Defence Research Network

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Monthly Members' Newsletter

For new friends, welcome! We are an interdisciplinary network of Masters, PhD and Early Career Researchers focused on defence, security and military topics concerning policy, strategy, history, culture and society. We hope you find our network interesting, exciting, informative, and supportive.

For old friends, thanks for your continued involvement. It is always worth remembering that we would be nothing without you! After enjoying the summer, we are back with our January newsletter to share thoughts and discussions on 'Researcher Wellbeing'. We have so much to share with you, from our top tips for researcher wellbeing to some new job adverts and upcoming events (thank you so much to everyone who has shared these with us). 

Scroll down to get up to date with the news, opinions, events and opportunities from our members...

Welcome to the Defence Research Network Newsletter!

Hello everyone! It has been super to connect with so many of you this month. Thank you for the great response to our themes on Twitter, we have loved hearing your enthusiasm to collaborate and work with us on many of them and it is brilliant to have so many new ideas coming forward. We have enjoyed exploring researcher wellbeing this month and had such a warm and supportive conversation with everyone who joined us for our online event - so many practical tips came from this and the Twitter hour so check it all out later in the newsletter. Thank you so much to Veronika Poniscjakova and Lucie Pebay for leading the theme this month. 

Sadly, my Co-Chair, Lucy Wray has had to stand down from the committee due to the pressure of other work commitments. We are really sorry about this, me especially, because Lucy has done so much for the DRN since joining (without Lucy we wouldn't have a Twitter hour!) but we understand how important it is to prioritise when you have a lot on your plate, and this feels like the perfect example for our theme of wellbeing, and from someone who has done so much to look after the wellbeing of our committee and network. Thank you, Lucy and keep in touch.

Happily, we have welcomed Baris Celik to our committee in a new role as teaching lead. We are really excited about this and are looking forward to starting a conversation about teaching in defence and military related fields, as well as in academic and military settings so watch this space!

In keeping with our theme, take care and reach out if we can support you in any way. 

Hannah West 
Chair of the Defence Research Network

Researcher spotlight
Name: Dr Daniel Leightley
Institution: King's College London

Daniel Leightley is a Research Fellow at the King’s Centre for Military Health Research where he joined in 2015. He leads the KCMHR Digital Labs which is focused on the interface between physical and mental health using digital technology, secondary data sources and big data analytics. 

What topic did you do your PhD on? And what motivated you to undertake it?
I have always been interested in understanding human movement, and how illness impacts it. But I also didn’t feel my education was finished, and a PhD allowed me to further explore my interests and develop a better idea of where I wanted to go in my career. My PhD was not in a military related subject, but in computer science, and focused on using your everyday home cameras to recognise human movement, and make predictions on what was observed. I developed a framework which used machine learning to take video data, identify key anatomical positions on the body, and make predictions on mobility observed. The main outcome was an objective measure of mobility, with the main aim to support clinicians in objectively assessing if a patients movement has improved or worsened over time. 

What is current research about, and what makes you passionate about this area of study?
My current area of research is on how we can use digital technology to improve the health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces Community. This takes the form of developing digitals technology such as smartphone apps, or web platforms to help monitor, manage and intervene. I really enjoy this work as you’re on the coalface, able to help those in need and directly interface with the Community.

What books would you recommend and why?
I am currently reading The Secret Barrister which so far has enlightened me to how our justice system functions (or doesn’t). But other books I’d recommend reading – all none work related – are: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick and The Bletchley Park Codebreakers by Ralph Erskine.

Wellbeing tips from our committee
Edited by Hannah West
Lucie Pebay is URSA funded Ph.D Candidate in Politics, Languages and International Studies. Prior to starting her PhD at the University of Bath, she earned a Masters in English Studies back in her home country France, and a Masters in strategic studies at the University of Aberdeen. Lucie is interested in security and strategic studies in particular strategic culture, military transformation, and the future of warfare. Her previous research project looked into the strategic relevance of interventionism through an analysis of recent French military interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is now working on her thesis focusing on the contemporary transformation of the French land army. Identifying core drivers and shapers of transformation, her research relies on interview-based qualitative research to offer a better understanding of the contemporary French army model and its recent and ongoing transformations. To manage her mental-health Lucie works flexible hours, does lots of exercise and spends (arguably too much) time with her cat.
Lucy is a third year PhD student at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She is funded by the ESRC's Grand Union DTP studentship. Her research engages with service children, using creative methods, to explore how military life shapes their identity and school experiences. Lucy is the Twitter Manager of the DRN and also a Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust, a grant-giving charity for service children. When she is not working on her doctoral research, Lucy likes to spend time relaxing with her rescue dog Hughie on countryside walks or down the allotment.
Veronika is a senior teaching fellow at the University of Portsmouth, based at RAF Halton. Her research interests include political violence, terrorism, and Israel as well as professional military education. Veronika is the LinkedIn Manager of the DRN and also part of the Events team. When she was doing her PhD, she struggled with imposter syndrome and anxiety. Her top tips for mental health and well-being include a good work-life balance and doing activities that bring her joy (including silly things such as Disney!).
Hannah is a ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Cardiff University. Her research fellowship is exploring British servicewomen's war labour in the Northern Ireland conflict. When life has been full on, whether through work pressures or family life, I have found it super important to step away from the desk. Getting fresh air, taking in big skies, going for a swim or a run, or just having a stretch and looking out of the window all help me to get some perspective. I am always amazed how it is the 5 minutes on the school run when I always have the break through with something I have been working on at the computer for several hours. Don't judge your productivity in terms of time in front of the computer. 
Tami is an early-career researcher, currently working as a Visiting Specialist in Defence and Security at SENAI CIMATEC in Brazil. She recently completed her postdoctoral research on the adoption of military innovation, digging through the institutional effects of cruise missiles across different armed forces using an approach inspired by complex systems. Managing pressures outside of research at the very same time we're dealing with them is a difficult task. Establishing strategic yet daily "quick escapes" was especially helpful whenever I felt overwhelmed by an increasing number of side projects alongside job hunting and so forth. As my mother once told me, our bodies are not supposed to be just containers for our bodies. I was able to truly refresh my mind and cope with a very strict and energy-demanding routine by listening to it and incorporating physical activities into my daily activities, whether it was intensive kung fu training or just walks around the corner with Luke Skywalker, my dog. Daily meditation before sleeping was also incredibly supportive in order to disconnect and relax properly. 
News from our community
Edited by Hannah West
Thank you to Nick Wood for sharing with us the recent publication of the ‘Independent evaluation of the Keeping Families in Mind Service’ that has been published as part of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust project.

Executive summary
Keeping Families in Mind (KFIM) is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust following a successful application to the Covenant Fund Families in Stress. Patel et al (2017) reported that it was clear from the ‘Call to Mind’ reports ‘that the needs of [military] families are not being adequately recognised or addressed and that this is a gap in current provision across the UK’ (p.46). In response to this identified need, the Keeping Families in Mind service aimed to work with families in the Sheffield area, offering one-to-one counselling, group anger management, mental health and wellbeing activities and a volunteer skills building programme. They planned to work closely with Armed Forces Welfare Officers, and to offer a bespoke programme of interventions, tailored to build resilience and discourage dependency. When Sheffield Mind applied for funding to develop and deliver this service they had to plan for an independent evaluation of the service as part of the funding agreement. The evaluation aimed to discover whether or not the service has been beneficial for families of serving and veteran personnel. The evaluation was conducted to inform decisions about whether the KFIM service should be continued.
PhD & Mental Health and Well-Being
Written & Edited by Lucie Pebay and Veronika Poniscjakova
Feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed? You are not alone! That’s all the irony of doing research and working towards a PhD: although it is a lonely journey, the one thing you are almost guaranteed to share with others are those feelings! In fact, research shows PhD students suffer from more stress and anxiety than the general population. The numbers are telling: when nearly half of PhD students develop mental health problems, over a third consider taking a break in their studies and as much as 14% formally suspend their studies because they are struggling with their mental health[1]. Unfortunately, poor mental health has grown to become a norm: as a PhD student – and in academia in general – you are expected to suffer from these issues. Hazell summarises this issue in The Conversation: “There is a common belief … you have to suffer for the sake of your PhD, if you aren’t anxious or suffering from impostor syndrome, then you aren’t doing it "properly." [2]If not creating new issues, the pandemic has amplified existing ones. Yet – it might have also allowed to shed much-needed light on the issue. 

So how can we best manage our well-being and support fellow researchers and PhD students struggling with their mental health? The short answer: we need to put mental-health and well-being at the top of our agenda. 

With this short blogpost, we look to highlight the value of peer-support and shared experience. To do so, we share our own experiences and struggles as well as various tips and coping strategies which have helped us manage our own PhD journey. 

Lucie Pebay, PhD Student at the University of Bath
I am fourth year PhD student at the University of Bath working on the transformation of the French land army. I started my PhD back in September 2019 and experienced about 6 months of ‘normal PhD life’ before the pandemic. Like many I had to adapt my research and ways of working because of lockdowns and travel restriction. This has slowed down the process and left me behind with my work increasing my anxiety and affecting my mental health. I have also spent the first three years of my PhD in Bath thanks to my studentship but had to relocate a few months ago for financial reasons. After 4 years and working from home away from the University makes it difficult and showed even more that the PhD journey is long, challenging and lonely.   

With my own experience, I look to show to value of peer-support and shared experiences and debunk popular and pervasive research myths. As a 4th year PhD student, I have myself often felt stress, anxious and overwhelmed. The expectations of being closer to the ‘finish line’ has made those feelings creep up more than ever. But over the years I have learned a few tips and ways to cope with the struggles associated to the PhD. 

  1. Challenge No.1: Demands and Expectations.
When undertaking our PhD journey, we soon realise that it’s not all about working on a challenging solo project: we are expected to juggle a wide range of tasks and accomplishments. Top three: you are expected to publish papers, teach, and take on wide range of administrative tasks. We have to do a lot and are expected to do a lot during this journey – with a common unspoken understanding: if you want to succeed you have to do more, more, more. In sum, it is quite natural to feel overwhelmed, not only by your own project but also by all these peripheral time-consuming tasks. In my case, this translates into a thought constantly creeping in: ‘I am not doing enough.’ Guilt. I feel guilty when I don’t do or think about research. Talking to fellow PhDs has revealed I am not the only one who has felt and thought this way. Understanding these expectations are not realistic, and feeding into these research myths might give perspective. What advice would you give someone who shared this feeling of being overwhelmed? Probably to slow down, don’t take on as much, and take time for yourself. Try and apply this to yourself. Over the years, I have seen the value of saying ‘no’ and setting up priorities. Mental Health and Well-Being should be at the top of your list – alongside your project. That’s the core – the tasks on the periphery should be less demanding. Doing less and taking time for yourself will actually improve your productivity. Alongside ‘I am not doing enough’ another common creeping thought of mine is ‘I am not good enough’. Again, this relates to another common research myth: you should know everything. When doing research and working in academia it is easy to see all that we don’t know! But remind yourself of your worth and remind yourself that you are here to learn.
  1. Challenge No.2: The Comparison Trap 
Comparing myself has grown to become a bad habit of mine. Doing a PhD is a lonely experience and it’s quite tempting to look at others to get a sense of where you’re at, if you are going at the right pace, if you are doing the right things etc. This is a bad habit which, I’ve learnt, can have a bad impact on your self-esteem. Every project is different, your ways of working are different, your personalities are different. What might work for others won’t necessarily work for you and what you are struggling with might not be an issue for some. So instead of wasting time comparing yourself to others, talk with them! By sharing your experience, you will find support, get perspective and useful advice. In fact, you’ll often find that your peers are also struggling and face their own challenges. Comparing yourself will tend to highlight the negatives, sharing and talking with other will help you see the positives! 
  1. Challenge No.3: Information Overload & Productivity 
The demands and expectations thrown to PhD students makes feeling overwhelmed second nature. This can be when faced to the scale of our project or confronted to the many tasks pilling up alongside the thesis. It is an issue I am finding more challenging now I’m entering the writing-up period. To find the thesis and the tasks at the periphery less daunting it’s important to focus on de-constructing your project, visualising and dealing with small building blocks. When it comes to time management and productivity, it’s again important not to compare yourself to others and see what works best for you. Make the most of the flexibility a PhD offers! If you feel more productive in the mornings, focus on harder tasks then. Planning and anticipation are also a great ways of getting things done. Finally, taking breaks is crucial for productivity. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day. [3] I find that breaking my day with exercise helps with my productivity. Again, think and test what works best for you.
  1. Challenge No.4: Resilience  
I feel like I have not accomplished as much as I would have liked over the last three years. This is mostly because I don’t have ‘visible signs’ of progress. The work done prior to writing up is probably the most important but much of the knowledge and work gathered is hidden. It is important to remind yourself that not all your work and achievement is visible: remember to look below the tip of the iceberg. To manage your mental health whilst remaining resilient, not only is it important to look back at everything you have done to get to where you are, it is also useful to not lose sight of the reward and make the most of what the freedom and flexibility the PhD journey offers. In other words: keep in mind the positives! 

Veronika Poniscjakova, Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth
I started my PhD in the autumn of 2015 and finished it in 2019. During those years, my mental health and well-being suffered, particularly in the first half of my PhD. It was not something I discussed with my other fellow PhD students and supervisors, and I felt ashamed to tell them. In hindsight, I wish I had told others, and wish others had told me about their struggles as well. 
I struggled with Imposter syndrome. I kept comparing myself to others, I thought my research was worse, that I knew less than others, that I was less smart than others, that I was not good enough at teaching, researching, public speaking, you name it. What also did not help was that some of my peers were saying how great they were. Some even said they were better than me. With hindsight, I do realise some of these people said those things because of their own insecurities. Imposter syndrome led to my constant worrying, and I was worrying about all kinds of things. What if I don’t pass my annual review? What if I don’t get good evaluation scores for my teaching? What if I don’t find a job? What if I disappoint my family? As a result of this, I ended up with anxiety. I felt worthless, and sometimes I just felt like crying. I also needed a lot of validation, and on occasions, it resulted in some extreme behaviour. For example, I asked my friend to read my emails – to check what I had written was grammatically correct - before sending them to my supervisors or other PhD students. I was scared of embarrassing myself and lived in fear that people would think I was stupid. 
But things did get better. A number of things helped me during my PhD (and they still help me now!). First of all – and this is something that I did even at the height of my anxiety – I always made sure not to work too much. For me, maintaining a healthy work-life balance was crucial. Unlike some of my peers, I was not stuck at the office from early morning to late evening. I did work on some weekends, that is true, but I also did lots of other activities that kept me sane. Also, I took time off during e.g. Christmas or summer holidays. And I think that was a good thing to do. I think I would have been less productive and more burnt out had I spent long hours in the office every single day. Another thing that I did to keep me sane was karate. I trained karate at least twice a week, and that was wonderful. When I was training, I knew I had to be 100% focused on karate and nothing else (otherwise I’d get punched!) and that helped. Just not thinking about PhD, not worrying. Another thing that helped was talking to my family every day. I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive family who has always been here for me and has always listened to me. The fact I could call them, tell them what I struggled with, and recap my day with them, was so helpful. I think that I would have suffocated with my own thoughts and feelings otherwise. But the thing that helped me break away from that harmful thinking, imposter syndrome and constant anxiety was changing my mindset. In the summer of 2017, I did research fieldwork in Israel. I spent 2.5 months there, and it changed me completely. I think one of the things that helped was to physically get out of the office and be exposed to a completely new environment. I also had to focus on getting my interviews done, so I kind of forgot to worry about the other things. But the thing that was most helpful was that different culture of thinking about life and priorities, and not worrying what others think about you. Since then, I just don’t worry that much. I certainly don’t care as much what people think of me, or of my work. This has improved my confidence and my self-esteem.
[1] ‘Nearly half of PhD students consider developing a mental health problem "normal"’, University of Westminster, December 2021.
[2] Hazell, C. ‘You have to suffer for your PhD": poor mental health among doctoral researchers – new research’, The Conversation, January 2022.
A Q&A with Student Wellbeing Services
Edited by Veronika Ponsicjakova
We are extremely grateful to the University of Portsmouth - Student Wellbeing Service for sharing some great advice in response to our questions. 
  • Do you have many PhD students coming to you, asking for support and advice? PhD students do access our service, but not in big numbers - this academic year they represent only 1% of the students who have registered with us for support.
  • Why do you think PhD students are disproportionally affected by mental health issues? I would theorise that it is because a PhD is a difficult endeavour which involves considerable personal sacrifice to undertake over a long period of time and which involves coping with a great deal of uncertainty. Students who have successfully navigated the world of academia this far are often hardworking perfectionists who manage their distress by driving themselves harder and harder to succeed. They are often unaware that there is another way to relate to themselves that is less punishing but still keeps them moving towards their goals.
  • What advice would you give to PhD students who are struggling? For instance, if they are struggling with anxiety, depression or Imposter syndrome? I would advise anyone who is struggling to speak to others - either to a trusted person or a professional. All human beings are vulnerable to psychological distress at times, particularly when they are feeling under pressure and isolated.  
The Wellbeing Thesis
Edited by Lucie Pebay
The University of Derby, King’s College London and Student Minds have worked together, on this collaborative project. This website will provide information to improve the mental health of Post-graduate research students. This website provides a national, open access web-resource, hosted by Student Minds charity. It takes a prevention and early intervention approach and aims to support postgraduate research student mental well-being. The website provides a proactive resource to post graduate research students and considers the whole postgraduate research experience, and supporting positive cultural change towards good mental health. Click on the image above to access this resource.
Wellbeing self help
Edited by Hannah West
Student Minds have created a great resource with lots of tips and small steps you can make to reflect on and support your own mental health. We particularly liked this list of ideas depending on how much time you have available. Check out their resources here.
Crisis support
Edited by Hannah West
If you need some more urgent support, Mind has some great advice tailored for students as well as a whole range of other situations. Click on the image below for more information about where to turn for immediate support and beyond.
January Twitter Hour: 'Researcher Wellbeing'
Edited by Lucy Robinson
January's #TwitterHour on the theme of 'Researcher wellbeing' happened on Wednesday 18th January. Thank you very much to all who took part. Below, we share the highlights including some valuable tips for PhD students and around work/life balance. #DefResChat
Q1: What impact has research and/or work had on your mental health and well-being?
  • When I was doing my PhD, I definitely struggled. I thought I wasn’t good enough, I constantly worried if I would be able to finish my PhD, find a job, etc. All this anxiety definitely took a toll on my mental health.
  • Well, for a couple of years I just suffered - mostly quietly - what truly helped me was a change in mindset (it didn’t eradicate my anxiety completely but it did help massively anyway) - I just stopped caring what people thought of me and that was very liberating.
  • Huge. It’s SO tough working full time in academia plus fitting in research too. I can only do so by working weekends on my research, it’s a passion project but if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it.
  • I think research - and especially a PhD because you are more likely to be working on your own - can be very hard to switch off from and that can have an impact if it starts to encroach on other parts of your life. I've found getting the balance right can be hard.
Q2: From your own experience, what tips and coping strategies would you give your peers, particularly someone starting a PhD?
  • For starters, I would say - talk to other PhD students - don’t suffer in silence, the chances are that the others are struggling too but they are afraid to talk about it as they don’t want to be seen as “weak”.
  • -Make sure you love your topic and that you can appreciate the solitude that the PhD journey requires sometimes; -Find time to switch off no matter how busy you are; -Find a community. Like the DefResNet community!
  • Project management is one of the most important skills needed to successfully complete your research. I managed mine using an agile backlog approach and sprints. Everything that needed to be done was broken into 4-6 week chunks and stack-ranked the work by dependency.
  • Have something that you really try to fit into your week/day that you enjoy and that gets you away from your desk. I love to swim so trying to get to a pool regularly really helps me. Even stepping away from your desk for 5 mins and noticing things around you is good
  • So true! Even 5min of mindfulness can have a positive impact on your day.
  • Absolutely! Or a break to make a hot drink or do some stretches if you've been sitting at a desk.
Q3: Has the pandemic changed the way you manage your work/life balance? If so, how?
  • In the early stages of the pandemic, so the first lockdown, my work/life balance got worse - the fact I was stuck at home on my own all the time (also worrying about job security at the time) meant that I didn’t know when to turn off my work laptop and just relax.
  • But I would also say, that after those first couple of months, I was able to realise (and appreciate) what my priorities were, and I think I have a very healthy work/life balance now.
  • Pre-pandemic I found time with the children always meant I switched off from work was because it was impossible not to! Home-schooling sort of blurred all of this and so I have to make more of an effort to separate work and family life.
  • I think being realistic that sometimes they have to overlap and that is okay, in fact sometimes it is even a good thing, we all enjoy a family visit to a military museum!
  • I make more of an effort to find joy in my work and research. So many things went wrong during the pandemic, which has put things into perspective. At the end of the day, a challenging conversation or writer’s block becomes part of the journey rather than the main act
  • Not always easy to achieve, but at least I am aware that joy should be in the mix of emotions. Yes, it made me both more reflective & creative and helped me understand the value of finding the most appropriate solution-even if I takes more time!
  • My work / life balance didn’t change during the pandemic in respect to being at home but it did but extra worry on myself because I didn’t want to bring the virus home.
Q4: What has been the most challenging aspect of your PhD journey?
  • For me it was the final stage, I just didn’t want to look at my thesis anymore, I was very much sick of it. But I’m glad I cracked on, the moment I submitted I felt so relieved (even though soon after I started worrying about the viva!)!
  • I'd say the writing-up phase I am in now is probably most challenging for me. After working years on the same topic and not seeing progress materialise as fast as I’d hope I get frustrated and tend to compare myself to others more now than I did before.
  • So far? Letting it sink in that I might actually be capable of real research. I’m blessed with a fab supervision team who give me the right blend of “tough love” and encouragement and I’m so grateful to them @szbench @RitaOlsbu @DrGrahamCableThank you very much to everyone who contributed! #DefResChat
What we're reading
Edited by Veronika Poniscjakova
Managing your Mental Health during your PhD: A Survival Guide
Zoë J. Ayres 

This (relatively) new book explains why PhD students struggle with mental health issues, and it discusses different tips and tricks for managing them. For instance, it gives advice on how PhD students can prioritise workload and deal with imposter syndrome. Furthermore, the book looks at some environmental factors that can impact PhD researchers’ mental health, such as the PhD student-supervisor relationship, the pressure to publish and deep systemic problems in academia. 

You can buy a copy here.
The Holocaust: An Unfinished History
Dan Stone

On January 27, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we commemorated the victims of the Holocaust. As antisemitism and xenophobia are rising around the world, we should make sure to understand the origins of Nazi thinking and action. This new book can certainly help us deepen our understanding of the Holocaust; the book looks at some overlooked topics. For instance, it shows the extent of collaboration across Europe. 

You can get a copy 

Edited by Andre Carvalho
Military History Working Group, Cambridge University
Lent Term 2023

The Military History Working Group, established last term by the Centre for Geopolitics, will continue meeting in Lent Term in the Engelsberg Room in Fitzwilliam House (Mondays at 4pm). The group brings together Cambridge-based scholars working on the history of war and the military to discuss each other’s work and approaches. 

This term, the speakers will discuss eighteenth-century British grand strategy, black soldiers in the Caribbean, and twentieth-century military affairs from aerial bombing and mutinies in Africa and the Middle East. The group will also visit the Churchill Archive Centre to learn more about their collections, which include the papers of Sir Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Slim.

The group encourages papers and participation from students, early career researchers, and faculty members. Members of the public are also welcome. To see the full schedule and details on how to participate, check this link.


If you would like to advertise any upcoming opportunities, please let us know via email.
Edited by Andre Carvalho 

Colour Collective UK is an initiative established in January 2018 in Newcastle as an independent, non-profit organisation to form an exciting, forward-thinking group interested in the dissemination of all aspects of colour. Our group is particularly interested in creating cross-disciplinary events which illustrate the magic of colour in all its breadth.  With the support of both Newcastle University and Northumbria University, Colour Collective UK is set to evolve into a forum for anyone interested in colour from its perception to its application.  We run on donations and sponsorship, allowing free access to all events. All events are tailored to the general public so no prior background knowledge is required.

Colour Collective are planning a forthcoming event on the theme of Colour & Camouflage and are keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in speaking on any of the following themes: camouflage in design, Camouflage in fashion, camouflage in political art, gender and the military, camouflage, colour and perception, conflict and visuality.

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 22nd 2023 from 5.30-7pm at Northumbria University School of Design.

Please note that this is a voluntary event however CCUK has the capability to cover travel expenses for speakers. Contact if you are interested in presenting.

Talks are:
  • No longer than 20 minutes
  • Can be arranged to be online via Zoom
  • Aimed at the wider public, not an academic audience
  • Can be based on previous research and/or projects

PhD Studentship: The Health and Well-Being of LGBT+ Military Personnel and Veterans at King's College London

The Kings Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College  London, and the Royal British Legion are seeking a PhD candidate in  Psychological Medicine. This for a +3 collaborative studentship is funded  by the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP)/Economic Social Research Council (ESRC). More information on entry requirements and applying can be found at: - closes 26th February 2023.

PhD Opportunity - Examining men's experiences of being victims of sexual offences during military service and scrutinising the military response in the UK

This PhD presents an important opportunity to gather novel insights into men’s experiences as victims of sexual violence in the UK armed forces, as well as their accounts of the reporting process, military response, and their experience of the service justice system (SJS). This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The interview for this project is expected to take place on Tuesday 2 May.For more details and to download the full terms and conditions, follow this link

Call for Papers - Security in a Time of 'Polycrisis'?

The term ‘polycrisis’ has gained prominence over recent years as a way of articulating the sum of the multiple, intersecting crises of our contemporary world. Interlocking environmental disasters, a global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the potential for nuclear conflict are happening within entrenched and often entrenching structures of militarisation, exploitation and inequality. We live, according to this discourse, in an age of potential plural catastrophe. This age of polycrisis emphasises the importance of understanding how these multiple crises intersect and affect each other. ‘Security’ as a logic through which to comprehend and respond to this circumstance has been increasingly stretched while also becoming inescapable. As a concept, security rests on the drawing of lines between security/not security and security/insecurity. These lines have been critiqued for producing and reproducing imperial, gendered, racist, violent and exclusionary structures. But does an age of polycrisis dissolve even the ability to make the distinctions on which security as an organising logic relies? The Centre for Global Security Challenges, Leeds and the European Journal of International Security are organising a two-day, in person conference to engage with these issues. We invite papers that address the theme of the conference in security research (broadly understood) across multiple topics and locations. We welcome diverse approaches and methods and particularly invite Early Career Scholars to present.

Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words by 28 Feb 2023. Some financial support for ECRs and staff on short term contracts will be available (please indicate if you’d like to be considered for this on your submission). Email with any questions and to submit abstracts.

Call for Participants (Military Veterans)
(Online Survey for a research from London South Bank University)

Are you a military veteran who has been medically discharged from the UK Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve)? Would you be willing to participate in a research study focused on aspects of your physical activity, health and wellbeing?

This call is for military veterans who have been medically discharged from the UK Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve), to complete an online survey (link below), as part of an ongoing research of Professor Clare Pope, Head of Division at London South Bank University. Apart from being a professor, Clare is a physiotherapist who is genuinely interested in improving the health and wellbeing of medically discharged military veterans, having provided her personal background and volunteering at the Invictus Games in the United Kingdom in 2014.

The survey is anonymous and contains questions about your participation in physical activity, plus some health and wellbeing measures. You do not need to be physically active to take part, we need a broad range of participants. To complete and submit the survey should take no more than 20 minutes, full instructions, an information sheet and a consent form are in the link below. If you are unable to complete it yourself, you can have a person with you to complete your answers for you.

Link to survey:
Password to access the form: WIS Veterans

If you would like to find out more about the research, be sent a link by email, or request a postal copy please contact Clare Pope on

Spykman Center for Geopolitical Analysis

Nicholas Spykman International Center for Geopolitical Analysis (Spykman Center) is a non-profit, non-political and international organisation established in 2022 to unite students, scholars, and experts to study, understand, and teach geopolitics. Spykman Center anchors itself in a rigorous geopolitical methodology to teach and produce efficient geopolitical analysis, promote geopolitics as a discipline, and provide educational and working opportunities for experts and students in geopolitics. You can follow their work here.
As always, keep an eye on our Twitter for new events and opportunities posted/retweeted every day!

Planning a future event?
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February theme: NATO
We hope you've enjoyed our news, tips and recommendations so far. In case you missed our previous newsletter editions, check out our archive section here!

As usual, we will be looking to showcase some early-career researchers in research spotlights in the newsletter so don't be shy! And we welcome any suggestions for 'in conversation with' pieces with more established academics. And let us know about any relevant events, from book launches to webinars. We'll keep an eye on our Twitter account to keep you posted!

Keep an eye on @DefenceResNet for more information and check out the website for a preview of the questions for the next #DefResChat. You can also find all our previous #DefResChats on the Archive section of our website. Make sure to tag @DefenceResNet and hashtag #DefResChat to join the conversation.
See you soon and many thanks for being part of our network!
Find Out More
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For queries, more information, or just to tell us about yourself, don't hesitate to contact us on Twitter @DefenceResNet or at 

The DRN team 
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