The Network seeks to bring together scholars working on the issues of statehood, sovereignty and conflict in different regions of the world and from a variety of sub-fields of political science or related disciplines.

Please see below a list of some of our members. If you are a member and would like to be included in this list, please email

Steering Committee

George Kyris (Chair)
University of Birmingham, UK
Expertise: state recognition and international organisations, especially in the context of conflicts over statehood, unrecognised state, and the European Union, state theory, sovereignty

Vera Axyonova (Co-chair)
Universität Wien, Austria
Expertise: EU external relations and security policy, international conflict management, role of knowledge in conflict and crisis response, post-Soviet space

Karolina Werner (Early Career Representative)
Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, University of Western Ontario & Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Canada
Expertise: Governance, peace, conflict, inclusion, inclusive governance, Indigenous governance, decolonization, sub-Saharan Africa


Roxana Andrei
University of Coimbra, Portugal
Expertise: protracted conflicts, secession, security dynamics, peacekeeping, case studies, interviews, archival research

Elena Baracani
Expertise: EU foreign policy, contested states, EU-Turkey relations, EU-Western Balkans relations, conflict prevention and state-building, democracy promotion and protection, qualitative analysis, process tracing, case studies, in-depth interviews

Nicholas Barker
Expertise: armed conflict, civil wars, political violence, separatism and secessionist conflicts, international security, qualitative methods, process tracing, fieldwork, case study methods, archival methods, research ethics

Eiki Berg
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia
Expertise: Sovereignty and territoriality issues, de facto states and management of secessionist conflicts, critical geopolitics and de-/re-bordering practices; Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria; Fieldwork, process-tracing, qualitative and interpretative research techniques.

Rafael Biermann
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
Expertise: intra-state, especially ethnic and secessionist conflicts, conflict resolution, especially prevention, mediation, peacebuilding, humanitarian intervention and RtoP, peace ethics, European security governance, international organizations, elite interviews, comparative case studies, causal process tracing, congruence analysis, fieldwork, archival research

Christopher Brucker
Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany
Expertise: Normative strategies of secessionist movements, international civil society actors and transnational support coalitions in secession conflicts, history of secessionism, Biafra, Catalonia, Bougainville

Valentin Clavé-Mercier
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Expertise: Indigenous politics, sovereignty, decolonial and postcolonial studies, settler colonialism, social movements, identity politics

Bruno Coppieters
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Expertise: war ethics, ethics of secession, comparative analysis of secession

Magdalena Dembinska
Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal, Canada
Expertise: comparative politics; identity politics and conflict, state- and nation-building, nationalism and diversity, de facto States, Eurasia and Central Europe

Danielle Jung
Emory University, Department of Political Science, USA
Expertise: rebel governance, non-state service provision, illicit organizations

Vincenc Kopeček
University of Ostrava, Czechia
Expertise: de facto states in the Caucasus, ethnic minorities, ethnic conflicts, informal politics, field research, interviews

Lucas Knotter
University of Groningen, Netherlands
Expertise: de facto states, sovereignty, recognition, classical realism

Gergana Noutcheva
Maastricht University, Netherlands
Expertise: contested statehood in the Western Balkans and the European Neigbourhood

Sebastian Relitz
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
Expertise: Protracted conflicts and de facto states, conflict management and dialogue facilitation, EU engagement without recognition, Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus

Solveig Richter
University of Leipzig, Germany
Expertise: Post-conflict peacebuilding, Democratic peace, EU Foreign and Security Polic, Peace Research in the Global South

Belgin San Akca
Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
Expertise: Non-state armed groups, international security, terrorism, state-rebel group cooperation

Cindy Wittke
Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), Germany
Expertise: International Law, Politics and International Law, Political and Legal Transformation in the post-Soviet Region, Contested States and Contested Sovereignties, Peace Agreements and Transitional Constitutions; socio-legal research, qualitative research, fieldwork, interviews

Stefan Wolff
University of Birmingham, UK
Expertise: international crisis management, conflict settlement & post-conflict state-building

Doris Wydra
Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies, University of Salzburg, Austria
Expertise: European Neighborhood Policy, EU external relations, EU-Russia relations, human rights and democracy, rule of law, minority rights; Methods: qualitative analysis, field research, interviews, case studies, legal analysis