Dr Ross Bellaby

Department of Politics and International Relations

Senior Lecturer in Security Studies

Picture of academic staff member Ross Bellaby
Profile picture of Picture of academic staff member Ross Bellaby
+44 114 222 1661

Full contact details

Dr Ross Bellaby
Department of Politics and International Relations
Modular Teaching Village
Northumberland Road
S10 1AJ

Dr Ross Bellaby joined the Department in February 2012 after finishing his PhD at Aberystwyth University in 2011. 

His main areas of research involve the ethics of intelligence. His research therefore broadly includes looking at historical and contemporary use of intelligence along with the rise of the surveillance state as well as ethical theory, ethics in war and violence and the development of a cosmopolitan ethic and its limits.

Research interests

Over the last century intelligence has become one of the most vital tools of the state, providing timely information designed serve the state in its task to protect its people. However, recent controversies, including reports of abuse at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghriab, allegations of extraordinary rendition programmes, and the ever-increasing pervasiveness of the ‘surveillance state’, have all raised questions regarding what role intelligence should play in society.

My research establishes an ethical framework that, on the one hand, recognises and outlines what it is about intelligence collection that makes it disreputable by normal moral standards, while balancing the need to carry out these activities in order to protect people. By outlining the ‘harm’ intelligence collection can cause to those it targets as well as society as a whole and then incorporating this harm within a ‘just intelligence’ framework it is possible to understand if and when intelligence collection is permissible.

Areas of research interest:

  • International Relations
  • Security studies
  • Ethical Theory
  • Intelligence studies – history and contemporary use
  • Surveillance, data-mining and dataveillance
  • Just war, deontology, consequentialism and harm
  • Cosmopolitanism and communitarianism
  • Human rights, with special focus on privacy, autonomy, liberty, self-worth


Journal articles


Research group

Areas I can supervise in:

  • Intelligence and Surveillance
  • Ethics in Intelligence
  • Ethical Theory
  • The Harm Ethic
  • Ethics in War and Violence
Teaching activities

I am teaching modules relating to security studies, terrorism, violence and contemporary international affairs more broadly. The security modules involve investigating the various theoretical frameworks found within the security literature and applying them to important issues such as cyber security, intelligence agencies, health security, energy, gender security and traditional state power.

The Terrorism, Violence and the State module is more specific and is designed to get students to look at various terrorist activities perpetuated by both individuals and the state, how the state responses to terrorism, the ‘war on terror’ post-9/11, and the relationship of the media with terrorist groups and counter-terrorist operations. Finally the Terrorism projects and dissertations will build on this while allowing students the opportunity to develop their own ideas and create a piece of work of their own choosing. My role in this process is to guide the student and to ensure that they get the best out of their ideas that they can.

My teaching philosophy very much relies on a student centred approach which puts the student in the driving seat for their learning experience. This means encouraging the student to take the lead by setting up scenarios or situations where the student must dynamically engage with the information and present it under varying conditions. In doing so this helps develops various academic and professional skills sets.

  • POL3019 Terrorism, Violence and the State
  • POL230 Contemporary Security Challenges
  • POL6005 Contemporary Global Security
Professional activities and memberships
  • Editorial Assistant – Kantian Review (2010-2012)
  • The Aberystwyth Vice-Chancellor and Guild of Students Special Award for Teaching Excellence (2009-2010)
  • Aberystwyth Teaching Excellence Award (2009 – 2010)
  • Jana Fritzsche Prize 2010-2011