Research Project Proposals

Security & Strategic Studies

Title: Domestic and international drivers of foreign and defense policy

Proposer(s): Fabrizio Coticchia

Curriculum: Security and Strategic studies

Description: What is the role played by domestic factors in shaping foreign and defense policy decisions? How and to what extent do parties, parliaments and leaders affect foreign policy decision-making process? How to measure foreign policy change? What is the role of strategic narratives? We are interested in projects that aim to answer these research questions.

Link to the group or personal webpage



  1. Coticchia, F. and F.N.Moro, “Peaceful Legislature? Parliaments and military interventions after the Cold War: insights from Germany and Italy”, F.Coticchia, F.N. Moro, International Relations, forthcoming

  2. Coticchia, F. and V. Vignoli (2020), Italian political parties and military operations. An empirical analysis on voting patterns", Government and Opposition, 2020, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 456-473. ​

  3. Destradi, S. Plagemann (2019), J, Populism and Foreign Policy: The Case of India, Foreign Policy Analysis, 15/2, 283–301.

  4. Haesebrouck, T. and Joly, J. (2020) Foreign Policy Change: From Policy Adjustments to Fundamental Reorientations, Political Studies Review.

  5. Kaarbo, J. (2015), 'A Foreign Policy Analysis Perspective on the Domestic Politics Turn in IR Theory', International Studies Review, 17(2): 189–216.

  6. Wagner, W. and T.Raunio (2020), The Party Politics of Foreign and Security Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, 16/4, 2020, 515-531

Title: The evolution of European and International Security

Proposer(s): Fabrizio Coticchia and Hugo Meijer

Curriculum: Security and Strategic studies

Description: The current debate on the transformation of European and International security is lively and controversial. What are the key trend lines in the emerging US-China Great Power Rivalry? What are the main features of European Foreign and Security Policies toward Russia and the People’s Republic of China? How can European Strategic Autonomy be assessed? How has NATO’s role in European security evolved since the end of the Cold War? What are the drivers of the European commitment in North Africa and Sahel? What are the “new” multidimensional challenges to European security? We are interested in projects that aim to answer these research questions.

Link to the group or personal webpage


1. Buzan, B. (1997) “Rethinking Security after the Cold War,” Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 32, No. 5

2. Brendon J. Cannon & Federico Donelli (2020) Asymmetric alliances and high polarity: evaluating regional security complexes in the Middle East and Horn of Africa, Third World Quarterly, 41:3, 505-524, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2019.1693255

3. Jason Davidson, Americas allies and warPalgrave, 2011

4. Hugo Meijer and Stephen G. Brooks, "Illusions of Autonomy: Why Europe Cannot Provide for Its Own Security Even if the US Pulls Back," International Security, Vol. 45, No. 3 (2021)

5. Hugo Meijer and Marco Wyss, The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces (Oxford University Press, 2016)

6. Mara Morini, La Russia di Putin(Bologna, Il Mulino 2020).

Title: Civil wars, insurgencies and peacekeeping

Proposer(s): Giampiero Cama

Curriculum: Security and Strategic studies

Description:What are the causes and dynamics of civil wars? What are the features and the effectiveness of peacekeeping and peacebuilding? What is the impact of institutional solutions (e.g., power-sharing) to civil wars? We are interested in projects that aim to answer these research questions.

Link to the group or personal webpage


1. Bove, Vincenzo, Chiara Ruffa, and Andrea Ruggeri. Composing Peace. Mission Composition in UN Peacekeeping. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, introduction

2. Cama, G. and Coticchia, F. “Political parties matter: a research agenda on interactions among elites in post-conflict democracies", Contemporary Politics, Vol. 5 issue 4, 2019, 373-392.

3. Cederman, L-E. and Vogt, M. (2017), “Dynamics and Logics of Civil”, War Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1-25

4. Fjelde, Hanne, Lisa Hultman, and Desirée Nilsson. ‘Protection Through Presence: UN Peacekeeping and the Costs of Targeting Civilians’. International Organization, 2019, 1–29.

5. Ruffa, Chiara. ‘What Peacekeepers Think and Do: An Exploratory Study of French, Ghanaian, Italian, and South Korean Armies in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’. Armed Forces and Society 40, no. 2 (2014): 199–225.

6. Ruggeri, Andrea, Han Dorussen, and Theodora-Ismene Gizelis. ‘On the Frontline Every Day? Subnational Deployment of United Nations Peacekeepers’. British Journal of Political Science, 2016, 1–21.

Title: Security, technology, and military transformation

Proposer(s): Fabrizio Coticchia and Mauro Gilli

Curriculum: Security and Strategic studies

Description: We live in an age of accelerating technological change, with advances in science and technology opening up unprecedented opportunities, and revolutionizing many industries and realms. To better understand the political, security and social causes and consequences of these transformations as well as their meaning, we invite applications for our fully-funded PhD program from candidates interested in exploring the relationship between technology and politics. Students are encouraged to submit a research proposal on a topic of their interest that will be evaluated on the ground of its broader theoretical contribution and methodological rigor. Projects might include topics such as the new tech-race among great powers, the implications of emerging technologies on domestic rebellions and insurgencies, the increasing vulnerability of our society to small catastrophic events, the main drivers of military transformation in the post Cold-War era.

Link to the group or personal webpage


1. Stephen Biddle, “The Past as Prologue: Assessing theories of future warfare,” Security Studies Vol. 8, No. 1 (1998), pp. 1-74.

2. Fabrizio Coticchia, and Moro, F. N, “Learning from Others? Emulation and Transformation in the Italian Armed Forces since 2001”, Armed Forces&Society (2016), 42/4, 696-718.

3. Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli, The Diffusion of Drone Warfare? Industrial, Organizational, and Infrastructural Constraints, Security Studies, 25(1), 50-84.

4. Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli, “Why China Has Not Caught Up Yet: Military-Technological Superiority and the Limits of Imitation, Reverse Engineering, and Cyber Espionage,” International Security Vol. 43, No. 3 (Winter 2018/2019), pp. 141-18

5. Eugene Gholz, “Military transformation, political economy pressures and the future of trans-atlantic national security space cooperation,” Astropolitics Vol 1, No. 2 (2003), pp. 26-49.

6. Barry R. Posen, “Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony,” International Security, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Summer 2003), pp. 5-16.