Dr Christopher Hobbs
Reader in Science & Security
Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS)
Department of War Studies
King's College London
Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1433 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2748
Office Hours: By appointment only
I am Reader in Science and Security in the Department of War Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS). I hold a Ph.D in physics from the University of London and a MPhys from Oxford University. Before taking up a lectureship at King’s I worked as a Research Fellow funded the Leverhulme (2010-2012) and MacArthur (2012-2014) Foundations.
The nature of my research has changed significantly over the course of my career from fundamental science to security studies, where I have focused on nuclear security and non-proliferation issues. Taking an interdisciplinary approach I have sought to bridge the gap between the technical and social science communities working in these areas. My work on non-proliferation issues has been largely focused on understanding Iran’s nuclear behaviour and the regional reaction to its programme, which I explored in a co-authored book. In terms of preventing nuclear terrorism I have sought to explore key issue areas including regime cohesion, sensitive nuclear information and risk assessment. My other publications and research interests include OSINT, nuclear detection in the maritime environment, insider threats and security culture.
I have also sought to engage industry, regulatory bodies and governments in nuclear security in order to strengthening both policy and practice. I lead a consortium (KCL, Imperial College London, University of Central Lancashire and the National Nuclear Laboratory), which under the UK’s Global Threat Reduction Programme, has been working internationally to improve nuclear security with a focus on security culture. Partnering with local nuclear operators, regulators and government departments we have run workshop in Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, India and Ukraine and the United Kingdom. I have also been working in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the development of new academic nuclear security programmes around the world.
My research and practitioner engagement has been funded by the Leverhulme Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Partnership for Nuclear Security, the European Defence Agency and the UK’s Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.
In 2014-2015 I served as Chair of the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN). I have a visiting position at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Research and Knowledge Transfer
- Nuclear Security
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
- Nuclear Security Education and Training
Outside of my academic research I have sought to engage practitioners in the areas of nuclear security and open source intelligence (OSINT).
In 2010 I developed, with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the world’s first professional development course (PDC) in nuclear security education. Adopting a train-the-trainer approach this two-week programme combined pedagogy with nuclear security topics in order to equip future nuclear security educators with the tools they need to develop tailored courses. Over the last six years tens of PDCs have been run in the UK and in partnership with academic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. I have also co-authored with Matthew Moran a number of educational handbook in nuclear security, including include Developing Educational Courses in Nuclear Security: A Handbook (King’s College London, March 2014) and Insider Threats: An Educational Handbook of Nuclear & Non-Nuclear Case Studies (King’s College London, August 2015).
In the context of the Nuclear Security Summit process I have worked closely with UK government to develop new policy and guidance in the area of nuclear security. I supported the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the development of their information security work package ahead of the 2012 NSS, co-authoring a scoping study on the ‘Intangibles of Nuclear Security’, which fed into the UK-led Multinational Statement on Nuclear Information Security. In 2014 I received funding by the FCO to co-author a Nuclear Security Briefing Book, which was provided to delegates at the 2014 and 2016 Nuclear Security Summits. In 2015 I co-authored a scoping study that looked at nuclear detection in the maritime environment this fed into a US-UK Joint Statement on Maritime Supply Chain Security and accompanying Best Practice Guide, presented at the 2016 NSS.
As project lead since September 2016 for the UK’s Nuclear Security Culture Programme, funded by the Global Threat Reduction Programme I have internationally with industry and regulatory bodies to strengthen nuclear security practice. Under this programme we have run workshops in Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, India and Ukraine and the United Kingdom with a focus on exploring the emergent area of nuclear security culture. Here we have explored enhancement strategies, the impact of national culture, the safety-security interface and different approaches to assessment. In the near future we will be working with nuclear operators in several countries to comprehensively benchmark security culture.
Open Source Intelligence
I have developed a number of courses for practitioners on the practical use of open source intelligence. These include two weeklong courses in ‘OSINT, Proliferation and Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED)’ for the European Defence Agency and a five-day executive course on OSINT delivered through the KCL Executive Summer Institute. Building on this I co-authored with Matthew Moran and Daniel Salisbury a book on this new area of research and practice.
Teaching and Training
- Eldridge, C., Hobbs, C., & Moran, M. (2017). Fusing algorithms and analysts: open-source intelligence in the age of ‘Big Data’. Intelligence and National Security, 1-16. doi:10.1080/02684527.2017.1406677
- Downes, R. J., & Hobbs, C. (2017). Nuclear terrorism and virtual risk: Implications for prediction and the utility of models. European Journal of International Security, 2(02), 203-222. doi:10.1017/eis.2017.5
- Moran, M., & Hobbs, C. (2017). From Communities of Interest to Communities Of Practice: The Role and Impact of Professional Development in Nuclear Security Education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 1-21. doi:10.1080/00071005.2017.1296929
- Hobbs, C & Young, E. 2015 ‘A Holistic Framework for Supply-side Nonproliferation’, International Journal of Nuclear Security, Vol. 1, No. 1, Article 6 pp. 1-13
- Moran, M, Hobbs, C & Salisbury, D (eds) 2014, Open Source Intelligence in the Twenty-First Century: New Approaches and Opportunities. New Security Challenges , Palgrave Macmillan.
- Bowen, W. & Hobbs, C. 2014 'Sensitive Nuclear Information: Challenges and Options for Control’, Strategic Analysis, 38 (2), pp. 217-229
- For a full list of publications, please see: Dr Christopher Hobbs -publications or visit my research profile
My current and past course coordination includes the following postgraduate courses:
- Armchair Intelligence: Open Sources and Online Investigation
- Science and Security of Nuclear and Biological Weapons
- Current Issues in Science and Security
- CBRN Terrorism
I am happy to supervise doctoral students whose interests fall in the following areas:
- Nuclear Security (combating nuclear terrorism)
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)