Our research agenda is broad and inclusive, incorporating people working across the whole spectrum of contemporary security issues. We have a vibrant, collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture and our international community of researchers and practitioners has an excellent record of winning external funding, and promoting collaboration and impact.

Our research at the Strategy and Security Institute is focused on a number of high-impact areas of priority which are directly related to current global issues:

Key Research Areas

SSI is at the forefront of research into the drivers of strategic decision-making by civilian and military leaders and planners in the foreign and defence policy domains. Our areas of expertise include:

  • the cognitive drivers of leaders' behaviour during international crises
  • rational choice and decision-making
  • the psychology of coercion and deterrence
  • the management and allocation of defence resources
  • military decision-making in history
  • classical theories of strategic choice
  • the leadership and planning of complex modern military forces and operations

Lead Academics

Find out more about our research into Strategic Decision-Making or its subthemes:

SSI excels in the analysis of, and contributions to, UK national security strategy. Our academics contribute to scholarly and policy debates on Britain's strategic situation, the extent to which it is deteriorating, and what is to be done about it. With five-yearly National Security Strategies (NSSs) and Strategic Defence and Security Reviews (SDSRs) now an institutionalised component of the UK security policy landscape, SSI researchers work to inform discussion of British strategic challenges and opportunities at all levels.

Lead Academics

Find out more about our research into UK National Security Strategy and its subthemes:

The contemporary international security environment presents a paradox. On the one hand, the global security situation – at least for developed states – remains far more benign than the tense nuclear stand-off of the Cold War or the repeated great power conflagrations of the first half of the twentieth century. On the other hand, the third post-Cold-War decade has arguably brought with it a less benign strategic outlook, at least for Western states, than the two that preceded it. SSI academics are in the vanguard of this research agenda, seeking to understand the causes, consequences, and mitigation of many of today's most serious security problems.

Lead Academics

Find out more about our research into Contemporary Strategic Problems and its subthemes:

The decision to use organised violence in pursuit of strategic goals is not just a matter of political will and equipment; it is also governed by a system of social norms and processes, including a complex body of domestic and international law.

While the growing impact of legal rules and processes promises to strengthen the rule of law at the international level, it also imposes operational burdens and strategic costs on the use of force. The extent to which these developments undermine operational effectiveness and constrain national security choices has become a question of immense significance.

Exeter works closely with the with the military legal community to investigate the evolution of the legal framework of warfare and the impact of law and legal processes on security policy and military operations.

Lead Academics

Find out more about our research into A Legal and Normative Framework of Warfare or its subthemes:

Research Students

We welcome enquiries from prospective research students. Please contact Beth Owen in our Graduate Research School for information about eligibility before contacting the staff member closest to your interests for an initial discussion about potential research topics. Full information including funding details and online application links can be found in our research degrees web pages.

You can gain insight into the range of topics studied by our current PhD students by going to our People webpage, and clicking on 'PhD Students'.

Research News

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