Dr Margherita Belgioioso

Dr Margherita Belgioioso


I am Associate Professor in Quantitative International Relations and have previously served as (tenured) Assistant Professor in International Security and Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent (2019-2022) and as (tenured) Assistant Professor at Brunel University London (2017-2019), which I joined in 2017 prior to successfully defending my Ph.D. at the Department of Government at the University of Essex. From October 2020 to May 2021, I have taken maternity leave to take care full time of son. 



  • Coordinator of POLIS Quantitative Cluster

Research interests

My research expertise and interests lie in the area of international relations, security, violent and non-violent conflicts, peace, and data science. Two themes are central to my research. First, my commitment to understanding the international and domestic roots of political violence and radicalization. Second, to explore the ways in which international and domestic organizations can establish security and positive peace through non-violent civil resistance methods. In this context, I take Johan Galtung’s formulation of peace science to heart: “the study of violent conflict at the social level in order to reduce the amount of violence”. It is my belief that our understanding of International Relations and Security starts with developing rigorous theories and evaluating them through the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and that international and domestic factors need to be studied in combination to understand conflicts and contribute to peace.


My contributions to the study of political violence have been to elaborate theoretical mechanisms moving beyond a pure rationalist framework, showing that actors have similar motivations to use terrorism in violent and non-violent conflicts and showing how positive gender stereotyping is exploited by rebel groups that have incentives to use their female cadres in highly lethal terrorist operations. Besides my research on terrorism and radicalization, my work explores how non-violent civil resistance works and how international and local organizations facilitate nonviolent political contention as an alternative to violent contentious political behaviors and to foster peace. My contribution to the study of non-violence has been to explain how even a very small proportion of a national population can obtain substantial political change using civil resistance methods and how this is possible even in presence of terrorist flanks.  I have also shown that peacekeeping missions’ presence increases nonviolent protests in post–civil war country years thanks to the presence of UNPOL in countries with strong civil societies.



I am particularly interested in supervising Ph.D. projects using quantitative methods and/or in the following areas:


  • Terrorism within and outside of Civil Wars
  • Right Wing Radicalisation on and off line
  • Dynamics and Outcomes of Non-Violent Resistance
  • External Support in Armed Conflict
  • Female Rebel Combatants and Post-Conflict Politics
  • Gender and Peacebuilding
  • Interstate Conflict
  • Onset, Dynamics, Termination, and Impacts of Civil Wars


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I teach courses on international relations, terrorism, international security, non-violent civil resistance, and research design and methodologies. I recognize students come to the classroom with a wealth of diverse life experiences but may have little or no prior exposure to the topic. My objectives in the classroom are to engage students with intellectually challenging material and help them connect theories and paradigms to their own life experiences, advance their existing critical thinking skills, and make progress toward their professional goals. 


<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>