Department of Political Science


Kaleigh Heard

Kaleigh Heard
Lecturer, Deputy Director of the MA in Human Rights
Room: 3.07, 36-38 Gordon Square
Email: kaleigh.heard@ucl.ac.uk

I am a Lecturer (Teaching) in Human Rights in UCL’s Department of Political Science and am the Deputy Director of the MA in Human Rights programme. I am also the Director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and Modern Warfare. Prior to joining UCL, I held a Joseph. C. Fox International Fellowship at the MacMillan Centre for International and Area Studies at Yale University and provided research, analysis, and advisory services to several governments and NGOs. I hold a MA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a MA in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a BA (Hon) in International Relations from the University of Western Ontario. I am originally from Canada, and lived and learned on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Mississauga and the Coast Salish peoples.


My research focuses on ethico-strategic dilemmas in warfare, specifically human security issues of strategic relevance to armed forces, including the protection of civilians, children in armed conflict, and conflict-related sexual violence. I am particularly interested in these issues in the context of coalition counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. I am a predominantly a qualitative researcher, though I draw on mixed methods within my work and collaborate closely with colleagues with other disciplinary backgrounds. I have conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mali, Nigeria, Tunisia, Kenya, Uganda, Greece, the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Gulf of Aden. My book project, The Price of a Life: The Confluence of Law, Justice and Strategy in Civilian Harm Compensation will be published in 2023. My research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Department of National Defence, the UK Ministry of Defence, the European Commission, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Selected publications:

Kaleigh S. Heard, Pauline Paille, Kristin Thue, Human Security and the Future of NATO: Knowledge, Insights and Lessons Learned, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2022.

Kaleigh S. Heard, Diana Dascalu, Clara de Lateillade, James Black, Grey Zone Gaming, London: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), 2022.

Erik Silfversten, Kaleigh S. Heard, Rebecca Lucas, Sam Stockwell, Novel Hybrid Threats: Scenarios, Analysis, and Considerations for Defence, London: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), 2022. 

Kaleigh S. Heard, Victoria Jordan, Diana Dascalu, Theodora Ogden, Jacopo Bellasio. Right Wing Extremism in Europe. Brussels: RAND Europe/Radicalization Awareness Network, 2021.

Kaleigh S. Heard, Victoria Jordan, Theodora Ogden, Jacopo Bellasio. Connecting mechanisms used by extremist right wing groups in Europe. Brussels: RAND Europe/Radicalization Awareness Network (CIVIPOL), 2021. 

Linda Slapakova, Fiona Quimbre, Kaleigh S. Heard. Tech and the Future of UK Foreign Policy. https://www.rand.org/pubs/external_publications/EP68725.html 

Kaleigh S. Heard, Prioritizing Integration: Close Combat Futures and their Lessons for Integration and Interoperability. Ottawa: Defence Research and Development Canada, DRDC-RDDC-2016-L598, October 23, 2016.

Kaleigh S. Heard, Protecting the Protectors: Secondary and Force Protection Considerations for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Ottawa: Defence Research and Development Canada,  DRDC-RDDC-2016-L589, October 17, 2016.

Kaleigh S. Heard, Arctic SoS: Systems of Systems, National and Continental Defence in the Canadian Arctic. Ottawa: Defence Research and Development Canada, DRDC-RDDC-2016-L338, September 29, 2016.

Kaleigh S. Heard, Heather Hrychuk, Neil Chuka, Framing Peace Operations. Ottawa: Defence Research and Development Canada, DRDC-RDDC-2016-L258, July 21, 2016.