Personal profile

Research Focus

Frances Neilson is a PhD Politics student at Queen’s University Belfast, funded by the Northern Irish Department for the Economy (awarded September 2020). 

Her research is focused on British Conservative/ Tory political elites' (including the Conservative press) attitudes to Northern Ireland during the Brexit period 2016-2020 and the historical precedent of these attitudes. 

Research Interests

Her research interests include: British-Irish relations, Brexit, diplomacy, peace processes, legacies of empire, postcolonial politics, English nationalism, national identity, the politics of commemoration, British high politics, and the history of the Conservative Party. 

Within the School of HAPP, Frances is a postgraduate research associate affiliated with both the Institute of Irish Studies and the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict.   As part of her role with the Institute of Irish Studies, she organised the September 2021 Northern Ireland and Brexit postgraduate research conference.  She has also worked with Dr Timofey Agarin in the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict to organise several virtual conferences. 


Frances graduated from Queen's University Belfast with a BA Politics (First Class).  She also holds a Masters degree (MLitt) from the University of St Andrews in Peace and Conflict Studies.  

Frances currently sits on the Executive Committee of The Political Studies Association of Ireland as the Postgraduate Representative.  In addition to her membership of the Executive Committee, she also is a member of the judging panel for the PSAI Brian Farrell Book Prize. 

Outside of her research focus, Frances is also interested in women in politics.  In her spare time she is an enthusiastic runner and tennis player.  Since Autumn 2019 she has been learning Irish. 

Prior to her PhD research, Frances worked in policy and public affairs in both Belfast and London.  Since February 2021 she also works part time for the School of HAPP at QUB in a social media role. 


Frances currently teaches as a TA on the second year politics module The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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