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The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) is a self-consciously pluralistic department. This is reflected in the disciplinary diversity of its members and their wide-ranging approaches to the study of politics, and supplemented through our close links to a variety of area-specific and thematic research centres, as well as numerous other departments and faculties within Cambridge and beyond.

POLIS has current and emerging research strengths in areas that include the historical and contemporary study of political thought, international relations, British and European politics, the study of the global South, political economy, public policy and gender.

POLIS aims to produce top-class research and appoints staff of the highest calibre within our main research clusters so that we can attract top-quality research students.

The Department has good links with other academic departments in Cambridge - Economics, Land Economy, Architecture, Geography, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, and Sociology, to name only a few. We thus have the ability to promote the interdisciplinary study of Politics and International Relations throughout the University.

Our strong interest in interdisciplinarity is particularly sustained through our ties with History and Law.  Furthermore we share the Alison Richard Building not only with the Centres, but with CRASSH which is an outstandingly fertile source of initiatives across conventional intellectual boundaries. The Department is involved with running a large, Leverhulme-funded, research programme on political conspiracies through CRASSH, in conjunction with the Regius Professor of History, Sir Richard Evans.

Almost all members of the Department collaborate with colleagues at other universities, inside and beyond the UK. At the level of PhD students and Early Career Researchers our regular Symposium often provides opportunities for students from other universities to make presentations. We are particularly active in several EU-funded research networks. These activities build directly on a strong tradition of European collaboration in POLIS; we have a strong record of training scholars in European Studies through such networks as well as through our own MPhil and PhD programmes, and the opportunities we offer to visiting academics. As a result of this a steady stream of young scholars go on to successful academic careers elsewhere.

POLIS is proud that members of the Department sit on so many editorial boards for journals such as Government and Opposition, Modern Intellectual History, North African Studies, and International Political Anthropology. The Department also runs the ‘Crises in World Politics’ book series published by Hurst.

Prizes awarded to academics in the Department include Professor Runciman’s award of the Bernard Crick prize for the best article in Political Quarterly in 2011, and Dr Bickerton’s award by the University Association of Contemporary European Studies of its Best Book Prize in 2013. 

We regularly bring theory and practice together. The Hinsley lecture has been given since 1999 by Nobel Prize winner Lord Trimble, practitioners such as Lord Hurd and Lord Healy as well as distinguished professors such as Ian Clark and Stephen Walt. The Centre of Governance and Human Rights was launched in November 2009 by Francis Deng, the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, while the Centre for Rising Powers was launched in May 2011 by Professor Joseph Nye. In 2013 we hosted Professor Gareth Evans, the author of the Doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, for three lectures and a symposium on the theme of optimism in international politics, externally funded by the Humanitas programme. The new Antcliffe Lecture series, established in 2015, will focus on British politics and Lord Michael Howard of Lympne gave the inaugural lecture on Thatcherism Today in March 2015.