Academic Staff: Simon Rushton

Photo: Simon RushtonDr. Simon Rushton, LLB, MA (Hull), PhD (Aberystwyth)

Faculty Research Fellow

Telephone: +44 (0)114 2221710
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: B1, Elmfield Lodge



Simon joined the Department of Politics in January 2013. He took an undergraduate degree in Law and Politics followed by a Masters in International Law and Politics at the University of Hull. He moved to the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in 2000 to undertake a PhD and subsequently held posts at Aberystwyth as Lecturer and Research Fellow.
Simon’s research interests centre on the global politics of health. His work focuses in particular on international responses to HIV/AIDS and other diseases, the links between health and security, the changing architecture of global health governance, and issues surrounding health, conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. From 2009-2012 he was part of a major €2.3 million European Research Council-funded project carried out jointly between Aberystwyth University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on ‘The Transformation of Global Health Governance: Competing Worldviews and Crises’.


I am currently teaching a third-year module, POL3139 Pandemics and Panics: Health, Security and Global Politics. The module offers students the chance to gain a detailed understanding of the politics of health and security – an area which is relatively new to the discipline of Security Studies and is the focus of much of my own research. It is exciting to teach in such a rapidly-developing field of study in which there is already much academic debate to analyse, but where there are still new things to be said. I view students taking the module as young scholars with something to contribute to our knowledge and understanding, not as passive recipients of truths handed down from on high. The balance I try to strike in my teaching is between conveying knowledge and at the same time helping students to develop the conceptual and critical tools that allow them to challenge conventional wisdoms and re-think common assumptions. I always enjoy working with students with different backgrounds and life experiences who engage critically with big political issues, look at things in different ways and ask new questions. I invariably learn something new from each group of students that I teach.

Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • ‘Disease Diplomacy Across All Spaces’. Paper for 55th International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, 26-29 March 2014.
  • ‘Taking Stock: Opportunities and Lessons Learnt from the AIDS Response for Global Health Governance’. Paper for UNAIDS-UCL Workshop ‘How must the global health and AIDS architecture be modernized to achieve sustainable global health?’, UCL, London, 2 December 2013.
  • ‘The Politics of Leadership in Global Health’. Paper for BISA Annual Conference, Birmingham, June 20-21 2013. (With Sophie Harman)
  • ‘Soft Power, Hard Power, Smart Power? Medical Interventions for Strategic Ends’. Paper for 54th International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, 3-6 April 2013. (with Colin McInnes)
  • ‘HIV prevention, harm reduction and the war on drugs: rights, crime and morality in global health diplomacy’, BISA-ISA Joint International Conference, Edinburgh, 20-22 June 2012.

Key Projects/Grants

Awarding Body: Wellcome Trust
People Involved: Sophie Harman (QMUL) and Simon Rushton
Title of Research: Workshop on ‘Leadership in Global Health Governance’
Amount: £5000

Professional activities and recognition

  • Editor, Medicine Conflict & Survival (quarterly journal, published by Routledge). With Maria Kett (UCL).
  • Associate Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.
  • Secretary, International Studies Association Global Health Section.
  • External Associate, Centre for Global Health Histories, University of York.
  • Editorial Board member, Global Health Governance: The Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm.

Current Research

  • Leadership and disease eradication campaigns.
  • The Global Governance of AIDS.
  • The Global Health Security regime.
  • Health and ‘smart power’.
  • The health impacts of UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Health in the transition from conflict to peace.

Key Publications

  • Simon Rushton and Jeremy Youde (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security. (Forthcoming: Routledge, August 2014).
  • Simon Rushton & Owain David Williams (eds), Partnerships and Foundations in Global Health Governance (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • Simon Rushton, ‘The global debate over HIV-related travel restrictions: framing and policy change’. Global Public Health. 7:Supp.2 (Dec 2012), pp. S159-S175.
  • Colin McInnes and Simon Rushton, ‘HIV/AIDS and Securitization Theory’, European Journal of International Relations. 19(1) (March 2013), pp.115-138.
  • Simon Rushton, ‘Global Health Security: Security for whom? Security from what?’, Political Studies 59:4 (December 2011), pp.779-796.
  • Simon Rushton, ‘AIDS and International Security in the United Nations System’, Health Policy and Planning 25:6 (November 2010), pp.495-504.

View Dr Rushton's full publication history.

PhD Supervision

I am always happy to hear from students considering a PhD in any area of global health politics, or in global governance, international institutions or security studies more broadly.

PhD topics previously supervised:

  • The EU and the securitization of pandemic influenza
  • The UN failure in Rwanda
  • Non-state disease surveillance and its implications for state sovereignty