Dr Adrian Gallagher


I joined POLIS in 2012 as a Lecturer in Security Studies and Research Methods.

Previously, I completed a BA in International Studies at Kingston University (2002-2005), a MA in Research Methods in Politics and IR at the University of Sheffield (2005-2006), and an ESRC-funded PhD entitled ‘Genocide and Its Threat to International Society’ also at the University of Sheffield (2007-2010).


  • Co-Director of Postgraduate Research
  • Research Director for the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Research interests

I specialise in the study of mass violence and as of December 2016, I am Research Director of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect which is based at the University of Leeds and partnered with the Budapest Centre. At the theoretical level, my work focuses on discussions of international legitimacy, moral foundations, and norm studies. At the empirical level, I have researched the crises in Syria, Libya, Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Breaking this down, there are four overarching strands. 

  1. The need to manage expectations around the Responsibility to Protect. I advance an understanding of the RtoP that is inherently more sensitive to its limitations and possibilities. At the theoretical level, this calls for a more interdisciplinary research on ‘expectations’ which I am developed through research on norms. This requires greater engagement with Political Economy, Political Psychology, and Political Science. This theoretical framework can then be utilised to analyse key RtoP debates.
  1. The need to better understand pillar II of the Responsibility to Protect which refers to ‘International Assistance’. There are two strands to this research. First, within the RtoP itself, the daunting parameters of pillar II and its relationship with pillar III is of critical importance. This is evident in South Sudan. Second, the external relationship between the RtoP and other norms such as counter-terrorism, protection of civilians, peacekeeping, and rights up front is an emerging research agenda.
  1. The impact of mass violence on both international order and humanity. The former is the focus of my first monograph. This neither accepts or rejects the existence of humanity and instead focuses on the impact of genocide on the ordering structure of international society using an English School approach. The latter is the follow up research on the relationship between mass violence and humanity. I guest edited a special issue journal on this topic and now supervise Ph.D research in this area.
  1. What constitutes a ‘manifest failing?’ Paragraph 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document (WSOD) states that the international community is prepared to respond on a ‘case-by-case basis’ in a ‘timely and decisive manner’ when ‘national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations’ from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. But what constitutes a ‘manifest failing’? To date, I have addressed this at the conceptual and empirical level but look to advance this through further case study analysis.
<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>


  • PhD
  • MA
  • BA

Professional memberships

  • International Studies Association
  • Bristish International Studies Associatio
  • European International Studies Association
  • The International Political Science Association

Student education

I became a University Lecturer to teach and inspire students of all ages and from all backgrounds. I encourage students to become active independent learners that engage with timely and important debates in International Relations. My teaching is heavily informed by my research on International Relations Theory and the Responsibility to Protect and I am always happy to discuss Modules, Careers, and University Life in general.

I have won two awards from the students, Inspirational Teaching Award (2016) and Best Feedback Award (2017).

I also hold a University of Leeds Teaching Award, Professional Standard 2, ULTA 2, Pass with Merit.

Research groups and institutes

  • European Centre for Responsibility to Protect

Current postgraduate research students

<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://essl.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>