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In September 2016, I joined the Department as a Lecturer in War Studies. I specialise in the International Relations of Asia, with a focus on China and the security of that region as it relates to nuclear weapons.

I am affiliated to the Asian Security & Warfare Research Group and the Centre for Science and Security Studies and the Centre for Grand Strategy in the Department of War Studies. I hold degrees from the University of Aberystwyth (BScEcon (Hons) International Politics and Strategic Studies), the London School of Economics and Political Science (MSc International Relations), and the University of Oxford (MPhil Modern Chinese Studies and DPhil International Relations, both St. Antony’s College).

Immediately prior to my appointment at King’s, from 2015-16, I was a Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Before Sheffield, I spent several years at the University of Oxford, where I completed my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Professor Rosemary Foot, and conducted early career research. My early career research at Oxford included a Junior Research Fellowship (2012) and a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2012-15), both mentored by Professor Andrew Hurrell in the Department of Politics and International Relations. During this time, I was also a Stipendiary Lecturer in International Relations for Trinity College, University of Oxford (2014-15) and the specialist tutor on the International Relations of Asia for the International Politics Summer School at St. Antony’s College.

I have held visiting positions abroad, at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China (mentored by Professor Li Bin, from 2010-11) and a pre-doctoral fellowship at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California (Winter 2011, mentored by Professor Jing Dong Yuan). Before my studies at Oxford, I was a research fellow at King’s College London, conducting research for Professor Wyn Bowen on nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia. During this time I also published peer-reviewed articles on Jihadist terrorism in Spain in collaboration with Professor Javier Jordan of the University of Granada in Spain.

Dr Leveringhaus holds a British Academy Small Research Grant (SG171630) to study early Chinese nuclear thinking between 1945 and 1949, in particular Communist and Nationalist approaches to the bomb.

She is also a Research Associate of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme at the University of Oxford 

Research Interests

My areas of interests include:

  • International Relations of Asia
  • Chinese foreign and security policy (past and present)
  • Asian security, especially as it relates to nuclear weapons
  • Global ordering and rising/resurgent powers

In October 2017, Dr Leveringhaus was awarded a two year British Academy Small Research Grant (SG171630) to study early Chinese nuclear thinking between 1945 and 1949, in particular Communist and Nationalist approaches to the bomb.

Publications (in press and under contract)


(2015) Nicola Horsburgh, China and Global Nuclear Order, from estrangement to active engagement (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Nominated for the ECPR Hedley Bull Prize in 2017.

(2014) Nicola Horsburgh, Astrid Nordin and Shaun Breslin, eds., Chinese Politics and International Relations: Innovation and Invention (London: Routledge).

Book chapters

(Forthcoming)  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).

(Forthcoming) 'Beyond de-nuclearization: Debating deterrence and North Korea in Asia’s new nuclear age', Review Essay, Asian Security.

(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 2019.

(2018) H-Diplo/ISSF Online forum review of Diplomacy & Statecraft 29: 1-2 March 2018.

(2018) ‘Beyond “hangovers”: the new parameters of post-Cold War nuclear strategy’, 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, ‘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).

(2014) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘Innovation through debate and differentiation: Chinese nuclear doctrine since the reform era’, in Nicola Horsburgh, Astrid Nordin and Shaun Breslin, eds., Chinese Politics and International Relations: Innovation and Invention (London: Routledge).

(2007) Nicola Horsburgh and Javier Jordan, ‘Politics vs. Terrorism: The Madrid Case’ in George Kassimeris, Playing Politics with Terrorism: A User’s Guide, (Hurst and Co.: London).

(2005) Nicola Horsburgh and Javier Jordan, ‘Spain: Islamic extremism’, in Karin Von Hippel, ed., Europe Confronts Terrorism, (Palgrave Macmillan: New York).

Journal articles

(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.

(2012) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘Il Paradigma Cinese: Deterrenza al risparmio’ [The Chinese paradigm: the cost-effectiveness of deterrence], Limes, 19 June, pp. 105-113.

(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.

(2006) Nicola Horsburgh and Javier Jordan, ‘Spain and Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of the Threat and Response 1995-2005, Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 11 (2), pp. 209-229.

(2005) Nicola Horsburgh and Javier Jordan, ‘Mapping Jihadist Terrorism in Spain’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 28 (5), pp.169-191.


(2018) “Chinese reactions to the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review”, commissioned research report for Oxford Analytica, May.

(2017) “Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States", commissioned H-diplo ISSF Article Review 85, 5 October 2017 

(2017) ‘Why North Korea Went Nuclear’ BBC History Magazine, September 2017.

(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.

(2016) ‘China and the UK’s EU membership: questions beyond the referendum’, SPERI blog, 21 June.

(2016) China and Brexit, commissioned policy brief for Oxford Analytica, June.

(2016) Recent Chinese nuclear weapons developments, commissioned policy brief for Oxford Analytica, May.

(2015) ‘Why China joined the nuclear club’, The Conversation, 15 June.

(2014) Nicola Horsburgh and Matthew Harries, ‘Towards the 2015 NPT Review Conference’, Wilton Park conference report, February.

(2013) Nicola Horsburgh ‘Responsibility to participate? China and multilateral arms control in the global nuclear order’, Proceedings of the Inaugural British International Studies Association Global Nuclear Order Working Group Conference, 19 September.

(2013) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘Q&A: China Across the Divide: the domestic and global in politics and society’, Politics in Spires blog, 15 October.

(2013) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘Debating China’s North Korea Policy’, Politics in Spires blog, 30 May,

(2013) Nicola Horsburgh, ‘North Korea’s third nuclear test – what’s different this time round?’ Politics in Spires blog, 13 February.


  • Chinese Military Power (BA third year module, convener)
  • War and Strategy in East Asia (BA second year module, contributor)
  • Empires, Imperialism and History of the Modern World (BA second year module, contributor)
  • East Asian Security (MA module, convener)
  • Proliferation and International Security (MA module, contributor)

PhD Supervision

I am not available for primary supervision in 2017-2018.

I currently supervise students in the following areas:

  • International Relations of Asia
  • Chinese foreign and security policy
  • Nuclear weapons and Asian security
  • Global ordering and the politics of rising/resurgent powers in Asia


My research focuses on Chinese nuclear weapons issues, both past and present, culminating in the recent publication of my book China and Global Nuclear Order, from estrangement to active engagement. The book offers an in-depth study of China’s engagement with the messy process of global nuclear ordering from 1949 to 2012. During my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, I conducted research on the concept of nuclear weapons responsibility, with an emphasis on contemporary China. I am currently preparing a series of publications from this fellowship, including work on nuclear ethics and a comparative piece on Chinese and Indian conceptions of nuclear restraint. My next research project will go beyond China to explore the early atomic age in Asia.

Since 2006, I have secured several research grants, including ESRC British Inter-University China Centre (BICC) funding for MPhil and DPhil studies at the University of Oxford (2006-2011); a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2012-15) and a British Academy Advanced Language Training Grant (2013).

I regularly contribute to IR blogs, and I have been commissioned to write pieces for Oxford Analytica and IRCEM. More recently, in January 2016, I was invited to join the editorial board on Contemporary Security Policy.

Public Engagement

My recent public speaking events include a short talk on nuclear weapons after the screening of the ‘War Book’ film at the Phoenix Cinema in Oxford in 2014, and a ‘teach-in’ on Brexit at the University of Sheffield in 2016. Since 2012, I have participated in a number of track 2 dialogues on nuclear issues between the United Kingdom and China.