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 a Reader in Science and Security in the Department of War Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS). I also serve as Deputy Chair of the Post-Graduate and Research Committee (PARC) for War Studies and Programme Director for the MA in Science and Security. I hold a Ph.D in physics from the University of London and a MPhys from Oxford University. Before taking up an academic position I worked as a Research Fellow funded by the Leverhulme and MacArthur Foundations.
The nature of my research has changed significantly over the course of my academic career from fundamental science to security. Here I have sought to bridge the gap between technical and social science communities, taking an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary issues around nuclear security, non-proliferation, disarmament and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).
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 have explored in detail in a co-authored book, Exploring Regional Responses to a Nuclear Iran Nuclear Dominoes?. In the area of nuclear security I have examined issues around regime cohesion, the protection of sensitive nuclear information and challenges in assessing the risk of nuclear terrorism.
I have conducted empirical research into the influence of human factors on arms control verification, focusing on a future nuclear disarmament system, published as co-authored book, Trust in Nuclear Disarmament Verification. I am also interest in the application of open source information to different areas of security, which I have explored in co-edited book, Open Source Intelligence in the Twenty-First Century, and the interplay between analysts and automation in the practice of OSINT.
I believe in working closely with practitioners, both to gather data for research and to ensure real-world impact. Since 2014 I have served as technical implementing lead for the nuclear security culture strand of the UK’s Global Threat Reduction Programme (GTRP). Working in an academic-industry consortium to strengthen nuclear security policy and practice globally. I have also sought to support the development of new academic programmes and professional development courses in nuclear security, serving as Chair of the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN) from 2014-2015.
I have raised millions of pounds in funding to support my research, education and impact work from a diverse range of sources, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Defence Agency, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, the US State Department and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
- Nuclear Security
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
- Nuclear Security Education and Training
For many years I have collaborated with government officials and practitioners from industry in order to translate my research in practice. In recognition of this work I received the King’s Award for Innovation and Impact in 2013.
For nearly a decade I have worked with partners around the world to support the development of education and training programmes in nuclear security (preventing nuclear terrorism). In 2010 I launched with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the first professional development course in this area. Over the past eight years, with the support of colleagues at KCL and industry I have developed a wide range of nuclear security education and training activities for a global audience. These includes more than 30 workshops delivered in ten countries, the hosting of key individuals at KCL, and direct support for courses. To further facilitate these efforts I have worked with colleagues to produce a range of nuclear security educational resources that can be integrated by educators and trainers into existing and new programmes.
During the Obama-led Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process from 2010 to 2016 I worked closely with UK government to develop new policy and guidance. Delivering with colleagues scoping studies and state of play reports into the intangible aspects of nuclear security and the practice of bordering monitoring in the maritime environment. This work fed into the UK-led Multinational Statement on Nuclear Information Security, and the US-UK Joint Statement on Maritime Supply Chain Security and accompanying Best Practice Guide. I was funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to co-author a Nuclear Security Briefing Book, provided to delegates at the 2014 and 2016 Nuclear Security Summits.
I have worked with industry and regulatory bodies to promote understanding and implementing new methodologies and guidance in the area of nuclear security culture. Partnering with government, industry and regulatory bodies in India, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia and Ukraine, to run joint workshops and other activities. From 2017-2018 I worked with colleagues at KCL to conduct an analysis of security culture at a number of UK nuclear sites, as part of a project funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
- ‘The Role of Trust in Verifying Nuclear Disarmament’ (Palgrave Macmillan, Feb 2018) – Co-authored with Wyn Bowen, Hassan El-Bhatimy and Matthew Moran
- ‘Fusing algorithms and analysts: open-source intelligence in the age of ‘Big Data’, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 33, No. 3, p. 391-406 (Feb 2018) – Co-authored with Christopher Eldridge and Matthew Moran
- ‘Nuclear Terrorism and Virtual Risk: Implication for Prediction and the Utility of Models’, European Journal of International Security, Vol. 2, Issue 2, pp. 203-222 (July, 2017) [co-authored with Robert Downes]
- ‘From Communities of Interest to Communities of Practice: The Role and Impact of Professional Development in Nuclear Security Education’, The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 66, Issue 1, p. 87-107, (online March 2017) [co-authored with Matthew Moran]
For a full list of publications, please see: Dr Christopher Hobbs - Publications and visit the research portal
Teaching and Training
My current and past course coordination includes the 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 offer PhD supervision in the following areas:
- Nuclear proliferation, non-proliferation
- CBRN terrorism (threat and response)
- Arms Control Verification
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)