University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
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Nicholas Ross Smith

Associate Professor, School of International Studies

 Nicholas Smith

Personal details


Room 218 Trent building   

+86 (0)574 8818 8796


PhD – University of Auckland (2016)


Nicholas joined the School of International Studies in early 2018. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Canterbury’s National Centre for Research on Europe from June 2016 to February 2018. His PhD, at the University of Auckland, examined EU-Russian relations in the context of Ukraine. It was awarded a pass with no corrections and was later transformed into the book ‘EU-Russian Relations and the Ukraine Crisis’ (2016, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar).  Nicholas is also a member of Heterodox Academy.


Teaching and learning


  • Diplomacy: Past, present, practice
  • EU: Institutions
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Issues in Global Relations
  • Introduction to European Politics


Expertise Summary

Nicholas has four main areas of specialisation:

1. Foreign Policy Analysis:

- especially EU foreign policy and Russian foreign policy

2. Geopolitics & Geoeconomics

- especially Eastern Europe but also Asia-Pacific

3. International Relations theory

- especially neoclassical realism but also constructivism

4. Democracy & Democratisation

- especially Athenian democracy & post-Soviet democratisation 

Research Interest

Nicholas’ has three main current research interests at the moment.

One research project concerns the perils of hedging for smaller states in geopolitically-charged regional security complexes. Of particular interest is Ukraine’s failed hedge of the EU and Russia from 2010 to 2013 but also historical examples, such as Yakub Beg’s foreign policy-making during the Dungan Rebellion.

Another research project examines the limitations of the external promotion of democracy and the crucial role elite factions within a democratizing state play in determining whether democratic reform is successfully undertaken or not. Research on the cases of Hungary and Ukraine has been undertaken.

The last research project considers how cryptocurrencies might affect international politics through challenging the United States’ financial hegemony. The research looks at both independent cryptocurrencies and state-backed ones and postulates how this rapidly evolving technology might be a game-changer.

Orcid Account:




Peer reviewed journal articles and essays

Recent op-eds and blog posts