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Claudia Hillebrand

Dr Claudia Hillebrand

Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

School of Law and Politics

+44 29206 88962
8-10 North Road, Room 2.03, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3DY
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University and School Director of Postgraduate Research. My research expertise is in the field of intelligence accountability. In order to examine tensions between secrecy and transparency with regards to the work of intelligence agencies and other intelligence actors, I focus on contemporary aspects of intelligence performance and their scrutiny. My recent work has focused on parliamentary inquiries into intelligence in Germany. My work has been funded by, for example, the GW4 Community, the European Commission, the Economic and Social Research Council and HEFCW's Welsh Crucible programme.









Adrannau llyfrau





While secrecy is at the heart of intelligence, it poses fundamental challenges for notions of transparency, accountability and legitimacy. Throughout my career, I have been fascinated by those tensions. In my work, I focus on the role of intelligence actors in contemporary politics and the ways in which accountability holders, such as parliaments, courts and media outlets, scrutinise those actors' performances. With Oxford University Press, I have published a monograph titled Counter-Terrorism Networks in the European Union: Maintaining Democratic Legitimacy After 9/11. Since then, I have published journal articles on Europol's scrutiny; the role of the media in intelligence oversight in the post-9/11 era; the implications of Brexit for UK-EU intelligence sharing; and German parliaments investigating intelligence actions regarding the far-right extremist group NSU (National Socialist Underground). To bridge my research and teaching efforts, I have co-published the Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies (with Robert Dover and Michael S. Goodman). I am excited to collaborate with experts on secrecy through the interdisciplinary SPIN network (Secrecy, Power and Ignorance Network) and to support and foster research efforts by female intelligence scholars through the Women's Intelligence Network (WIN). For awards and research funding, please see my biography.


My teaching is underpinned by my research, and the focus of my teaching is on intelligence studies. I currently offer overview modules on intelligence and terrorism at the undergraduate level, and an MA module on secrecy and accountability in the 21st century. 


Career overview

2016 - present: School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University.

2011 - 2016: Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University.

2010 - 2011: Department of War Studies, King's College London.

Education and qualifications

2011: Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, King's College London.

2010: PhD in International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

2003: Diplom (MA) in Political Science, Leipzig University (DE).

1999: Vordiplom (BA) in Political Science, Philipps-University Marburg (DE).

Honours and awards

2020 - present: GW4 Building Communities Programme, Generator Fund, Co-applicant. Proposed community: SPIN (Secrecy, Power, and Ignorance research Network).

2019 - 2020: GW4 Initiator Fund for the creation of the South West regional centre for secrecy, security and society research, Co-Investigator.

2017: Award by the Centre of Law and Society, Cardiff University. Workshop on Transnational Criminal Justice and International Institutions: The Law and Politics of Building and Dismantling Transnational Cooperation.

2016: Award by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Watching You, Watching Me: CCTV Surveillance in a Democracy. Public event organised as part of Festival of Social Science, Cardiff.

2016 - 2017: Welsh Crucible Award, Co-convenor. Watching You, Watching Me: Privacy and Surveillance Webs

2014 - 2016:  ESRC Research Seminar Series, Co-convenor. DATA – PSST! Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements: Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust.

2014 - 2015: University Research Fund, Aberystwyth University. Transnational Organised Crime: A Strategic Challenge for European Security.

2006 - 2009: Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship, European Commission.

Professional memberships

Co-editor of Studies in Intelligence, Routledge book series.

Member of the Editorial Board of Intelligence and National Security.

Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Intelligence History.

Board member of the Women's Intelligence Network (WIN):

Steering group member of the Secrecy, Power and Ignorance Network (SPIN):

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of intelligence and secrecy studies, including international liaison and intelligence oversight.