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Dr Matthew Moran

Reader in International Security

Moran-profileCentre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS)

Department of War Studies                                              

King's College London                                                  

Strand Campus

London WC2R 2LS                                      


Contact Details

Tel: 0207 848 1552                                                              


Twitter: @MoranCSSS 

Office hours: Room S1.19, King's Building - by appointment



I am Reader in International Security and Co-Director of the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) in the Department of War Studies. I studied for a BA (Hons) and MA at the National University of Ireland, Galway and I hold a PhD from University College London. My first postdoctoral position brought me to King's in 2010 and I held a MacArthur funded fellowship from 2012-2014 before taking up a lectureship.

My research to date has focused on 2 main areas: the study of collective disorder and rioting; and the study of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) with particular emphasis on nuclear issues (non-proliferation and nuclear security). My early work on riots focused on the causes of the disorder in French suburbs in 2005 and 2007. This research was based on qualitative fieldwork carried out in Paris and examined issues relating to identity as well as the links between national projections of unity and localised realities of disunity. More recently, I have taken a broader approach and co-authored a comparative study of rioting in 5 countries, including the UK. This work was published as a book, Riots: An International Comparison, in 2016.

As my career has progressed, my research focus has expanded to a new field. Many of the issues that I studied in the context of collective behaviour, such as identity and nationalism, were salient yet under-explored issues in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. I have spent several years researching proliferation behaviour and recently completed a co-authored study of Iran's nuclear activities viewed through the lens of 'nuclear hedging'. Among other outputs, this study resulted in a co-authored book, Living on the Edge: Iran and the Practice of Nuclear Hedging, and a prize-winning refereed article. Other areas of interest and publications include Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), verification in the WMD context, sanctions and nuclear security.My current research explores issues of coercion and deterrence in the context of chemical weapons use in Syria.

My research has been funded by organisations such as the British Academy, the ESRC, the MacArthur Foundation, the Partnership for Nuclear Security and various government departments.

In 2014 I was awarded an honorary lectureship at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Interests
  • WMD proliferation and non-proliferation 
  • Proliferation Behaviour
  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
  • Nuclear Security Education
  • Riots and Public Disorder
Research and Knowledge Transfer

Beyond my research, I am engaged in a number of knowledge transfer initiatives in the following areas:

Open Source Intelligence

I have a strong interest in the concept and practice of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). My experience in this area informed my recent book on the subject, co-authored with Dr Christopher Hobbs and Daniel Salisbury. I currently chair a cross-departmental open source research group and have delivered lectures and training on OSINT to groups from industry, military and the policy arena. 

Nuclear Security  

Together with Dr Christopher Hobbs, I am involved in the design and delivery of professional development courses (PDC) in nuclear security education. These seek to strengthen global nuclear security by contributing to the development of a new cadre education and training experts. Our work in this area has seen us partner with universities in South Africa, Indonesia and India.

In March 2014, I co-authored the Nuclear Security Briefing Book which was provided to delegates at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Chris Hobbs and I have also authored a number of educational handbooks in nuclear security. These 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).

Sanctions and their Impact on Industry

I have been involved in a number of initiatives seeking to explore the impact of sanctions, particularly those related to the Iranian nuclear programme, on industry. In 2013, for example, I organised a workshop on sanctions and the insurance industry at the Royal Society in London. This event was funded by the ESRC and industry partners (AXA, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Lloyd's, Marsh & McLennan, and Swiss Re). The workshop resulted in a summary report and an academic article. Sanctions and their implementation remains an area of interest for me.

Notable Publications

** Winner of the 2015 Bernard Brodie Prize, awarded annually to the author(s) of an outstanding article published in the journal the previous year 


My teaching is research-led and places strong emphasis on creating an engaging student learning environment. I am keen to engage with new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. In 2015, I secured funding from the SSPP Faculty Education Fund to explore the value of student peer review as a formative tool designed to support the development of critical skills and promote collaborative learning within the classroom. I have also recently conducted a major study to explore the value and impact of nuclear security professional development courses.

Current and past teaching commitments include:

  • Armchair Intelligence: Open Sources and Online Investigation (postgraduate)
  • Current Issues in Science and Security (postgraduate)
  • Proliferation and International Security (postgraduate)
  • The Nature of Riots (undergraduate)
  • Homegrown Radicalisation and Counter-Radicalisation in Western Europe and North America (postgraduate)
PhD Supervision

I am happy to offer doctoral supervision in the following areas:

  • Nuclear proliferation, non-proliferation and counter-proliferation
  • Proliferation behaviour, in particular concepts such as hedging, latency, etc.
  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
  • The sociology and politics of riots and public disorder
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