migration (with Vicki Squire, Nina Perkowski, and Dallal Stevens). Earlier books include Europe's Border CrisisEveryday Security Threats (with Daniel Stevens) and Border Politics. He is also co-author (with Columba Peoples) of Critical Security Studies, now in its third edition, and founding co-editor (with Jenny Edkins) of the Routledge Interventions book series which has published more than 150 titles in the interdisciplinary study of international politics. He is on the Editorial Boards of Political Geography and Alternatives: Global, Local, Political.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Chair of the Academy’s Forum for Leaders in Social Sciences.


Before joining the University of Birmingham, Professor Vaughan-Williams was at the University of Warwick for 14 years, latterly as Vice-Provost and Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences (2021-24) and Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies (2015-18 and 2019-21). As Professor of International Security he was Director of the MA in International Relations and contributed to the delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in International Relations and Security. He has supervised/examined more than 30 PhD students and acted as mentor for multiple post-doctoral researchers funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Earlier in his career, he held lectureships in International Relations at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Exeter. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and holds degrees in Modern History and International Relations from the University of Oxford (BA and MA), the University of Warwick (MA), and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (PhD).


Externally-funded research programmes as PI/Co-I

(2023-28) Economic and Social Research Council, Impact Accelerator Account, Round 3: Warwick (ES/X004635/1). Discipline Lead/Co-I from 2023-24.

(2019-23) Economic and Social Research Council, Impact Accelerator Account, Round 2: Warwick (ES/T502054/1). PI from 2021-23.

(2016-19) The Leverhulme Trust, 'Everyday Narratives of European Border Security and Insecurity' (2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Politics and International Relations, PLP-2015-081) (PI).

(2015-17) Economic and Social Research Council, 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences' (ES/N013646/1) (Co-I), with Vicki Squire (PI), Dallal Stevens, Angeliki Dimitriadi, and Maria Pisani.

(2013-15) Economic and Social Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Dstl, 'Science and Security: Research Impact and Co-Production of Knowledge' (ES/K011367/1) (Co-I), with Jon Coaffee (PI), Stuart Croft, George Christou, and Oz Hassan.

(2012-13) Economic and Social Research Council, 'Public Perceptions of Threat in Britain: Security in an Age of Austerity' (ES/J004596/1) (Co-I), with Daniel Stevens (PI).

(2011) British Academy-National Science Foundation Taiwan, 'European-East Asian Critical Border Studies' (JP100035) (PI), with Joyce C. H. Liu.

(2007-8) British Academy, 'Lines in the Sand? Non-Territorial Bordering Practices in Global Politics' (SG-50847) (PI), with Noel Parker.

(2003-6) Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, 'Border Studies Research Studentship', Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. 


Recent publications


Squire, V, Perkowski, N, Stevens, D & Vaughan-Williams, N 2021, Reclaiming migration: Voices from Europe's 'migrant crisis'. Manchester University Press. <>

Vaughan-Williams, N 2021, Vernacular border security: Citizens’ narratives of europe’s ‘migration crisis’. Oxford University Press.

Vaughan-Williams, N 2017, Europe's Border Crisis: Biopolitical Security and Beyond. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Vaughan-Williams, N & Zehfuss, M 2024, 'From Security-Space to Time-Race: Reimaging borders and migration in global politics', International Political Sociology.

Stevens, D, Bulmer, S, Banducci, S & Vaughan-Williams, N 2021, 'Male warriors and worried women? Understanding gender and perceptions of security threats', European Journal of International Security , vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 44-65.

Vaughan-Williams, N & Pisani, M 2020, 'Migrating borders, bordering lives: everyday geographies of ontological security and insecurity in Malta', Social and Cultural Geography, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 651-673.

Löfflmann, G & Vaughan-Williams, N 2018, 'Vernacular imaginaries of european border security among citizens: From walls to information management', European Journal of International Security , vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 382-400.

Croft, S & Vaughan-Williams, N 2017, 'Fit for purpose? Fitting ontological security studies ‘into’ the discipline of International Relations: Towards a vernacular turn', Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 12-30.

McConnell, F, Kuus, M, Jeffrey, A, Crawley, H, Vaughan-Williams, N & Smith, A 2017, 'Interventions on Europe's political futures', Political Geography, vol. 60, pp. 261-271.

Little, A & Vaughan-Williams, N 2017, 'Stopping boats, saving lives, securing subjects: Humanitarian borders in Europe and Australia', European Journal of International Relations, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 533-556.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Vaughan-Williams, N 2020, Re-Thinking Borders, Sovereignty, and Law: Carl Schmitt, Giorgio Agamben and the "Nomos" of Contemporary Political Life'. in Border, Sovereignty, Law. National Chiao Tung University Press.


Löfflmann, G & Vaughan-Williams, N 2017, 'Narrating identity, border security and migration: critical focus groups and the everyday as problematic', Critical Studies on Security , vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 207-211.

Other contribution

Vaughan-Williams, N & Stevens, DJ 2020, Was the UK public prepared for a pandemic? Fear and awareness before Covid-19. London School of Economics and Political Science. <>

Vaughan-Williams, N & Lofflmann, G 2017, European citizens want information on migration - not higher walls. The Conversation (Online). <>

Other report

Vaughan-Williams, N, Squire, V, Dimitriadi, A, Perkowski, N & Stevens, DJ 2017, Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and documenting migratory journeys and experiences - final project report. <>

View all publications in research portal