Foreign Policy Analysis, The Domestic Politics of European Integration, Referendums in European Integration, EU Foreign Policy, British and German Foreign and European Policy

Kai Oppermann’s research interests focus on the domestic politics of foreign policy and European integration. In particular, he has worked on the role of domestic issue salience and public opinion in foreign policy and he has completed a research project on discretionary government commitments to EU referendums. He has a special interest in theories of Foreign Policy Analysis and has made theoretical contributions to the two-level approach as well as to cognitive approaches in the field. Empirically, his main field of expertise relates to the foreign and European policies of Germany and the UK and to transatlantic relations.

Kai is currently engaged in comparative research on the foreign policies of coalition governments in European parliamentary democracies. In particular, this research seeks to advance our understanding of the processes, pathways and impact of junior partner influence on coalition decision-making in foreign affairs. Thus, the assumption is that different types of intra-coalition institutional arrangements for foreign policy-making have systematic effects on the ways in which the influence of junior parties plays out. In the medium term, the aspiration is to link this research to a broader project on the party politics of foreign policy. In a second research project, Kai investigates the domestic and international construction of foreign policy 'fiascos'. This project analyses the conditions under which foreign policy decisions are likely to become seen as fiascos; which actors are influential in the process of mistake construction; and what discursive framing strategies and counterstrategies are employed in such processes.


Research Funding

British Council, Newton Fund, Researcher Links Workshop Grant: Workshop on Global Environmental Policy Learning (with Alexander Bürgin): £25,240 (2016).

International Studies Association (ISA) Catalytic Workshop Grant. Coalition Politics and Foreign Policy (with Juliet Kaarbo): $4943 (2014 ISA Annual Convention).

Promoting German Studies in the UK – Project Funding, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The Eurocrisis in Germany and the UK. Attitudes, Narratives, Politics and Policies (with Dan Hough and Alan Mayhew): €33,648.72 (2012-2013).

Marie-Curie Fellowship, EU 7th Framework Programme. Plebiscitary Politics in European Integration: Analysing the Causes and Effects of Holding Referendums on the EU: €87,201.60 (2010-2011).

Grant for convening the 2011 Annual Conference of the German Association for the Study of British History and Politics (with Klaus Stolz). Thyssen Foundation: €1,870.

Travel Grants. German Research Foundation (DFG) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): ca. €6,000 (2006-2012).

University of Cologne Awards. Outstanding Publications and Participation in High-Ranking Conferences: ca. €6,000 (2006-2009).


PhD Supervision

I am willing to supervise doctoral researchers in my areas of research and am particularly interested in supervising projects on EU foreign policy, German foreign and European policy, Britain's role in the EU, coalition politics and foreign policy as well as theoretical approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis.