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Politics and International Relations

Centre for African Studies (JPEG, 17KB)

Research on the theme of Politics and International Relations is based around the core of leading researchers working on Peace Studies.

Peace Studies (PS) is one of the leading centres in the world for peace and conflict research and is widely recognised for its influential work with a wide range of policy, civil society and other user groups both in the UK and abroad. 

Our mission statement asserts that: ‘We combine empirical, theoretical and applied research with sustained engagement at international, regional, national and local levels to analyse, prevent and resolve conflicts and develop peaceful societies. We aim for an enabling environment for international research excellence involving diverse and critical approaches.’

Research is organised around three broad research themes:

  • History and International Studies
  • Agency and Activism
  • Development and Political Economy

 A distinctive feature of research activity in PS is that there is a shared focus on (a) issues of peace (both positive and negative) and conflict broadly defined as well as (b) the dissemination of research results to the wider user community via policy and practice-orientated outputs (see the SSIS REF impact policy).

This latter aspect of our work has been particularly achieved through the work of three research centres: the International Centre for Participation Studies (ICPS), the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre (BDRC) - both submitted as impact case studies in the 2014 REF – and the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS).


Three refereed journals are edited by staff in Peace Studies:

  • International Peacekeeping:
  • Journal of Latin American Studies
  • Central and Eastern European Review 

In addition PS research students also produce an online refereed journal: 


REF Public Engagement and Impact Policy

REF (Research Excellence Framework) Public Engagement and Impact Policy for the Faculty of Social Sciences.


Impact is any benefit, change or effect felt outside academia stemming from research undertaken by staff in FoSS. Impact could be summarised as a benefit, change or effect to the thoughts and/or practices of non-academic users or stakeholders arising from the dissemination of research or research-informed types of public engagement. It can also include activity such as holding public or private bodies to account or subjecting proposed changes in society, public policy, business practices, and so on to public scrutiny. Such holding to account or public scrutiny may have had the effect of a proposed change not taking place, and this may of itself be claimed as impact or benefit. There may also be examples of research findings having been communicated to, but not necessarily acted upon, by the intended audience, but which nevertheless make a contribution to critical public debate.

Public engagement activity is research-informed activity designed to lead to demonstrable benefit, change or effect, but should not of itself be claimed as impact without evidence of some benefit, change or effect beyond the engagement activity itself.

FoSS Approach to Public Engagement and Impact

The aim of the Faculty’s policy in this area is to create a facilitating environment that will aid and encourage staff to maximise public engagement with their research (e.g. on the part of government, local authorities, the private sector, civil society or the media) in order to enhance the potential for research to:

  • Influence critical public debate
  • Benefit, change or effect the practices of non-academic users
  • School Policy is focussed on encouraging the following types of public engagement and impact activity
  • Training for outside bodies
  • Policy advice
  • Research-informed consultancy work
  • Membership of committees and advisory bodies
  • Provision of evidence to parliamentary committees
  • Support for secondments
  • Media activity

Impact Policy


  • Faculty Research Support Fund to include an allocation for impact activities
  • Annual Faculty Impact Activity award
  • Maintain existing allocation of workload points for KT work
  • Role of Faculty Research administrator (Chris Kelly) to include support for impact

Integrating Impact into Performance Criteria

  • Annual Research Monitoring Meetings to include evaluation of impact activity
  • Annual Performance meeting to include evaluation of impact activity

Monitoring and Reviewing Impact Performance

  • Develop School-wide Impact Monitoring System to collect data on impact
  • Institute regular review of impact data to inform further development of strategy

Advertising Impact Activities

  • Redesign website to highlight impact activities
  • Where relevant Faculty, Division and Research Centre websites to include sections on public engagement and impact