Christopher J. Morris

BA MA (St And), MA (Georgetown)

Research Topic:

Adaptive Biases in Substate Violence: Group Cohesion, Leadership Dynamics, and AI Strategic Interaction
International Relations Network
Hertford College
DPhil International Relations

Christopher is a second year DPhil (PhD) candidate in International Relations and all-but-dissertation, completing all coursework at distinction. Under the supervision of Professor Dominic Johnson, his thesis explores the micro-foundations of political violence, from terrorism to civil war, as rooted in predictable evolutionary-adaptive biases. This line of research builds on his time at St Andrews’ Center for the Study of Terrorism (CSTPV) and his studies on terrorist leadership at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program (SSP), where he was a fully-funded Merit Scholar.

Beyond the PhD, Chris is affiliated with the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) where he co-founded and co-lead the Cyber Strategy and Information Operations Group. New for 2022-23, he is the Founder and Director of the Emerging Threats Group at CCW, which explores the transformative implications of new technologies, from quantum and AI to biotech and space platforms. He is a member of Hertford and Christ Church colleges, an aspiring rower, and supporter of the Crankstart Society for first-generation scholars. As a public service mentor, he counsels students at Oxford and Georgetown and seeks to develop the best talent from those committed to public service.

Outside academia, Chris has over a decade of experience across government, cybersecurity, and biotech in North America and Europe. He has worked for two U.S. Senators, including the current leader of the Senate, and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In the private sector, he advanced virtualized solutions globally at VMware and contributed to one of the first mRNA vaccine platforms at an NIH-funded startup. Presently, he works in cybersecurity in the Washington, D.C. area. Outside work, Chris enjoys sailing and running.

Academic Awards

  • Future of Humanity Finalist (2021) 30 finalists/450 Oxford PhDs for full funding
  • 3x Merit Prize Recipient (2018-20) Top 1% of master's and $50k scholarship
  • CSS Research Fellow (2019) Fully-funded extremism fieldwork in Germany & UK
  • Georgetown Merit Scholar (2018) 50% scholarship from Prof. Bruce Hoffman
  • Paul Wilkinson Prize (2015) Best graduating St Andrews IR student
  • Nisbet Trust Prize (2015) Highest St Andrews IR grades for 2014-2015
  • Matt Howell Prize (2015) Top St Andrews IR dissertation (full marks)


Research Interests

  • Sub-state Violence: Terrorism, Civil War, and Insurgency
  • Leadership Analysis: State and Non-State Leaders
  • Political, Social, and Evolutionary Psychology



International Security

U.S. Politics and Government

IR Core Paper



Book cover
U. S. Customs and Border Protection plays a vital role in interdicting illicit narcotics before they can enter the United States. This role is particularly important given the rise of the opioid...