Accepting PhD Students

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    Personal profile


    I am Director of Postgraduate Research and an Assistant Professor within the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR), Coventry University. I joined Coventry University in August 2012 and I have served as Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes (2015-19), Course Director of the MA Maritime Security (2012-16) and Departmental Ethics Leader (2013-15) within CTPSR.

    I have an MA International Relations from the University of St Andrews, an MA International Politics from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. Alongside my research, I am passionate about Higher Education and my teaching. I have a Certificate in Higher Education Professional Practice and an MBA in Leadership from Coventry University, I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and I am a PRINCE2 Practitioner.

    Outside of work I am an avid fan of Burnley Football Club and I enjoy following British politics, writing and walking.

    You can contact me via email at or via the 'Contact Expert' function on this web page (below my profile picture).

    Research Interests

    My principal research interests are in: (1) international security, particularly maritime security; alongside (2) governance, capacity-building and high performance organisations. I also maintain a keen interest and portfolio of activity around (3) good policy and practice in Higher Education.


    Elaborating further, it is my view that the desire for, and pursuit of, security shapes lives universally and on a continual basis, and as such associated security practices and their impacts should be better understood. To do this, amongst other things, I stay aware of trends in international relations, shifts in global power, the evolution of conflict and foreign, defence and security policy globally. Inevitably, practicalities requires further focus and specialism and as a result security in the maritime domain has been where the vast majority of my work has concentrated.

    Maritime security is a fascinating, ever-changing and growing field of study that has wide-ranging importance for us all. The vast majority of global trade moves by sea, the global population living near the sea is growing, and the economic potential of the oceans is being increasingly recognised. There is a nexus between security at sea and on land, and there is a relationship between security and sustainable development efforts that needs to be better understood. As such a better understanding of security in the maritime domain is important to enhance human wellbeing. Despite this, I believe that many governments and indeed wider populations have a degree of ‘sea blindness’ – not focusing on or fully understanding the maritime domain – which can diminish efforts to enhance security in these spaces. I also believe that with a wide range of inter-connected security challenges evident, multiple legal frameworks operating, a plethora of security stakeholders to consider (public, private and third sectors), and emerging trends such as the growing role of new technology; the maritime domain is also a fascinating arena to delve in to some of the complexities of security governance and capacity-building today.

    My research interests in governance, capacity-building and high performance organisations stem from a long-held fascination in how individuals, organisations, even governments ‘get things done well’ (or perhaps don’t!). I have long been interested in how structures, rules, processes and resource allocation help or hinder effective implementation, the way in which perceived gaps in capacity are located and addressed and what enables particular organisations to attain and sustain excellence in their work. Leadership and team-building, cooperation mechanisms and knowledge production and exchange, are the kind of issues I examine. These research interests enable and require me to delve into literature well beyond international security, drawing upon insights from fields such as public policy, business and management, alongside organisational development and learning.


    Combining my core research interests, the majority of my ongoing research activity is organised in three, at times cross-cutting, streams:

    • The Maritime Security of Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Many SIDS are in significant geo-strategic positions and/or have substantial ocean resources which offer great potential for their development, but also requires deep consideration of their maritime security. For example, some SIDS have been exploited by those involved in transnational organised crime leading to them becoming transit nodes in the movement of illegal goods undermining economic growth and creating political and social instability. I explore how SIDS conceptualise their maritime security needs and the ways in which they seek to enhance their maritime security individually or with others.


    • Maritime Critical Infrastructure Protection (MCIP): Ports, off-shore energy installations, undersea pipelines and cables are all examples of infrastructure located in the maritime domain which are important to facilitating the smooth functioning of activities central to the day-to-day lives of us all. Ports, for example, are nodes in the global supply chain, hubs in the transport network and are border management locations. I explore how different state and non-state actors think about and respond to potential security threats associated with maritime critical infrastructure.


    • Improving Implementation for Enhanced Maritime Security: How can different actors improve the way they ‘do’ implementation to enhance maritime security? In this research stream I examine the mechanics of effective implementation alongside the drivers/barriers to improving practice. Ongoing work here includes: exploring institutional learning and memory in maritime security capacity-building; and the role of networked governance in facilitating effective maritime security cooperation.


    Across my work I generally embrace a qualitative research methodology and utilise methods such as document analysis and semi-structured interviews.


    My interest and activity around good policy and practice in Higher Education (HE) stems from a passion for improving education and a desire to better understand and operate within my working environment. I am particularly interested in the design and implementation of courses that blend face-to-face and online components. As part of my MBA qualification, I worked in a small team to undertake a consultancy project to explore the factors necessary for the successful adoption of blended learning within Coventry University. I am also interested in the growing role of data in teaching, learning and assessment (e.g. learning analytics), alongside intra-HE institution cooperation and learning, particularly academic/professional services interactions.

    I have vast experience of designing, implementing and evaluating credit bearing educational programmes, alongside continued professional development courses. I have worked with a range of HE and non-HE partners including the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (as was). I have supervised two PhD researchers to successful completion and I am on the supervisory team for three more. I am currently an assessor for Coventry University’s Framework for Professional Accreditation to AdvanceHE’s fellowship scheme, I have chaired Performance Review Panels for Coventry University PhD researchers for a number of years and was proud to serve as a Governor for a primary school in Coventry (2018-20).


    I am very happy to hear from anyone who shares any of my research interests and/or wants to discuss my work. Equally if you want to study on Coventry University's MA Maritime Security, are thinking about PhD research or want a conversation about course design, implementation and evaluation; please get in touch. You can contact me by email at

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

    Education/Academic qualification

    Leadership, MBA, Coventry University


    Higher Education Professional Practice , Postgraduate Certificate, Coventry University


    Politics and International Studies, Doctorate, ‘The Securitisation of the United Kingdom’s maritime infrastructure during the ‘War on Terror’’, University of Warwick


    International Politics (Research-track), MA, University of Manchester


    International Relations, MA, University of St Andrews



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