What are your research interests?
I am fascinated by what history can teach us about the problems faced by society today. From COVID 19 and the Global Climate Crisis, through to renewed Great Power tensions, and the emergence of new disruptive technologies, my research looks back through modern history to draw out lessons and insights that can help society overcome and resolve societies most important challenges. For example, I currently lead a NATO funded project on the ‘Vulnerabilities of the Drone Age’. In this pro-ject, my team and I, harness lessons from past wars, and experiences from recent conflict, to forecast chal-lenges that NATO states will face over the coming decades from the global spread of drones.
How did you become interested in your field of research?
I was conducting my PhD during the Obama era, when modern Western warfare was being transformed by high-tech robotic drone technologies. As these technologies began to proliferate to new, hostile actors, I wanted to look to the history of weapons prolifera-tion to see what we could learn about the challenge that may be faced in the future.
What research question would you above all like to find the answer to? And why is that?
I have just been awarded funding for a new project on ‘Climate Change and War’ with Dr Carolin Löscher, here we will look into the history of trends in Climate Change and compare them with trends in the emergence of war and conflict. I am passionate to find out if there is a link between spikes in climate crisis and spikes in conflict throughout history. By understanding if there is a correlation, we can begin to see if there is a causal link, and we can then identify where conflict may occur so that we can try and avoid wars in tense regions around the world. For me, this includes the Arctic regions, which have seen increased state tensions and ‘re-militarization’, including through the growing use of military drones.
Which impact do you expect your research to have on the surrounding society?
I hope my research will help both academics, policy makers, and interested members of the public to understand the wide range of chal-lenges that we face as a society both now and in the future. I also hope my work will help us find solutions for these issues. I am currently an expert advisor to the UK Parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, the EU Commission, NATO Strategic Foresights, and I am a UK MoD Defence Opinion Leader. Through these policy roles I apply my historical and contemporary re-search findings as a means to help us meet the global challenges we face.