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Dr Nicola  Leveringhaus

Dr Nicola Leveringhaus

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Senior Lecturer

Research subject areas

  • Conflict
  • International relations
  • Security

Contact details


Dr Leveringhaus specialises in the International Relations of Asia, with a focus on China and the security of that region, especially as it relates to nuclear weapons.

In September 2016 she joined the Department of War Studies from the University of Sheffield, where she was a Lecturer in International Politics. Dr Leveringhaus was previously a Junior Research Fellow (2012), a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2012-15) and Stipendiary Lecturer in International Relations (2014-15) at the University of Oxford. Nicola completed her DPhil at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Rosemary Foot. Her thesis examined China’s engagement with the global nuclear order since 1949.

During her doctoral studies, she was a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and a pre-doctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California.

Prior to starting her DPhil, Dr Leveringhaus was a research fellow at the then International Policy Institute based in King’s College London, conducting research for Professor Wyn Bowen on nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia. During this time, she also conducted research on Jihadist terrorism with Professor Javier Jordan of the University of Granada in Spain.


  • BScEcon (Hons) International Politics and Strategic Studies, University of Aberystwyth
  • MA International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • MPhil Modern Chinese Studies, University of Oxford
  • DPhil, International Relations, University of Oxford
  • Fellowship Higher Education Academy, King’s College London


Research Interests

  • International Relations of Asia
  • East Asian Security
  • Nuclear weapons in China and Asia (including historical aspects)
  • Conceptions of nuclear ordering (regional and global) as well as responsibility

Nicola’s current research falls under three areas: early Chinese nuclear weapons history; contemporary China-India nuclear weapons relations; and conceptions of responsibility across regional and global forms of nuclear order.

Her work on early Chinese nuclear history draws initially from a Briitish Academy Small Research Grant (SG171630), but has developed into a broader agenda which examines how a state’s nuclear past is used in the present through commemoration. Dr Leveringhaus is currently working on several publications in this vein, including a jointly authored article surveying global forms of nuclear commemoration with Dr Rebecca Gibbons.

Dr Leveringhaus’ work on China-India relations is part of a collaborative working relationship with Dr Kate Sullivan de Estrada. Nicola is currently also a Research Associate in the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme at the University of Oxford.




Book chapters

  • (Forthcoming) The Chinese Nuclear Program, in Leopoldo Nuti and Christian F Ostermann, eds., The Cambridge History of the Nuclear Age (Cambridge University Press).
  • (Forthcoming) ‘Nuclear Order at Sea: The Indo-Pacific’, in Alessio Patalano and James Russell, eds., Maritime Strategy and Naval Innovation (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press)
  • (2020) with Kate Sullivan de Estrada, 'Chinese and Indian Competitive Nuclear Restraint in the Global Nuclear Order', in Kanti Bajpai, Manjari Chatterjee Miller and Selina Ho, eds., Routledge Handbook on China-India Relations (Routledge).
  • (2018) Leveringhaus, N ‘Beyond “hangovers”: the new parameters of post-Cold War nuclear strategy’ for the Strategic Defense Studies Centre 50th Anniversary Volume (Sydney: Australia National University).
  • (2017) with Andrew Hurrell, ‘Great power cooperation, nuclear weapons and concerts of power’ in Great Power Multilaterism and the Prevention of War, Carsten Rauch and Harald Muller, eds., (London: Routledge).
  • (2015) Nicola Horsburgh (Leveringhaus), ‘Chinese views of a nuclear India, from the 1974 PNE to the NSG waiver’, in Kate Sullivan, ed., Competing visions of India: India's Rise Beyond the West (Palgrave).

Research articles

  • (2019) 'Beyond de-nuclearization: Debating deterrence and North Korea in Asia’s new nuclear age', Review Essay, Asian Security.
  • (2018) “Between conformity and innovation: China’s and India’s quest for status as responsible nuclear powers” with Kate Sullivan de Estrada, Review of International Studies, 1-22. doi:10.1017/S0260210518000013
  • (2012) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘Change and innovation in Chinese nuclear weapons strategy’, China Information, 26(2), pp.185–204.
  • (2008) Nicola Horsburgh, Fernando Mañas and Javier Jordan, ‘Strengths and Weaknesses of Grassroot Jihadist Networks: The Madrid Bombings’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 31(1), pp.17-39.
  • (2005) Nicola Horsburgh and Javier Jordan, ‘Mapping Jihadist Terrorism in Spain’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 28 (5), pp.169-191.

Policy papers

  • (Forthcoming) The Economics of Strategic Stability in US-China relations, August 2022, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) (2022) Chinese Nuclear Force Modernization and Doctrinal Change, commissioned by IFRI, 19 August
  • (2022) with Professor Pacheco Pardo, Security and Defence in the Indo-Pacific: What Is at Stake for the EU and its Strategy, commissioned by EU Parliament
  • (2019) 'China, the United Kingdom and Global Nuclear Diplomacy', part of a collective submission from the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS), King's College London, to the House of Lords Inquiry on Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and Nuclear Disarmament, February.
  • (2019) 'China and Nuclear Deterrence on the Korean Peninsula: Prospects for Stability', report for King's College London (KCL)-Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS) Symposium on Japan, China, the United States: What Future for East Asia?12 February.
  • (2016) ‘Nuclear weapons developments in China’, commissioned for the periodical of the Institut de recherche stratégique de l'École militaire (IRSEM), the Institute for Strategic Research in Paris, August.

Media articles

For a full list of publications please see the Research Portal



I co-convene the following modules in the Department of War Studies:

  • 5SSW2001 War and Strategy in East Asia (second year BA module, not 2022-23)
  • 6SSW3005 Contemporary Strategy in East Asia (third year BA module)
  • 7SSWM110 East Asian Security (MA module)
  • 6SSW3047 United States and China (third year BA module)
  • 7SSWN204 United States and China (MA module)

PhD Supervision

Principal supervisor

  • Richard Jao
  • Christina Smikop Dahl
  • Axel Dessein
  • Paul Choi

Dr Leveringhaus is unable to accept any new PhD students for academic year 2022-23