Department of Political Science


Hannah Smidt

PhD Candidate in Political Science

Hannah Smidt


Hannah Smidt is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at the UCL Department of Political Science (2013-17), with an expected degree date in May 2017. She was a visiting PhD student at the UCL Computer Science Department (2015-16). She holds an MA in Political Science (2010-12) and a BA in Political Science and Media and Communication Studies (2007-2010) from University of Mannheim, Germany. She also studied at Institute d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) Lille, France, as well as Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Prior to joining UCL, Hannah Smidt worked as a teaching fellow and research assistant at the Chair for Political Science IV held by Prof. Sabine Carey at University of Mannheim, Germany (2012-13).


Her research focuses on political violence, democratization in conflict-affected countries and the disaggregated analysis of UN peacekeeping. Her dissertation project theoretically and empirically investigates why some elections after armed conflict promote violence and how UN peacekeeping missions can mitigate this risk. Her supervisors are Professor Neil Mitchell and Professor Kristin Bakke.

She spent a lot of time thinking about how to accurately measure what UN peace operation do on the ground. Her paper on UN peacekeepers' choice of activities was awarded the 2016 Cedric Smith Prize (given by the Conflict Research Society) and has attracted funding from the Folke Bernadotte Academy. Her first single-authored article on international election monitoring appeared 2016 in the Journal of Peace Research. Her collaborative work explores government restrictions on civil society organizations.

Methodologically, Hannah Smidt’s research is cross-disciplinary. She conducts large-N cross-national investigations over longer periods of time using statistical analysis. Her research also draws on fieldwork in Ivory Coast to explore the causal linkages between UN peace-building activities and electoral violence. Most recently, she used supervised machine learning techniques to gather geo-located data on UN peace-building activities in Ivory Coast.

Hannah Smidt taught several seminars in International Relations, Introduction to Political Economy, Quantitative and Terrorism at University of Mannheim, Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and University College London. She has held a research assistant position for five years at the Chair of Quantitative Methods of Professor Thomas Gschwend and worked as a data consultant for CIVICUS.

Hannah Smidt is a long-time member of Amnesty International. She interned at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg; the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation in Dakar, Senegal; and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. During her BA studies, she worked as a free-lance journalists for a local newspaper.