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Research Centres

There are a number of research centres within POLIS. Please see the links below:



POLIS launched the Centre of Governance and Human Rights in late 2009 as an outward focused multi-disciplinary research endeavour strongly committed to advancing thought and practice within areas of critical importance to global justice and human well-being in the twenty-first century.

The Centre aims to be widely valued as a dynamic, innovative and collaborative research network with proven expertise in core thematic areas, that produces high quality scholarly outputs drawn upon by the academy as well as policy-makers and practitioners.

Within Cambridge, CGHR brings together wide-ranging expertise from within POLIS and across the University to build a core network of scholars, including graduate researchers. The Centre benefits from the ideas and involvement of a range of academics with expertise in regional politics (Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America), human rights, comparative law, international studies, security studies, anthropology, geography, international development, history and political thought.

The Forum on Geopolitics is an interdisciplinary space created by leading academics to consider within their historical contexts the world's most pressing current geopolitical questions. The Forum is the first step in the development of a new research centre, the Centre of Geopolitics and Grand Strategy (CoGGS), which will deepen the study of grand strategy and statecraft at the University of Cambridge, offer innovative opportunities for collaboration with practitioners and deliver impactful engagement with the wider world. 


The Centre for Rising Powers stems from the burgeoning interest in scholarly and policy circles in the emergence of new powers, the so-called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). It is the first initiative of its kind however that goes beyond the attention to the immediate cases to focus on the fundamental theoretical and empirical puzzle: how do new powers rise, how might they be accommodated, and what impact do these interactions generate on systemic stability. Its research program is thus just as interested in the threats and opportunities posed by the rise of new powers in the past (such as Germany, Japan, the United States and the former Soviet Union in the 20th century) as the emergence of new powers today (such as India, China, and Brazil).


The European Centre @POLIS aims at bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise on European affairs in Cambridge, including history, law and economics in addition to politics and security studies, and form the focus for research projects, speaker meetings and networks of scholars. 


The Centre of International Studies brings together experts from across the University and beyond to research and debate international issues. Its contribution to public, political and scholarly debate is recognised worldwide.

The Centre aims to maintain and develop its role as advisers to Government departments, corporations, non-governmental organisations and the media in policy areas where its expertise and the outcomes of its research can influence decision-making in the real world. Through its involvement in MPhil and PhD programmes it aids in the development of future leaders, whose insight and understanding of strategic issues can contribute directly to improved international relations, the resolution of long-standing conflicts, the protection of human rights, and better living conditions in all regions of the world.

The following research centres also have strong links with POLIS:


Cambridge Centre of Political Thought is run jointly with History, and offers activities such as seminars, lectures and conferences. Cambridge is a world-leading centre for the study of the History of Political Thought. Many of the subject’s finest practitioners have studied and taught here, among them John Dunn, Duncan Forbes, Peter Laslett, John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, Gareth Stedman Jones and Richard Tuck. Through their research and teaching, the present generation of Cambridge scholars constantly takes the subject forward in new directions, reinforced by a large and lively community of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.


CIRMENA aims to stimulate interest in and research on geostrategic issues in the Middle Eastern and North African region at a time of rapid change, with a particular focus on politics, security, economic issues and the media. CIRMENA promotes academic and policy-relevant research on the history, politics, economics and cultures of the Middle East and North African region. It brings together a wide range of academic researchers interested in such issues in the United Kingdom and abroad. CIRMENA hosts conferences, workshops and research projects, and has encouraged publication of articles, monographs and books that have emerged from these and other activities in which it has been closely engaged. In conjunction with the American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS), it publishes the Journal of North African Studies (Routledge), a peer review journal founded by the Centre of North African Studies (CNAS).