The team

Roxana Vermel

Roxana currently coordinates, with Benoit, the activities of the Nuclear Knowledges program. She holds a Master degree in Strategic Management from Paris X - HEC - ESSEC. Before joining the Center for International Relations (CERI) in 2004, she worked for the Romanian Ministry of Education, the French Ministry of Justice and the French Agency for the Development and Coordination of International Relations in the field of social protection. She has extensive experience in managing large international projects as well as in preparing project proposals for different European and international funding institutions.

Hebatalla Taha

Dr Hebatalla Taha joined the Nuclear Knowledges program in November 2018 as a postdoctoral researcher in the ERC funded NUCLEAR project on ‘governing nuclear weapons choices’, She focuses on the intellectual history of categories used to make sense of nuclear realities and possibilities in the Middle East in the post-Cold War context. Her broader research interests include political economy, anthropology of development, as well as peace, conflict, and insecurity. She specializes in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Egypt and Palestine/Israel. Heba was previously an ACSS Postdoctoral Fellow at the American University of Beirut (January - September 2018) and has worked with the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She completed a DPhil (2017) and MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies (2013) at the University of Oxford.

Sébastien Philippe

Dr Sébastien Philippe is a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. His research focuses on developing new verification technologies and approaches to support future nuclear arms control and disarmament efforts. In parallel, he pursues research interests on French nuclear policymaking as a visiting fellow with Sciences-Po Paris’ Nuclear Knowledges Program. Before joining Harvard, Philippe was a Research Associate with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. He earned his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and was recognized by the University as an Honorific Fellow for “outstanding performance and professional promise.” He also worked in the French Ministry of Defense, where he was a nuclear safety expert for the strategic nuclear forces.

Benoît Pelopidas

Prof. Benoît Pelopidas (PhD) founded the program Nuclear Knowledges and holds the chair of excellence in security studies at CERI (Sciences Po). He is also an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University and has been a frequent visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

In France, Nuclear Knowledges is the first scholarly research program on the nuclear phenomenon, which is fully independent and transparent on its funding sources. 

He has been awarded four international prizes for his research. In 2017, he has been awarded one of the most competitive EU grants: an ERC Starting Grant (1,5 million € over five years) on nuclear weapons choices.

He focuses on the construction of knowledge about nuclear weapons, their institutional, conceptual, imaginal and memorial underpinnings. Conceptually, he elaborates nuclear vulnerability beyond its material and strategic dimensions. Empirically, Benoit’s focus is on nuclear “close calls”, crisis management and French nuclear history.
Over the last seven years, he has been engaging with policymaking elites in the US and Europe as well as civil society groups to advocate innovative nuclear disarmament and arms control policies.

Since 2013, he has been coordinating a team of 13 international researchers to write the first global history of the so-called "Cuban Missile Crisis" based on primary sources worlwide, which revisits fundamental concepts of IR and security studies such as the nuclear revolution, power, sovereignty, neutrality and alliance dynamics. 

Nariman Shelekpayev

Dr Nari Shelekpayev has been a postdoctoral research fellow with the Nuclear Knowledges program since November 2018. Within the ERC funded project NUCLEAR on ‘governing nuclear weapons choices’, he will focus on the intellectual history of categories used to make sense of nuclear realities and possibilities in Russian and Chinese in the post-Cold War context. He specializes in the intellectual history, comparative history of empires in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as Soviet and post-Soviet history. He was the 2018 Albert Einstein Fellow and scholar-in-residence of the Einstein Summer House at the Einstein Forum and Daimler & Benz Foundation in Potsdam, Germany. Previously, he was Visiting Research Fellow at Free University in Berlin (2016-2017), Scholar-in-Residence at the Canadian Center for Architecture (2015), and Associate Doctoral Fellow at the IRTG ‘Diversity,’ formed by Université de Montréal in Canada and Universities of Trier and Saarbrucken in Germany (2016-2019). Nari has taught at Université de Montréal (2016), Università di Roma La Sapienza (2018), and Eurasian University in Astana (2015-2016).

Fabricio Mendes Fialho

Dr Fabrício Mendes Fialho has been a postdoctoral research fellow with the Nuclear Knowledges program at CERI-Sciences Po since March 2018. He specializes in political psychology, comparative public opinion with extensive use of cross-national survey data, and statistical modeling. At CERI, he currently works on the planning and design of a survey on attitudes toward nuclear weapons in the European Union within the ANR Project “de la vulnérabilité politique à l’âge nucléaire”. From 2013 to 2015, he was a J. P. Lemann Fellow at the UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies. In 2016-17, he received a Dissertation Year Fellow. As a Teaching Fellow, he taught Public Opinion and Voting Behavior at UCLA in 2016. He received a PhD in Political Science and a MS in Statistics from the University of California, Los Angeles in December 2017.

Hassan Elbahtimy

Hassan Elbahtimy is an affiliated researcher to the Nuclear Knowledges program at CERI (Sciences Po). The focus of Elbahtimy's work in affiliation with the overall project of the Chair of Excellence in Security Studies is a project on Egyptian nuclear history, as well as nuclear vulnerability and leadership style.
Dr Elbahtimy is a Teaching Fellow in Science and Security at King's College London, and was awarded a PhD from the War Studies Department in 2013, which focused on the historical origins of Egypt's nuclear policy between 1955 - 1968. In 2014, Dr Elbahtimy ran a collaborative research and training project with Atomic Weapons Establishment, UK (AWE) and Norwegian Institute of Energy Technology. Dr Elbahtimy has also worked as a senior researcher at VERTIC, with a focus on nuclear verification on IAEA safeguards and nuclear disarmament. Before that, Dr Elbahtimy has worked at the Multilateral Department in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Charlotte Epstein

Charlotte Epstein (PhD, cantab.) is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her interests lie in the relationships between language, politics, and the body, and she has published on these questions in broad range of journals across International Relations, Politics and Sociology that include the Review of International Studies, International Organization, the European Journal of International Relations, International Political Sociology and Body and Society among others. She is the author of The Power of Words in International Relations: Birth of an Anti-Whaling Discourse (MIT Press, 2008, runner-up to the ISA Sprout award). Prior to Sydney she taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a Georges Lurcy fellow. She read Philosophy and English at L’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, and International Relations at the University of Cambridge. She is a visiting researcher at the CERI where she is also affiliated with the Nuclear Knowledges program.

Kjølv Egeland

Dr Kjølv Egeland is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in Security Studies at Sciences Po, focusing on strategic narratives and global nuclear order. He completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2018. In his thesis, Kjølv investigated the evolution of the institutional architecture for multilateral nuclear disarmament from 1968 to 2017. Kjølv’s scholarly interests lie in nuclear discourse and politics, the philosophy of international law, and ideology critique. Writing on topics spanning from treaty-making processes to emerging military technology, his work has appeared in journals such Global Change, Peace & Security, Critical Studies on Security, Survival, and Global Governance.

Previous Members

Anushka Kaushik

Anushka Kaushik is currently a Masters student at Sciences Po, Paris studying International Security and an intern with the Nuclear Knowledges program at CERI. Previously, she has approached nuclear studies through a strictly security lens as well as a critical studies perspective. Anushka has a background in journalism, having obtained her Bachelor in Arts from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. During her tlme there, she analyzed media discourses on ongoing conflicts, specifically the developments in Israel-Palestine, and believes in the importance of critiquing the press in the same measure as it is consumed.
She has briefly worked with the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in India and with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. At CERI, she hopes to contribute to the broader efforts of the Chair through her research project which will examine the role of epistemic communities in the nuclear age.

Alicia Jensen

Alicia Jensen is a master student of International Security at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and an intern with the Nuclear Knowledges program at CERI. Alicia holds an MA Hons. in International Relations and Economics from the University of Aberdeen which she received in 2014. A native of Finland, she has worked at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, the European Parliament Helsinki office, and in London at the House of Commons for the Secretary of State for Scotland the Rt. Hon. Alistair Carmichael. Alicia spent a semester abroad in the fall of 2016 at the George Washington University, where she also worked as an intern at the Arms Control Association.

Alicia's research is focusing on an assessment of the evolving interpretations of Hiroshima and Nagazaki, as well as the question of the atom bomb more generally, among different constituencies in Finland and Sweden from 1945 to 1962 based on untapped primary material. These constituencies include the press, military perspectives, as well as parliamentarians. The project is supported by the EU Nonproliferation Consortium.

Roberto Cantoni

Roberto Cantoni was a postdoctoral researcher within CERI’s program on Nuclear Knowledges in 2017/18. He currently works on the project: “Promise brokers: a diachronic study of the epistemology of the energy promise in France (hydrocarbons and nuclear)”. Trained as a physicist (MSc from University ‘Federico II’ of Naples, 2004, summa cum laude), Roberto then studied history and philosophy of science and technology (MA from the University Paris 7 ‘Denis Diderot’, 2010) and science communication (Master from SISSA-ISAS of Trieste, 2011). Such a diverse approach to the co-production and diffusion of scientific knowledge led Roberto to a PhD in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester (2014, A1, equivalent to summa cum laude). He has later worked as IFRIS postdoctoral researcher within the Laboratory for Techniques, Territories and Societies (LATTS) from 2014 to 2016. Since his PhD dissertation, he has been researching the sociotechnical construction of energy systems in Europe, by adopting a transnational and diachronic approach. His research activity has focussed on the history of sociology of energy, including issues of waste management, in France, Italy, and Poland. In 2014 he won the Levinson Prize for essays, assigned by the Society for the History of Technology.

In 2017 he published Oil Exploration, Diplomacy, and Security in the Early Cold War with Routledge. This monograph studies the interaction between, on the one hand, oil exploration and transport technologies, and on the other hand, resource diplomacy and security in Early Cold War France and Italy. Roberto is a member of the editorial board of the H-Sci-Med-Tech network. He also collaborates to the Early Career Scholars’ section of the Tensions of Europe network, and he is part of the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Energy Anthropology Network (EAN).

Grey Anderson

Dr Grey Anderson was a postdoctoral researcher with the Nuclear Knowledges Program at CERI in 2017/18. He currently works on the Euromissile crisis and the intellectual history of the Second Cold War in France. As a historian of modern Europe, with research interests in military history and the history of strategic thought, he wrote his PhD dissertation (Yale University, 2016, with distinction) and first book manuscript on "The Civil War in France, 1958-1962". His dissertation was awarded the 2016 Hans Gatze Prize for outstanding Yale dissertation in European history.