Frank Maracchione

Department of Politics and International Relations

PhD research student

Profile image for PhD student Frank Maracchione

Full contact details

Frank Maracchione
Department of Politics and International Relations
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Frank Maracchione is a PhD candidate of the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Sheffield and co-convener of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI)’s Doctoral Researchers Network. He is a recipient of an ESRC White Rose Pathway Award for his PhD project that looks into Chinese global influence through the case study of Uzbekistan. Specifically, he is interested in the ideational patterns of Chinese power projection abroad. His area of interest includes Chinese foreign policy and foreign aid (particularly in Central Asia and along the Belt and Road), together with Central Asian politics and international relations.

He holds an MA in Social Research from the University of Sheffield, an MA in International Relations from the University of Bologna and a BA in Chinese language, culture and society from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. He was also a visiting research student at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, where he conducted research for his master’s thesis on counterterrorism in Xinjiang and Central Asia. Since 2017 he writes commentaries for ISPI - Italian Institute for International Politics, Observatory for Central Asia and the Caspian Sea and Eurasian Business Dispatch.


MA Social Research - University of Sheffield

MA International Relations - University of Bologna

BA Chinese Language, Culture and Society - Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Research interests

Brief summary of PhD project:

His PhD project tries to contribute to the understanding of Chinese international influence by investigating the significance of Chinese influence on the case study of Uzbekistan. The main purpose of the research is to understand Chinese stable relations with Uzbekistan throughout the last two decades (2001-2021), as opposed to more fluctuant and fragile Uzbek relations with other great powers, particularly Russia and the United States. His research critiques the idea of unitary, unchangeable, and conflictual sets of Western and Chinese values, and maintains the need for empirical research on the role of Chinese values and ideational influence, well defined in time and space. The project also represents a methodological innovation as it nests one of the most recent quantitative document analysis techniques, the Structural Topic Model (STM), into a qualitative process-tracing framework.

Research interests:

  • Chinese foreign policy
  • Chinese foreign aid, investment and international cooperation
  • Chinese ideas and values along the Belt and Road Initiative
  • Chinese Central Asia/Xinjiang
  • Central Asian international relations
  • Central Asian politics (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan)
  • Quantitative text analysis (Structural Topic Model)
  • International Relations Theory (Constructivism, English School of IR). 
Teaching activities

Graduate Teaching Assistant for the following modules:

Data Visualisation SMI105 at the Sheffield Methods Institute

Contemporary Chinese Business and Management EAS6347/EAS6447 at the School of East Asian Studies

Professional activities

Funding and awards

1+3 PhD Studentship (2019-2023)

Awarding body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)