Research Associate in the Department of War Studies
The Department of War Studies is seeking a post-doctoral research associate (one year renewable for 2 years total) to work with Visiting Professor David Gioe as part of a major research project at the intersection of intelligence, defence, policy, and technology, which is funded by the British Academy’s Global Professor programme. Specifically, the project identifies malign manipulation of the transatlantic information environment by hostile state security and intelligence organs as an urgent security threat facing western democracies.
This project examines why and how intelligence services have harnessed emerging technologies – such as social media platforms and digital media – to shape the information environment for strategic ends. Weaponisation of disinformation is neither new nor warfare in the traditional sense, yet blending technological solutions with humanities-based responses has been a neglected pillar of a whole-of-society policy response. This interdisciplinary project applies intelligence history, strategic studies and technological perspectives to evaluate and counter influence operations that seek to advance state security interests in an asymmetric manner. This project traces the evolution of the Anglo-American response to Cold War disinformation as a foundation to develop a contemporary policy response via historically and technically informed research and global stakeholder engagement.
The successful applicant will have a track record of research and publications in socio-technical aspects of cybersecurity, cyber policy, intelligence studies, or cognate disciplines. Applications are particularly encouraged from those with an interest in the translation of research to policy-relevant outputs. The successful candidate will be expected to identify areas to conduct socio-technical research within the grant’s major research theme, and then to conduct that research and integrate the findings into co-authored research outputs aligned with the grant’s objectives.
The incoming postdoctoral associate will also work with the members and affiliates of the King’s Intelligence and Security Group and the Cybersecurity Research Group and will be expected to participate in these group’s activities and the broader intellectual community of KCL. This initiative is dedicated to supporting and mentoring the next generation of historically-minded scholars and practitioners.
Applications will be considered postdoctoral researchers and from current PhD students nearing the completion of their PhD. Applicants must have completed their PhD by the time they take up the post, which must start not later than 31 December 2022 and end not later than 31 December 2024. The incumbent will normally be expected to remain in residence in the Department of War Studies for the duration of their post.
This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term post for 1 year.
- Develop and undertake historically informed technological research of high quality on a project connected to the grant’s core thematic interests (dis/information operations, statecraft, intelligence, resilience, policy).
- Coordinate and run workshops and symposia sponsored by the grant.
- Liaise with project partners and coordinate research outputs.
- Contribute to success of the King’s Intelligence and Security Research Group and the Cybersecurity Research Group.
- Engage with a range of key stakeholders in the UK and overseas to continue to develop the grant’s research networks.
The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
1. PhD in international relations, history of technology, information operations or cybersecurity with an interest in intelligence, strategic studies, disinformation, policy, or similar.
2. Track record of excellent historically-minded technical research in countering disinformation and tracking campaigns and actors.
3. Familiarity with methods and approaches for social media research.
4. Knowledge of contemporary debates surrounding contested narratives, disinformation operations, cyber policy, cybersecurity, etc.
5. Interest in working with government officials to further the relation between research and policymaking.
6. Ability to interact with a wide range of people.
7. Methodical approach to work and project planning, with attention to detail and a proven ability to manage and deliver parallel complex projects on time and at a high quality.
8. Demonstrable experience in the development of networks, ideally for the purpose of outreach and impact from academic work.
9. Experience in translating academic research to policy-relevant outputs.
10. Experience in organising and running high-quality, large-scale events and engagement activities on time and on budget.
1. Experience conducting socio-technical research and some familiarity with tracking disinformation campaigns.
2. Some understanding intelligence as an expression of state power.
Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.