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International Relations

LSE International Relations and Government submission ranked first in the UK for the percentage of its research graded world leading or internationally excellent.

The LSE Department of International Relations (IR) is the largest, and one of the oldest, Departments for the study of International Relations in the UK. Its scale allows it to incorporate a wide range of interests, including foreign and security policy, political economy, international relations theory, historical sociology, diplomacy, and environmental politics. It also helps ensure global coverage, with specialists covering Europe, Russia, China, the USA, East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

IR hosts the International Trade Policy Unit (ITPU), the European Foreign Policy Unit (EFPU), the Centre for International Studies (CIS), the Middle East Centre (MEC), and the Global South Unit. Scholars also conduct research under the auspices of the Centre for Diplomacy and Strategy (LSE IDEAS) and contribute to prominent multi- and inter-disciplinary LSE centres, including the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR).

The Department’s achievements across these fields are reflected in the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment: 44 per cent of the research output submitted jointly by IR with the LSE Department of Government achieved the highest (4 star) grade, indicating that it was considered 'world-leading'; a further 44 per cent was designated 'internationally excellent' (3 star). As a result, the submission was ranked first in the UK for its percentage of 3 and 4 star research and second in the UK for its overall performance.

The Department’s success in the REF derives partly from its commitment to combining academic excellence with practical engagement.

LSE IDEAS plays a key role in this by supporting sustained knowledge exchange between LSE experts and foreign policy and diplomacy practitioners, as well as corporate leaders and members of the public. Attendees of the Centre’s open and invitation-only events include senior officials with strategic responsibilities in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence, Cabinet Office, Home Office and intelligence services.

IR scholars also regularly provide expert advice to policy-makers around the world, informing key aspects of national and international policy. Work by Professor Karen E. Smith, for example, has had an important impact on EU human rights policy, underpinning recommendations to strengthen capacity to prevent mass atrocities.

Dr Stephen Woolcock, an expert on EU free trade agreements, has likewise informed EU policy decisions. His provision of advice to the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee has supported both policy formulation and decision-making relating to major free trade agreements, such as that with Korea.

Dr Robert Falkner’s research on the regulation of novel technologies, including his leadership of the first ever comparative study of nanotechnologies regulation in the EU and the US, has stimulated significant policy debate in the UK and Europe. The emphasis in his work on the need for improved transparency about nanomaterials in consumer goods and supply chains has had a wider impact still, informing global calls for the use of comprehensive and mandatory nanomaterials registers.

Other members of the department regularly brief Non-Governmental Organisations and government departments, such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Cabinet Office on developments in various regions around the world.

Departmental results: Politics and International Studies|

Department homepage: http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations/Home.aspx|

LSE Impact: www.lse.ac.uk/researchImpact|

See also:

Impact Case Study Summaries