Niels Byrjalsen
Niels Byrjalsen

PhD fellow

Niels Byrjalsen is a PhD fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. His research project examines the link between trust, practice, and order in international relations. Specifically, the project explores trust and distrust in diplomatic practice, with an empirical focus on NATO. Moreover, it investigates the ways in which international order shapes and is shaped by diplomatic (dis)trust.

The project is supervised by professor Christian Bueger.

Niels is a part of the departmental impact team through his involvement in Political Ideas and Analysis (P.I.A.) - the public policy platform at the Department of Political Science.

Current research

PhD project on trust, diplomatic practice, and international order.

Research project on subversion, strategy, and statecraft with Henrik Breitenbauch.


Autumn 2019 - Trust and distrust in International Relations (with Larissa Versloot)

Fields of interest

Niels has previously been employed as a research assistant at the Centre for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He took part in research projects on European security, Russia, and strategies for handling Europe's southern agenda as well as on the development of European security and defence cooperation.

Generally, he is interested in some of the 'big' issues of International Relations, including questions of order, justice, cooperation, and change at the international and global level. Currently, he is especially interested in whether and how a focus on trust can help address these questions.

In addition, he has a particular interest in philosophy of science, scientific practices, the role of science (especially social science) in society, and the relationship between universities, media, and decision makers.

Primary fields of research

  • International Relations
  • Security
  • Trust
  • International order
  • Diplomacy
  • Constructivism
  • Practice theory
  • Defence and security policy
  • Subversion
  • Statecraft
  • Strategy
  • Foreign policy
  • Great power politics
  • NATO

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