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Francesca graduated from the MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy at Leiden University and the Clingendael Institute. Under the supervision of Dr. Frans-Paul van der Putten, she wrote her graduation thesis on the political impact of Chinese foreign direct investments in Greece and Italy. During that time, she interned at the European Parliament for the Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee and worked as assistant at Leiden University for Prof. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs and Secretary General of NATO. Previously, she obtained her Laurea Triennale in Asian languages, markets and cultures (curriculum China) from the University of Bologna.

Currently, Francesca is a PhD candidate at King’s College London where she has been awarded the Leverhulme Scholarship as part of the project ‘Interrogating Visions of a Post-Western World: Interdisciplinary and Interregional Perspectives on the Future in a Changing International Order’. At KCL, she is also a fellow at the Centre for Grand Strategy. Francesca is a research fellow at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Rome, through which she has been contributing to the work of the European Think tank Network on China (ETNC). She is also a geopolitical consultant at CQS, a London-based hedge fund and a contributor to the Global China Map (The Australian National University) to be published in Spring 2021.


Research Interests

  • EU- China
  • Foreign direct investments
  • Securitization
  • UK-China
  • Italy-China
  • Economic security





The securitization of Chinese foreign direct investments in the EU

The phenomenon of foreign direct investments (FDI) originating from China and flowing into the European Union has been receiving growing attention, particularly in light of the implications Chinese FDI carry that transcend economy. This research seeks to give its contribution to the state of the art by looking at the phenomenon through the lens of the theory of securitisation of non-traditional security issues (NTS). Rather than measuring the nature, scope and impact of Chinese FDI in the EU, this project seeks to understand why the EU and two of its member states, Italy and the UK, have begun to view Chinese FDI as a security threat and thus, transformed an economic matter into a security concern.


Dr Nicola Leveringhaus

Dr Jan Knoerich