Climate Change and International Relations in the Caribbean (War Studies, KCL)

Contact: Nicholas Michelsen 


Department: Department of War Studies 

Institution: King’s College London 

Project timeline: January-May 2022 

Project duration:13 weeks, full time 

Closing date: 15th November 2022 

Expertise required:  A successful application needs an interest in debates about climate change and its relevance to international relations.  

Project description:  The research project is concerned to explore how small island states in the Caribbean seek to influence international relations through their strategic communications about the global climate emergency, in light of region’s extant exposure to the national and human security consequences of climate change (e.g. soil erosion, hurricanes, sea level rise). The project seeks to examine and explore how small island states may be understood as powerful communicative actors in International Relations. The project will involve undertaking or supporting interviews with key actors, and conducting groundwork research, so as to develop preliminary research findings on which to establish the wider research agenda. The project is also intended to support the creation of new partnerships between UK-based scholars and scholars based in the Caribbean Community. 

Description of work involved: 

The student will provide research assistance to support the development of a new research agenda, and to support the creation of an international research network. This will involve: reviewing academic literatures on climate change in International Relations, Communications and the Caribbean Community, drafting sections of text, assisting in the organisation and administration of a research workshop, and supporting primary research (conducting or transcribing interviews). This work has three principle targets/goals: 1) To support the development of a standard research grant proposal. 2) To support the creation of an international research network, through the organisation of an online workshop/seminar bringing together researchers based in the Caribbean (University of the West Indies), with UK based academics, to explore climate security from a Strategic Communications perspectives. 3) To support the publication of a research article on Caribbean Communications and the International Relations of Climate Change. This will launch a new research agenda exploring the communications strategies of small island states, and how they seek to influence international relations with respect to the global climate emergency, drawing on interview data that will be gathered in early 2023. 

Student benefits: 1) The research assistant will be involved in international research network building, through helping to organise an online workshop/ seminar. The student will thereby gain experience of academic event organisation and administration, as well as having the opportunity to build individual relationships and contacts with international academics. 2) In providing research assistance to support the development of an ESRC grant, the student will gain experience of the application process, and may potentially be a candidate for any subsequently offered research positions. 3) Through supporting the conduct of primary interview research, and reviewing relevant academic literatures, the student will be mentored with respect to a key process in academic professional life (the development of a research article). The research assistant will be a co-author on the research article, setting out the project research agenda. This will benefit the career development of the student, and support their transition into professional academic life after they complete their doctorate.