CISRUL is building a vigorous community of PhD students who work closely with the academic staff and play an important role in all our activities. At CISRUL, we give great importance to including PhD students in our many events, both for their benefit and our own. Join us!

We offer our own inter-disciplinary PhD programme in Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law. This is perfectly suited to students whose interests cross more than one discipline, and who are worried about being told that their PhD project does not fit with the strictures of a single discipline.

Several of our PhD students are part of the POLITICO research cluster, which conducts ground-breaking research on how political concepts are used in the world. For more information on the programme, please visit our POLITICO page

You are also welcome to apply for CISRUL funding if you are interested in our topics but decide to enrol for a PhD in law, politics, anthropology, education, history, sociology, philosophy or theology. You would then be supervised (or co-supervised) by CISRUL staff members in that discipline.

You can find an overview of CISRUL staff members’ interests and disciplinary affiliations here.

For more information on applying our studentships, please view our Funding Page.


The Politico supervisor pool consists of academic staff from across 6 schools within the University of Aberdeen.

Professor Pamela Abbott
Chair in Education

Professor in the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Centre for Global Development. She is also a member of the Centre for Civil Society and the Rule of Law and the New Europe Centre. Her main research interests are in gender, quality of life and social quality, and social, economic and political transformations. She has carried out research in the UK, the European Union, the former Soviet Union, East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa. Supervising Elise Marie Boyle Espinosa & Tam Nguyen

Professor Brain Brock
School of Divinity, History, Philosophy, & Art History

His main interests lie in moral and practical theology, he finds theology most interesting when it is done in relation to the concrete questions of daily life. Why moral and practical theology? Because these disciplines are rarely understood the same way by two practitioners. Supervising Anna Sophie Lauwers

Professor Tamas Gyorfi
Law School

Joined the Law School of Aberdeen University in 2009. Previously he taught at the University of Miskolc and the Pazmany Peter Catholic University (Budapest). He received his PhD from the University of Miskolc and his LLB from Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest). His main teaching and research interests are Legal Theory and Comparative Constitutional Law. Supervising Anna Sophie Lauwers & Stephan Ritscher

Professor Donald Hislop

Has been working in Aberdeen Since January 2019. Prior to this he worked in the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University (2007-2018). His research interests are in two broad areas. Firsty,  the relationship between technology and work and how worker’s use of new technologies shapes the character of their work. He currently has a primary interest in how artificial intelligence and robots are shaping managerial, professional and service work. He also has an ongoing interest in the work-related use of mobile communication technologies, particularly with respect to business travel.

Professor Nadia Kiwan

Joined the French Department at the University of Aberdeen in January 2006. Her research interests focus on contemporary French and Francophone cultures and societies. She is particularly interested in migration, identity, new social movements, new forms of migrant cultural production and citizenship. Supervising Anna Sophie Lauwers & Fredericke Weiner

Professor Beth Lord
History of Philosophy

Professor Lord obtained her PhD from the University of Warwick in 2004. From 2004 to 2012 she worked in the Philosophy Department at the University of Dundee before joining the University of Aberdeen in January 2013, where she is currently Head of Philosophy. She is currently working on a monograph on Spinoza and equality, based on research undertaken in the AHRC project. Supervising Maxim van Asseldonk & Marie Wuth

Dr Natsha Danilova
Politics & International Relations

Joined the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen in 2014. Dr Danilova gained a BA (Distinction) in Sociology from Perm State Technical University (1998), then an MA in Sociology from the European University St Petersburg (2000), and later, a PhD in Sociology (kandidat nauk) (2003) jointly from Saratov State Technical University and The European University St Petersburg (Russia). In 2016, Dr Danilova completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and has achieved the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Broader research interests lie in the fields of International Relations and Critical Military Studies. Supervising Daniel Matthews-Ferrero

Dr Rachel Shanks

Dr Rachel Shanks

Dr Shanks has worked in higher education, community education, and the voluntary and trade union sectors. In higher education she has been a law lecturer and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Education. Research interests include professional learning and mentoring/children and young people’s rights. Supervising Elise Marie Boyle Espinosa

Professor Trevor Stack
CISRUL Director

Came to Aberdeen as a Lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Studies in 2002, after completing a BA in History and a Masters in Social Anthropology at Oxford University, and a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and having taught Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. He has been doing research in Mexico since 1992, and in the East Bay Area of northern California since 2008. His research has focused mainly on aspects of citizenship and civil society. As well as teaching in Spanish and Latin American Studies. Supervising Maxim Van Asseldonk, Valentin Clave-Mercier & Tam Nguyen

Dr Andrea Teti
Politics & International Relations

Senior Lecturer in International Relations. In 2016, he joined the Editorial Board of Middle East Critique, and becoming an Associate Editor in 2019. In 2019, he was also elected Trustee of the British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES) and was recently appointed to BRISMES’ Committee on Academic Freedom, as well as co-founder and Co-Chair of the Critical Middle East Studies research network. His research focuses on the politics of democracy promotion in the Euro-Mediterranean region, and several related areas spanning the history and theory of social science. Dr Teti has published in English, Italian and French on democratization, Egyptian politics, knowledge production in Social Science, and political theory. Supervising Marie Wuth

Dr Ritu Vij
Politics & International Relations

Joined the Department of Politics and International Relations in 2006, after completing a two-year fellowship at Keio University (Tokyo) as the recipient of a Fellowship awarded jointly by the Social Science Research Council (USA) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Her doctoral degree is from the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), at the University of Denver, USA. Supervising Valentin Clave-Mercier, Jorg Meurkes, Stephan Ritscher & Fredericke Weiner

Professor Claire Wallace

After graduating with first a Bachelors and then a Doctoral degree from the University of Kent, Claire taught at Plymouth and then at Lancaster Universities. During the early 1990s helped to set up the Sociology Department at the Central European University, Prague before moving to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, where she later became Head of Sociology. Professor Wallace became Vice Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange for the University in 2011. Her current research interest is concerned with the social impact of the oil economy through a study of Aberdeen. Supervising Daniel Matthews-Ferrero

politico bannerThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.