Dr Benedict Wilkinson
Ben is Interim Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow in the Policy Institute at King’s College London. He joined the Policy Institute as a Research Associate in 2013, having studied for a PhD under the supervision of Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman in King’s College London’s Department of War Studies. He was appointed as a Research Fellow in 2014 and a Senior Research Fellow in 2015. From 2013 to 2015, Ben also held a Lectureship in the Defence Studies Department and acted as a member of the Senior Directing Staff at the Royal College of Defence Studies. Prior to this, Ben held roles outside academia, working as Head of Security and Counter-Terrorism at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) between 2010 and 2012.
Ben’s research seeks to tackle a range of societal issues using rigorous social science research. His primary interests and academic background is in the fields of defence and security, with a specific interest in terrorism, extremism and, more recently, integration. Since he joined the Policy Institute at King’s, Ben has supplemented this with a growing interest in other areas of public policy such as public service provision and reform, mental health policy, and higher education and further education policy.
He has led or worked on numerous research projects in the defence and security space, including research on terrorism in the Middle East, the value of the UK’s domestic defence industry, the defence and security relationship between the UK and France, the need for international standards for IED removal. His work on extremism has increasingly led him to explore issues of integration and social cohesion and he has recently led a study on attitudes to migration in Barking and Dagenham with Dame Margaret Hodge, as well as work on inclusiveness and intolerance in four regions of the United Kingdom
During his time at the Institute, Ben has focused on other areas of UK public policy, with an emphasis on the machinery of government and the provision of public services. He has recently worked on the Mental Health Act, on Citizens’ attitudes towards data privacy and security, the future of London through the King’s Commission on London, on the UK’s Industrial Strategy with a member of the BEIS Select Committee, on a project developing the export potential of British businesses can be developed, and on ways to build a fairer tax system in collaboration with the APPG on Responsible Tax.
The common thread that runs through this broad portfolio of work is Ben's interest in, and passion for, producing research which can improve policy and practice the wider world. Since joining the Institute in its inception in 2013, Ben has not only helped to shape the Institute’s growth, but also cultivated number of mechanisms for bringing academia and the worlds of government, business and the third sector together, such as Policy Labs, Policy Idol, the ESRC’s Impact Acceleration Account (of which he is Principal Investigator).
He is the author or co-author of two books: the first is a co-edited volume (with Professor James Gow) published in 2017 by Hurst/Oxford University Press on the thought of Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. His second book on terrorism as a strategy is also due to be published by Hurst and Oxford University Press in the autumn of 2018. He has lectured widely on issues relating to defence, security and foreign policy at a range of prestigious locations, including Cambridge University, the Foreign Office, Scotland Yard, the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Middle East Association. His work has regularly featured in national and international media (including the BBC, Civil Service World, the Independent, the Metro, the Conversation, the Financial Times and the Telegraph). In 2015, he gave a live record lecture entitled Stories of Terrorism for BBC Radio Four.
Ben was appointed an Associate Fellow of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) in 2013, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2014, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.