Introduction to IR Research

in the Department of International Relations

The greatest achievement is that the research clusters have brought together the academics and research students within and outside the LSE, breaking silos and resulting in an ever greater visibility to the cutting-edge social sciences research led by the IR Department.

International Relations at LSE is one of a handful of large IR Departments in the UK. Its scale means that the research interests of its staff are wide-ranging, covering most aspects of the subject, and reflecting the rich choice of subjects on offer in its teaching.

The department prides itself on the linkage between its research and its teaching at all levels from undergraduate to research students. Individual scholarship remains the dominant mode of research, though there are some clusters of individuals who work in similar areas. The Department has particular strengths in Political Theory, International Relations Theory, International Political Economy, and European Studies. As well as Europe, its area specialists cover Russia, Central, Northeast and Southeast Asia, the USA, South America, the Middle East and Africa. Other areas of research strength include foreign policy analysis, nationalism, religion, historical sociology, international environmental politics and international security. Many individuals contribute to more than one of these subjects, and there is quite a lot of linkage with colleagues in the Departments of Government and International History, as well as through the many research Centres in the LSE.

In line with these research strengths, the Department recruits about a dozen research students annually, and hosts Millennium, which is run by postgraduate students. The Department's research engages not only with academic debates, but also those on public policy, the latter particularly though the Department's involvement in LSE IDEAS. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework in which our research was submitted with the Department of Government to the Politics and International Studies Unit of Assessment, over 90 percent of its research was rated either world leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.


Research Clusters

The IR Department has a long-standing commitment to intellectual pluralism and research is divided into four targeted research areas known as Research Clusters.  Find out more about them below and watch our introductory videos:

International Institutions, Law and Ethics Research Cluster

Theory/Area/History Research Cluster

International Political Economy Research Cluster

Security and Statecraft Research Cluster


See our new books and other staff publications on LSE Research Online for further information on work from members of the Department.

Student Research

Current student research within the department:
Postgraduate research students

Research Fellowships

See: David Davies of Llandinam Research fellowship