RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy
The University regards this Unit of Assessment, currently rated 4B, as making a major contribution to its research mission in the Humanities/Social Sciences. Given that the Department has experienced significant personnel changes during the census period, the University has therefore facilitated major restructuring of its profile, sustaining its staff complement and encouraging the creation of a substantial International Relations research group to complement its existing strengths. There are four strands to the Department's revised research strategy:
 It has appointed new staff to expand the international relations group and to broaden its expertise in political theory, particularly investing in young recruits who will be best placed to develop and carry through new, longer-term research strategies.
 It has restructured our formerly three-pronged organisation of collaborative research work - in international relations, political theory and European politics - into two research groups, rationalising and focussing its projects to allow specialisms to develop but without sacrificing breadth of interests. Along with substantial individual research work, colleagues have also undertaken collaborative projects based elsewhere in the University and at external institutions. Often involving many scholars of world-wide renown, these activities together contribute significantly to the raising of the Department's national and international research profile and facilitate further expansion of our research base.
 Its research culture has also been developed by expanding our series of seminars/workshops and maintaining a successful graduate school with an average per year of 20 registered research students and 20 students on its research-training based Master's degree schemes.
 Its proactive Research Committee is centrally involved in Departmental policy-making, restructuring its research strategy in the light of changed circumstances and ensuring that priority is given to the provision of resources - including a carefully targeted sabbatical policy - to support the production of substantial, high-quality research publications.
Departmental Research Environment and Infrastructure
(i) Research Committee. The main function of this Committee is to propose and implement the Department's research strategy. It carefully monitors the research progress of staff members throughout the year, requiring colleagues to set targets in consultation with the Committee and to report annually on them, particularly when sabbaticals have been granted. It apprises staff of possible funding sources and gathers information to make recommendations on sabbaticals and the distribution of teaching/administrative responsibilities to the Head of Department.
(ii) Research Leave. A member of staff with a definite research and publication/dissemination strategy, developed in consultation with the Research Committee, is entitled to one semester sabbatical in every six. J. Bradbury, M. Evans and A. Vali were granted semesters, and R. Taylor, B. Haddock and C. Ponting were granted academic years, in order to complete targeted items. A. Dobson and D. Boucher, recently appointed to chairs at Dundee and Cardiff respectively, were also granted a semester and a year respectively, producing substantial research publications which will now be counted elsewhere. Members of staff are expected to compete for outside research funding and fellowships.
(iii) Funding. The Department participates in the University's Humanities Planning Group research fund scheme, which provides £400 per person per annum for supporting publication-linked research activity. This has been used primarily to finance paper-giving at both national and international conferences and to develop the Department's overseas research links, in particular with colleagues in European universities. Support is also given to participation in recognised research forums such as P.S.A. Specialist Groups, BISA and ECPR meetings. Significant grants obtained in the census period include G. Boyce's Leverhulme individual award for 2000/1 to work on the Falklands War and British political and military culture. He is also co-convenor of Swansea's ESRC Devolution and Constitutional Change programme, which was granted £122000; colleagues in the Department have formulated proposals for research initiatives under its remit. J. Bradbury was awarded £1000 from the ESRC to support the PSA British Territorial Politics Specialist group annual conference in January 2001. He was also part of a successful bid with colleagues from other institutions for £37443 from the ESRC, administered elsewhere, to research into candidature for the Scottish and Welsh devolved assemblies. A. Collins obtained £3500 from the British Academy which facilitated research in Asia for a resulting monograph. G. Evans gained a Nuffield grant of £3944 for fieldwork in Southern Africa in 1996. M. Evans received £8,250 from the University of Wales Academic Support Fund for a multi-conference and seminar project on ‘Liberalism at the Millennium’, which has led to a major volume and provided the basis from which our Liberalism, Democracy and Postcommunism research project has grown. B Haddock was awarded £2000 by the British Academy to fund collaborative work with a Romanian scholar. B. Teschke has gained £2000 from the British Academy, £1500 from the University of Wales Gregynog staff colloquium fund and £1000 from the University of Wales Swansea's Humanities Planning Group to finance a major conference and volume project in April 2001. A. Vali was awarded £12000 by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Scientific Research to fund a project on 'Politics and Culture in the Kurdish Diaspora: Nationalism in a Transnational Context', undertaken as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Uppsala in 1998-9.
(iv) Conferences, Colloquia and Seminars. Central to the life of the Department is its extensive programme of conferences and seminars, attracting a wide range of internationally renowned scholars, and our staff/research student workshops. Three conferences per annum are organised at Gregynog, the University's country-house conference centre. Speakers in the census period have included Clive Archer (Manchester Metropolitan), Chris Brown (LSE), Janet Coleman (LSE), John Dunn (Cambridge), Joseph Femia (Liverpool), Elizabeth Frazer (Oxford), Mervyn Frost (Kent), Paul Kelly (LSE), Tariq Modood (Bristol), Noel O'Sullivan (Hull) and Paul Rogers (Bradford). In addition to research group-based meetings, a weekly Departmental research seminar is held with distinguished visiting speakers. Guests in this period have included Paul Bew (Queen's, Belfast), Nigel Bowles (Oxford), Stuart Croft (Birmingham), Richard English (Queen's Belfast), Leslie Holmes (Melbourne), John Keane (Westminster), Susan Shell (Boston College) and Fiona Venn (Essex). The biennnial John Rees Memorial lecture (last lecturer: Will Kymlicka, Queen's University Ontario) and various day conferences are also organised. In connection with the research programmes of the University's new National Public Policy Centre, the Department actively sponsors events connected with the 'practice' of Welsh politics. Recently, these have featured a forum on devolution's early progress with former Secretary of State for Wales Ron Davies as keynote speaker and a series of debates/seminars on 'Explorations in Devolved Governance', including 'Education Policy-Making in Wales' featuring Christine Chapman, chair of the National Assembly's Objective One Funding Committee and 'Changing Welsh Governance: An Insider's View' with Hywel Francis of the Public Policy Centre. All PhD students are expected to present aspects of their work in turn at a fortnightly PhD workshop, where staff and other students debate their ideas and offer advice to gain experience of orally defending a thesis. There are separate staff/research student discussion groups attached to the Department's two research groups, meeting fortnightly to discuss selected issues and texts, including early versions of the participants' own work.
(v) Working Papers. The Department has recently adopted a policy of encouraging the dissemination of 'work in progress' in the form of working papers which are advertised externally on the Departmental website. This scheme heightens the Department's research profile and increases the opportunity of valuable critical feedback during one's research.
(vi) PhD Research Environment. The Department funds postgraduate research visits, recently facilitating work in the Truman and Eisenhower libraries, Oxford, South Africa and Canada. It has been successful in its policy of encouraging and helping postgraduates to achieve their first publications. For example: Susie Johnston has co-authored ‘The Ethics of the Infinite’, Maritain Studies, 15 (1999). Steve Marsh, Jacqueline Dix and David Ryall have contributions in Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Cold War, edited by A. Dobson, G. Evans and S. Malik (1999); Steve Marsh has also co-authored US Foreign Policy Since 1945 with A. Dobson (2000). Peter Sutch has critically discussed Mervyn Frost's work in Review of International Studies 26 (2) and has responded to a reply by Frost in no. 26 (3). Rita Abrahamsen has published 'The Victory of Popular Forces or Passive Revolution?' in Journal of Modern African Studies 35 (1) and 'The Gender Dimension of AIDS in Zambia' in Journal of Gender Studies 6 (2). Neil Herman's 'Henry Grattan, The Regency Crisis and the Emergence of Party Politics in Ireland 1788-89' has been accepted for publication by Irish Historical Studies in 2002.
(vii) Master's Degree Schemes. With an average yearly enrolment of 20 students, the Department treats its three MA degree schemes as important to the maintenance of its research as well as teaching profile. We reached our highest FTE intake ever at this level in 2000/1. Many of our students stay with us to read for PhDs. Our Political Theory and European Politics MA schemes have ESRC recognition and gaining it for our International Relations scheme is an important element of our research strategy.
(i) Permanent Appointments Strategy. The Department has taken full advantage of projected retirements, the elevation of some colleagues to chairs elsewhere and the University's policy of strategic investment in order to develop its expertise in international relations. It has recruited A. Murray, who specialises in international relations theory and has published Reconstructing Realism; A. Collins, who is a specialist in security studies and Southeast Asia, a former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and the author of The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War and The Security Dilemmas of Southeast Asia; and B. Teschke, an Andrew Mellon fellow and co-founder of the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory. Most recently, J. Baylis has been appointed to the Headship of the Department. He comes from the 5-rated Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth and is the joint editor of two major texts in the field, Dilemmas of World Politics (with Nick Rengger) and The Globalisation of World Politics (2nd edition 2001, with Steve Smith), Oxford University Press's best-selling textbook. He is a specialist in the field of security and strategic studies. His current work on Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control, Anglo-American defence relations and European Security adds a new, highly distinctive dimension to the Department’s profile. We have sought to diversify our profile in political thought beyond our traditional strength in liberalism by appointing A. Finlayson, who specialises in post-structuralism (convening the PSA Post-Structuralism and Radical Politics Specialist Group) and has published on the politics of New Labour and the 'Third Way' (upon which he has worked at ESRC seminars), nationalism (on which he has worked for ECPR meetings) and cultural theory.
(ii) Temporary Staff. The Department employs a small number of research students as tutorial assistants, providing them with tutorial experience in line with ESRC guidelines to develop their own careers and create research time for full-time colleagues. This policy has been successful in increasing productivity and launching the careers of young academics. Peter Sutch, Peri Roberts and Steven Marsh have lectureships, Christine Akesson, and David Oprava tutorial fellowships at Cardiff University. Rita Abrahamsen has obtained a lectureship at Aberystwyth, and David Ryall a research position at the Catholic Bishops' Conference, London. Rhys Andrews is Research Officer for the National Forum for Educational Research (Wales), for whom he has produced several public reports. Neil Herman was engaged on an ESRC project at Queen's University Belfast, researching and writing a chapter on postwar Stormont policy regarding public awareness of tobacco-related health hazards; he has since returned as a temporary lecturer. Of the fixed-term lecturers in the census period, Shahin Malik (1996-8) is now at London Guildhall University and Jonathan Seglow (1999) has a permanent post at Royal Holloway College.
Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL
Last updated 17 October 2003