International award won by Essex PhD researcher for best conference paper

  • Date

    Thu 23 Jun 22

headshot of Blair Welsh

A University of Essex PhD researcher has won the Stuart A. Bremer Award for best graduate student paper delivered at this year's Peace Science Society Conference.

Blair Welsh, who is studying in the Department of Government, received the award for his paper The Lethality of Hostage-Taking in Civil War. Blair’s paper uses new data on hostage victims in Iraq to determine the conditions under which the Islamic State might kill hostages. This research is part of his PhD thesis on terrorist violence in civil war. He presented the paper at the 21st Jan Tinbergen European Peace Science Society Conference by the Network of European Peace Scientists.

The Stuart A Bremer Award recognises the most outstanding graduate paper presented at the conference and the winner is selected on the basis of the paper’s potential scientific significance and its contribution to the study of peace science. The award includes an invitation and funding to attend the North American Peace Science Society (International) Conference, which will be held at the University of Denver, in Colorado.

Originally from Glasgow, Blair is a first-generation PhD researcher. His research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the South East Network for Social Scientists. His research is forthcoming in leading international relations journals, such as International Studies Quarterly and the Journal of Peace Research.

Blair said: “It’s such an honour to have my research recognised by such an incredible group of researchers at this conference. I’m inspired by the work my colleagues are doing to drive the discipline forward. I’m so thankful for the support and encouragement I receive at Essex, particularly from my supervisory committee - Kristian Gleditsch, Brian Phillips, and Sara Polo.

“I’m also incredibly thankful to those who gave careful, kind, and constructive feedback during the conference. I’m excited to take on the feedback and present a revised version of the work in Colorado.”