Research Associate in the Department of War Studies

London (Greater) (GB)
£40,386 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
26 Jan 2023
End of advertisement period
26 Mar 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The Department of War Studies is seeking up to 3 post-doctoral research associates to work with Dr Maeve Ryan at the Centre for Grand Strategy as part of the new Ax:son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy (AJI). This initiative is dedicated to supporting and mentoring the next generation of historically-minded scholars and practitioners in statecraft, strategy, and diplomacy. AJI is a transatlantic collaboration between the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit and a four-university consortium of the     Centre for Grand Strategy in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, the     Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge, the     Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the     Center for Statecraft and Political Communication at the Stockholm School of Economics. The partnership promotes the research and engagement of a cohort of up to twenty-four PhD and postdoctoral fellows across its member universities.


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 fellowship.


Successful applicants will have a track record of excellent historically-minded research in statecraft, diplomacy, or strategy. Applications are particularly encouraged from those with an interest in the translation of research to policy-relevant outputs.


Incoming postdoctoral fellows will work closely with the members and affiliates of the Centre for Grand Strategy and will be expected to participate in the Centre’s activities and the broader intellectual community of KCL. They will also collaborate with faculty, affiliates, students, and fellows from the other institutes in the consortium, creating a multi-institutional, international community that spans the Atlantic, as well as have publishing opportunities through Engelsberg Ideas (


The successful applicants will conduct their own original, historically-informed research and analysis on a project connected to AJI’s core thematic interests (grand strategy, statecraft, diplomacy, world order, geopolitics), with a clear idea of planned publications and other research outputs to be completed during the course of the fellowship. We welcome proposals on any topic relevant to the above thematic interests, and we encourage proposals that focus on innovative approaches and/or under-represented regions of study. Proposals are particularly welcomed in areas with the potential to develop applied historical approaches to present-day UK strategic priorities (e.g. on the Indo-Pacific region).


Successful candidates will be expected, in addition to pursuing their own research and writing, to contribute to the intellectual life of the Centre for Grand Strategy as well as the AJI consortium and to participate in and support their programming, including participation in events and other collaborative activities.


Candidates will normally be expected to remain in residence at the Centre for Grand Strategy for the duration of their contract.


There are 3 positions available. All will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contracts for 2 years from September 2023.



Key responsibilities

  • Develop and undertake historically informed research of high quality on a project connected to the Centre’s core thematic interests (grand strategy, statecraft, diplomacy, world order, geopolitics).  
  • Coordinate and run the Centre events and public engagement programme, including convening up to 8 Forum on Future British Strategy meetings and up to 8 World Order Study Group meetings in 2022 and 2023. 
  • Support the development and launch of the new Ax:Son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy. 
  • Liaise with project partners and coordinate the development of a collaborative multi-site postdoctoral and pre-doctoral cohort. 
  • Coordinate and maintain website and social media for the Centre for Grand Strategy. 
  • Engage with a range of key stakeholders in the UK and overseas to continue to develop the Centre’s research networks. 
  • Support the development of the Centre’s policy impact activities, including writing policy-relevant papers, leading seminars and workshops, and supporting events as needed.  
  • Support the running of the Centre’s 4-week summer school, as needed. 

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 

Essential criteria  

1.      PhD in history  with an interest in diplomacy, grand strategy, international relations and/or grand strategy.  

2.      Track record of excellent historically-minded research in statecraft, diplomacy, foreign policy, and/or strategy. 

3.      Familiarity with the applied history initiative in both the United States and Europe. 

4.      Knowledge of contemporary debates surrounding applied history, statecraft, and grand strategy, and an understanding how policymakers have looked to history (and historians) in the past, especially within Britain.

5.      Interest in working with government officials to further the relation between historical study 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.


Desirable criteria

1.    Successful track record in conceptualizing and writing successful grant applications. 

2.    Experience in managing budgets. 


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.

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