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Conflict, Security & Development Research Group

PhD Students

The Department of War Studies hosts a vibrant community of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, working directly on issues of relevance to the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group. Our PhD students actively contribute to academic life and public policy across the globe.

Details on how to apply for a research degree in the Department of War Studies can be found in our online prospectus. Please view CSDRG member profiles for current doctoral supervision interests and availability.

Current PhD students supervised by CSDRG members and/or working on CSD-related issues include, among others (partial list):


Ana Maria Albulescu (Supervisors: Dr. Oisín Tansey/ Dr. Natasha Kuhrt)

Ana is a PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies researching the multiple dimensions of de-facto states in Eastern Europe. Please feel free to contact Ana at:


Andrew J. Cunningham (Supervisors: Prof. Mats Berdal/ Dr. Oisín Tansey)

Andrew is a PhD candidate researching the relationship between States and international humanitarian actors in times of civil conflict. The relationship between the Government of Sri Lanka and the organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres is the specific case study. Please feel free to contact Andrew at: 


Deedee Derksen (Supervisors: Prof. Anatol Lieven/ Prof. Theo Farrell)

Deedee is pursuing a PhD on commander networks in Afghanistan and the impact on them of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes since 2001. She has published papers on the reintegration of insurgents for the United States Institute of Peace and the Peace Research Institute Oslo and recently worked as an adviser to the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network. Previously she spent about a decade as a reporter for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, including in Afghanistan and other countries in South Asia. She has a Master in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam.


Francisco Mazzola  (Supervisors: Dr. Reinoud Leenders/ Dr. Christine Cheng)

Francisco is an MPhil/PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies researching corruption and patronage in post-civil war Lebanon and the role that civil society plays in maintaining clientelist networks. Please feel free to contact Francisco at:


James Cockayne (Supervisors: Prof. Mats Berdal/Prof. Sir Lawrence Freedman)

James Cockayne is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of War Studies researching the political and military strategy of organized criminal groups. His research has appeared in the RUSI Journal, Journal of Strategic Studies and International Peacekeeping. His dissertation focuses on the strategic evolution and role of mafias in New York, Sicily and Cuba.  Contact him at, or follow him on twitter at @james_cockayne

Mark Beautement  (Supervisor: Professor Theo Farrell/ Dr. Stuart Gordon, LSE)

Mark is a PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies researching the applicability of negotiation theory to intra-state conflict at the local level, focusing on I. William Zartman's ripeness theory and later evolutions. The 2011 Sangin Accord (agreed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan) is a central case study. His thesis aims to update the theory for local conflict, and suggest modifications to help practitioners use it in near real-time.

Sarah Katharina Kayß (Supervisors: Prof. Christopher Dandeker/ Prof. Matthew Uttley)

Sarah is a PhD student in the War Studies Department of King’s College London where she is working on a comparison between British and German officer cadets, researching the relevance and understanding of the national past to their motivation to enlist. Please feel free to contact Sarah at:


Zoha Waseem (Supervisor: Prof. Anatol Lieven/ Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri)

Zoha is a MPhil/PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies researching on urban violence, organised crime and militancy in Pakistani cities, primarily focusing on Karachi, and whether conflict has changed the meaning of citizenship in urban areas of Pakistan. Please feel free to contact Zoha at:


Strife Blog & Journal

strifelogolargeStrife is a student-led blog aimed at anyone in the academic community, from first year undergraduates to professors. With a thematic focus on ‘conflict’ in all shapes, forms and senses of the word, Strife combines history, literature, and philosophical approaches to politics (among many others) to create an interesting, informative and entertaining blog for their readers. Additionally, Strife publishes a peer-reviewed Journal. Read the latest from Strife here.

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