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Dr Nikki Ikani currently works as a postdoctoral research associate on an ESRC-funded project entitled Foreign Policy and Intelligence in an Era of Surprise (INTEL).

Her research agenda consists of two main strands. The first is foreign policy change. Drawing inspiration from the works of amongst others Peter Hall, Charles Hermann and Kathleen Thelen, she approaches foreign policy change at the intersection of foreign policy analysis, public policy studies and EU studies. She has articulated this interdisciplinary approach in her forthcoming book with Manchester University Press which provides a typology of foreign policy change at the European level.

Her second strand of research concerns intelligence production and use in foreign policy. An important question she addresses in the INTEL project is how estimative intelligence can help European foreign policymakers to be less frequently and completely surprised. More specifically, she assesses processes of warning intelligence and estimative intelligence in the UK, Germany and the European Union with regard to two distinct recent strategic surprises: the Arab uprisings and the Ukraine conflict. INTEL is focused on understanding the utility of estimative intelligence in a European setting, rather than the frequently studied US context.

She completed her PhD at King's College London in 2017 with a thesis on EU foreign policy change, exploring how it is possible to improve our conceptualisation of foreign policy change and the various forms it may take using a novel historical institutionalist approach. Her thesis was shortlisted for the 2018 Global Strategy PhD Prize, awarded by Egmont and the European Security and Defence College. She holds a Master's degree in European Affairs from Sciences Po Paris (2012) and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam, which was awarded cum laude in 2010. Before that she obtained a Bachelor in Public Policy from Utrecht University (2008).

She regularly writes for non-academic media outlets in English, Dutch and French. She equally taught several modules at Leiden University, the European and International Studies Department as well as the Department of Political Economy. In 2016, she won the LSE Dahrendorf Essay Competition with an essay on the EU’s response to the Ukraine crisis.


  • European Union Foreign Policy
  • European Neighbourhood Policy
  • The EU in the World
  • Policy change
  • Historical Institutionalism
  • Foreign Policy Analysis