Research at SPIRe

SPIRe staff and research centres are pursuing and publishing cutting-edge scholarly research on a wide variety of topics, many of which are directly relevant to the analytical needs of government and voluntary organisations at the national, European and international levels. The School's substantive and methodological strengths reflect the multi-disciplinary character of its staff.

Much of SPIRe's research activity is associated with the initiatives of the School's three research centres, all of which have strong national and international networks:

 All members of SPIRe's academic staff are involved in individual and collaborative research projects in a variety of fields. For details on projects and publications, consult the staff's personal pages.

SPIRe also hosts an interdisciplinary seminar series during the academic year

In geographic terms, SPIRe has a long-standing reputation for excellence in the study of Irish politics (including the Republic, Northern Ireland, and cross-border issues) and European politics (including the national and EU levels). Other staff members contribute expertise on the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. This geographic expertise cuts across the various thematic topics listed below.

In thematic terms, SPIRe has an international reputation for cutting-edge scholarship in the following areas, each of which has multiple academic staff including at least one at professorial level.

  1. Justice, Human Rights and Citizenship. The normative foundations of justice and the conditions for maintaining a liberal state in circumstances of pluralism; citizenship and the constitution of membership over time; the significance of cosmopolitan values for national sovereignty and global distributive justice.

  2. Nationalism, Ethnicity and Conflict. National and group identity formation; micro-macro linkages between individual identities, group behavior and institutional structures; institutional strategies for preventing or resolving identity-based conflict.

  3. Representation and Public Policy: Irish and Comparative Perspectives. State structures, political reform, and democratization; public opinion, voting and lobbying; the design and implementation of public policy.

  4. European and International Integration. The role of state, non-state and supranational actors in integration; the evolution of supranational institutions and identities; the dynamics of intergovernmental negotiation and multi-level governance.

  5. Political Economy and International Development. The determinants of economic development in industrialized and developing countries; the impact of globalization on economic development, social and ecological sustainability; the politics of international trade and finance.

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Professor David Farrell (Chair of Politics)

Research Interests  

Elections, electoral systems; political parties; the representative role of members of parliament 

Research Profile


Dr Samuel Brazys (Assistant Professor)

MA/MSc Coordinator: International Political Economy
Graduate Scholarship and Tutor Coordinator

Research Interests

International political economy; aid; trade; development

Research Profile


Dr James Cross (Assistant Professor)

SPIRe Website and Social Media Coordinator
MSc Programme Coordinator: European Politics
PhD Workshop and Professional Development Programme
Office Hour: Any time by appointment

Substantive Areas of Interest

European Union politics; international organisations; parliamentary politics; legislative decision making; bargaining/negotiations; transparency; social media and online politics; Twitter; interest groups

Methodological Approaches
Quantitative text analysis; quantitative research methods; game theory and the Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM)

Research Profile


Dr Stephanie Dornschneider (Assistant Professor)

POL20020 Module Coordinator

Research Interests

Violent and nonviolent activism, the Middle East, political psychology, computational modeling

Research Profile


Dr Alexander Dukalskis (Assistant Professor)

Co-Director European University Centre at Peking University
SPIRe Seminar Series Coordinator
MSc Programme Coordinator: Human Rights

Research Interests

Authoritarian regimes; transitional justice; Asian politics; international human rights

Research Profile


Dr Vincent Durac (Assistant Professor)

Graduate Admissions Tutor 
Graduate Diploma Coordinator
Graduate Dissertation Coordinator
Law/Politics Liaison

Research Interests

Politics of the Middle East and North Africa; Islamic politics; civil society and democratisation

Research Profile


Dr Johan A. Elkink (Lecturer)

Director of PhD Programmes

Research Interests
Quantitative research methods; computational methods; electoral behaviour

Research Profile



Dr Graham Finlay (Lecturer)

Director of Teaching and Learning
Exams Officer
MA Political Theory Coordinator

Research Interests

Social and political theory; utilitarian thought; international justice

Research Profile


Professor Niamh Hardiman (Professor)

Director of External Relations and Internationalisation
Erasmus/JYA Coordinator

Research Interests

Comparative European political economy; Irish politics and public policy; institutional analysis; comparative case-study research methods

Research Profile


Dr Melanie Hoewer (Assistant Professor)

Dr Hoewer is currently on maternity leave

Research Profile


Dr Hannah Partis-Jennings (Lecturer)

Research Interests

Feminist theory; peacebuilding; the responsibility to protect; aesthetics in international relations


Dr Aidan Regan (Assistant Professor)

Director, UCD Dublin European Institute
MEconSc Programme Coordinator: European Public Affairs and Law

Research Interests

Political economy; European integration; Eurozone crisis

Research Profile


Dr Andy Storey (Lecturer)

Director of Graduate Studies
MDP Student Liaison and Programming

Research Interests

Economic development; global European and African political economy

Research Profile


Dr Tobias Theiler (Lecturer)

Chair of Academic Ethics Committee
INRL10010 Module Coordinator
MA/MSc Programme Coordinator: International Relations

Research Interests

International politics; political psychology; sociology of the state

Research Profile


Professor Jennifer Todd (Full Professor)

MA/MSc Coordinator: Nationalism & Ethnic Conflict
MA/MSc Programme Coordinator: Politics

Research Interests

Comparative ethno-national identity; conflict and settlement processes; peripheral nationalism in Europe; the Northern Ireland conflict

Research Profile


Professor Ben Tonra (Jean Monnet Professor of European Foreign, Security and Defence Policy and Professor of International Relations)

Professor Tonra is on Research Sabbatical for 2016-17

Research Interests
International relations; EU foreign, security and defence policy; Irish foreign policy; European and international security issues

Research Profile


Dr Krishna Vadlamannati (Assistant Professor)

SPIRe Internship Coordinator

Research Profile


Professor Patrick Paul Walsh (Professor of International Development Studies)

Director of UCD Centre for Sustainable Development Solutions
Coordinator of PhD in Global Human Development
UCD Director of the TCD-UCD Masters in Development Practice

Research Interests

International development; industrialization; poverty and inequality; health, education and development

Research Profile


Dr Eva Wegner (Assistant Professor)

MA/MSc Programme Coordinator: Development
MA Politics and International Relations Omnibus Coordinator

Research Interests
Political behaviour; inequality and redistribution; accountability; political participation; Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; survey experiments

Research Profile


Dr Alexa Zellentin (Assistant Professor)

Director of Research and Innovation
POL20010 Module Coordinator
Library Liaison

Research Interests
Political theory; liberal neutrality; cultural rights; climate justice

Research Profile



Dr Guy Aitchison (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: G304 Tel: 01 716 8149


Research Interests: Political theory; human rights; social movements; migration; civil disobedience and resistance

Research Profile


Dr Marco Inglese (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: G309 Tel: 01 716 8696


Research Interests: European Union law; EU citizenship; EU health law; EU internal market; public international law


Dr Vladimir Kmec (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: G304 Tel: 01 716 8296


Research interests: Migration, religion and identity; ethnic and religious conflicts; peacebuilding; United Nations; European Union CSDP; Mali; Western Balkans


Dr Caroline McEvoy (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: B112 (Geary Institute) Tel: 01 716 4658


Research Interests: Political representation and behaviour; political reform; public opinion; EU politics and policy; Irish politics; comparative European politics


Dr Magdalena Staniek (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: B114 (Geary Institute) Tel: 01 716 4621


Research Interests: Political parties; electoral systems; legislative politics; European Union; research methods


Dr Nikola Tomic (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Room: G312 Tel: 01 716 8365


Research Interests: EU foreign policy; international crisis management; international relations theory; foreign policy analysis; Western Balkans and European enlargement

Mr Saleh Alharbi (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Politics of the Middle East; political reform; democratisation; Islamic political thought; human rights
Thesis Title: The resilience of Arab monarchies in the Middle East during the Arab uprising
Supervisor: Dr Vincent Durac

Mr Samuel Almeida (Politics & International Relations) 

Research Interests: Human rights; transitional justice; guarantees of non-recurrence; institutional reforms; post-conflict reconciliation; prevention of conflict; causes of conflict; Latin American politics

Thesis Title: Securing peace? Institutional reforms and transitional justice in Latin America

 Dr Alexander Dukalskis

Mr Mohammed AlRizeiqi (Global Human Development)

Research Interests: Food process policy; food sustainability; human development; industrial economic policy

Thesis Title: Development of a process strategy for seafood industries

 Professor Patrick Paul Walsh

Mr Mohammed Alshamisi (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests:Regional integration process; GCC; Middle Eastern politics; Arab uprisings; strategic policy-making

Thesis Title: The international, security and strategic policy-making of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Analysing the policy-making of the GCC in a post-2011 Arab uprisings environment

 Dr Vincent Durac


Mr Dave Banks (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Women in politics; political parties; candidate selection; gender quotas

Thesis Title: The socio-psychology of inter-group conflict: A unifying theory of interstate and intrastate conflict

 Dr Tobias Theiler


Ms Mary Brennan (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Women in politics; political parties; candidate selection; gender quotas

Thesis Title: Are successful gender quotas incompatible with party renewal? An empirical study of gender quotas, party selection procedures and gender outcomes

 Dr Johan A Elkink and Prof David Farrell

Mr Tarcisio Amorim Carvalho (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Political theory and religion; Habermas' communicative rationality and religious discourses; liberal, republican and communitarian models of deliberative democracy

Thesis Title: Negotiating religion in the public sphere: England and Ireland between secularism and post-secularism

 Dr Graham Finlay

Mr Tony Casey (Public Policy)

Research Interests: Political theory; governance; regulation; policy networks; agent based modelling; social network analysis

Thesis Title: A Theory of Governance: The Micro-Foundations of Political Order

 Dr Johan A Elkink


Ms Barbara Dantas Mendes Da Silva (Politics & IR)

Research interests: Japanese Security Policy; East Asia Security Issues; Japanese Foreign Policy; Threat Perception in East Asia; Japanese International Performance. 

Thesis title: The impact of threat perception to Japanese foreign policy's formulation in 21st century

 Dr Alexander Dukalskis



Ms Emanuela Ferrari (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Environmental conflicts; social movements; political ecology; critical development studies  

Thesis Title:  Defending the local: Environmental defenders and the challenge of advancing alternative concepts of nature, development and sustainability    

 Dr Andy Storey


Mr Luke Field (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Political psychology; electoral politics; voter behaviour; social policy

Thesis Title: Changing Marriage or Changing Minds?: A discourse analysis of the 2015 Referendum on Marriage Equality

 Professor David Farrell

Mr Roland Gjoni (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Ethnic conflict; nationalism; conflict management; kin state politics of Albania and Ireland

Thesis Title: Dilemmas of kin states; nationalism, conflict resolution and state stability in Albania and Ireland

 Professor Jennifer Todd

Research Profile


Ms Dana Guy (Politics & International Relations)

Research interests:

Thesis title: The medium and the message: Social media, virtual communities and narratives in intractable conflicts 

Dr Stephanie Dornschneider 

Co-supervisor: Dr Eva Wegner


Mr Ayano Hula (Global Human Development)

Research Interests: Development policy in developing countries
Thesis Title: Extent and determinants of poverty dynamics in Ethiopia

Professor Patrick Paul Walsh


Mr Junhyoung Lee (Politics & International Relations)

Research interests: 
Thesis title: Survival and resilience of autocratic regimes after "third wave" of democratisation and legitimation mechanism of authoritarian regimes in North Korea

Dr Alexander Dukalskis


Ms Yuanxin Li (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Foreign aid; Southeast Asia; foreign policy

Thesis Title: China's foreign aid in Southeast Asia

Supervisor: Dr Samuel Brazys


Ms Xiaodong Li (Politics & International Relations)

Thesis Title: A comparative study of China and the EU on the migration in urbanisation process

 Dr Graham Finlay

Ms Sinead McGrath (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Migration; transitional justice; gender mainstreaming; intersectionality; international refugee law; human rights mechanisms

Thesis Title: Internally displaced women: through a lens? A look at the transitional justice mechanisms that deal with internally displaced women in Colombia through discourse analysis

 Dr Melanie Hoewer

Mr Kevin McParland (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: South Asian politics; education and development; globalisation and development

Thesis Title: No country is an island: a comparative analysis of Sri Lanka's alliances with India and China, 2005-2015

 Dr Andy Storey


Mr David Martyn (Politics & International Relations)


Mr Ally Masabo (Global Human Development)

Research Interests: International political economy; parliamentary affairs; international security; counterterrorism; human development; natural resource governance

Thesis Title: The contribution of parliamentary oversight effectiveness in mitigation and facilitation of resource curse in Tanzania

 Dr Samuel Brazys


Ms Emma Mathias (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: International development; food security; trade; mental health issues

Thesis Title: An investigation of the impacts of food insecurity on the mental health of populations in rural Lesotho

 Dr Andy Storey


Ms Emma Murphy (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: 

Thesis Title: The gendered healing gap

 Dr Dawn Walsh


Ms Orla Ni Cheallachain (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Critical security studies; political violence; states of emergency; peace studies; discourse analysis; the politics of method; gender in international relations

Thesis Title: Countering the threat: An exploration of British counter-terrorism before and after the 'war on terror'

 Professor Jennifer Todd

Research Profile


Ms Sadhbh O'Neill (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: Normative political theory; the political and social theory of Jurgen Habermas; climate justice; democratic theory

Thesis Title: Institutional barriers to effective climate governance: the case of the Paris Agreement

Supervisors: Dr Alexa Zellentin and Dr Tobias Theiler


Mr Yao Wang (Politics and International Relations)

Research Interests: EU politics; EU's foreign policy towards China; America's influence on EU's decision-making

Thesis Title: US's factor in EU's foreign policy towards China after the Cold War

 Dr James Cross

Ms Kejia Xue (Politics & International Relations)

Research Interests: China-Africa development relations; Malagasy society and politics

Thesis Title: Big fish in a small pond: entrepreneurial Chinese migrants in Madagascar. Historical trajectory, local perspective and socioeconomic impact

Dr Andy Storey


Mr Wei Zheng (Quantitative Social Sciences)

Research Interests: Urbanisation; industrialisation; energy economy; climate change

 Professor Patrick Paul Walsh

The SPIRe Podcast Series

Here you will find monthly interviews with School staff and visiting scholars to provide an insight into the workings of the oldest and largest school of its kind in the Republic of Ireland.

In the Dublin Political Theory Workshop we discuss work in progress in the area of policial theory widely understood including debates on applied ethics and social and legal philosophy.

If you are interested to discuss your work with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch via our blog


SPIRe Seminar Series Programme

All Seminars take place in Room G316, School of Politics and International Relations, Newman Building

Speaker Title Discussant Date and Time

Prof. Kerry Brown (King’s College London)


The Powers of Xi Jinping: The Road to the 19th Party Congress


Dr. Alex Dukalskis


Wednesday, Jan. 25th , 14:00-  15:15


Prof. Frank Barry (TCD)


The Irish Single Currency Debate of the 1990s in Retrospect


Dr. Aidan Regan


Wednesday Feb. 1st, 14:00-15:15


Dr. Stephanie Dornschneider (UCD)


Hot Contention, Cool Abstention: Mobilizing for the Arab Spring


Dr. Vincent Durac



Wednesday, Feb. 8th , 14:00-15:15


Profs. Sara Connolly & Hussein Kassim (University of East Anglia)


One EU Civil Service or Many? The European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council


Prof. Niamh Hardiman


Wednesday, Feb. 15th , 14:00-15:15


Dr. Ross Carroll (University of Exeter)


Hume on the Power of Ridicule in Politics


Dr. Graham Finlay


Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, 14:00-15:15


Dr. Elodie Fabre (Queen’s University Belfast)


Changes in French Party Politics Ahead of the 2017 Presidential Elections


Dr. Magda Staniek


Wednesday, March 1st , 14:00-15:15


Dr. Christian von Soest (GIGA Hamburg)


Authoritarian Regimes and Legally Binding Forms of Cooperation and Integration in Sub-Saharan Africa


Dr. Andy Storey Wednesday

Wednesday, March 8th, 14:00-15:15


Tarciscio Carvalho (UCD Ph.D. Candidate)

Negotiating Religion in the Public Sphere: England and Ireland Between Secularism and Post-secularism

Dr. Alexa Zellentin

March 29th, 14:00-15:00

Dr. Johannes Gerschewski (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Legacies of Authoritarianism in New Democracies

Dr. Eva Wegner

Wednesday, April 5th, 14:00-15:15

Dr. Eva Wegner (UCD SPIRe) & Dr. Miquel Pellicer (UCD Geary Institute)

Efficacy Perceptions and the Scope of Protest: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in South Africa

Prof. Paul Walsh

Wednesday, April 12th, 14:00-15:15

Jack Bwalya (UCD Ph.D. Candidate)

How to Assess Chinese FDI Influence on Political Governance in Zambia

Dr. Krishna Vadlamannati

Wednesday, April 19th, 14:00-16:00

Kejia Xue (UCD Ph.D. Candidate)

Big Fish in a Small Pond: Entrepreneurial Chinese Migrants in Madagascar

Dr. Steffi Dornschneider

Wednesday, April 19th, 14:00-16:00

Xiaodong Li (UCD Ph.D. Candidate)

Decentralization of Hukou Reform in China and Its Impact on Rural Workers’ Subjective Wellbeing

Dr. Hannah Partis-Jennings

Wednesday, April 26th, 14:00-16:00

Mohammad Al Rizeiqi (UCD Ph.D. Candidate)

Sustainable Development & Oman Fisheries

Dr. Sam Brazys


Wednesday, April 26th, 14:00-16:00

You can view the annual return of publications from staff in the School by viewing Research Publications by School and you can also access many of the publications in full text at Research Repository UCD. Below are some of our more recent publications.


Publications by year

UCD SPIRe Publications 2015-2016

UCD SPIRe Publications 2014-2015

UCD SPIRe Publications 2013-2014

UCD SPIRe Publications 2012-2013

UCD SPIRe Publications 2011-2012

UCD SPIRe Publications 2010-2011

UCD SPIRe Publications 2009-2010


The Peter Mair Library

The Peter Mair Library on Comparative Party Politics is located in the Boardroom of UCD School of Politics and International Relations. This collection of books and papers formed the working (office) library of the late Peter Mair from his time at the European University Institute, Florence — his final place of work up to his untimely death in August 2011. Peter was a renowned political scientist whose work centred in particular on political parties and representative democracy (for more, see  The book collection originated in Manchester, where Peter had moved in the 1980s after his first stint at the EUI.  In an unfortunate accident many of his books had been destroyed in a warehouse fire.  A number of Peter’s colleagues and friends clubbed together to replenish his book stocks from scratch — a measure of already just how high he was held in the esteem of other party scholars.  This book collection then followed him from Manchester to Leiden and on to his final office in Villa San Felice on the hills of San Domenico just outside Florence.  The collection has now returned home to UCD SPIRe, Peter’s alma mater.  Indeed, it is located in the very room where he studied as a post-graduate student. The Peter Mair Library was kindly donated to UCD SPIRe by Peter’s family, his wife Karin and their children Cathleen, John and Tessa.

Peter Mair Collection Catalogue

The Library is available for access by prior appointment.

A number of colleagues from Peter’s past visited UCD at an event to mark the arrival and cataloguing of the collection.

Peter Mair Collection Photo 1

Former students and colleagues of Peter Mair (L-R): Professor
Richard Sinnott (UCD); Professor David Farrell (UCD); Professor
Jean Blondel (Sienna) and Professor Lieven De Winter (Louvain)

Peter Mair Collection Photo 2

Party and comparative politics scholars examining the 
book collection (L-R): Professor David Farrell (UCD); 
Dr Derek Hutcheson (Malmo); Professor Brigid Laffan (EUI)
and Professor Richard Sinnott (UCD)