Staff profile

Dr Francesco Belcastro

Senior Lecturer & Subject Leader in International Relations


Social Sciences


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Research centre

Better Society, Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre




One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I am a Senior Lecturer and the programme leader of International Relations at the College of Business, Law, and Social Sciences here at the University of Derby.

Teaching responsibilities

I am currently teaching several modules in the fields of International Security and Diplomacy. In the past I taught a range of modules in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies.

Professional interests

My main areas of interest are sport and politics, international relations of the Middle East and conflict and security. I have published widely on the role of sport in international relations, on regional security (focusing specifically on civil wars and their regional dimension) and foreign policy of the MENA region, in particular Syria and Palestine/Israel.

I am the host of The FootPol podcast and I regularly appear on local and national media. I frequently contribute to several online publications in the fields of International Relations and Geopolitics.

Research interests

My research interests lie in three broad areas: sport and politics, international relations and Middle East studies. My work is interdisciplinary and located at the intersection of international relations, sociology of sport, history and other fields (such as diaspora studies). My research focuses on issues of power, identity and sport, including the role of sport and international sports institutions in the global system and sport's relationship to national and other identities. My PhD research developed a theoretical framework of alliance formation and analysed the foreign policy of Syria during the 1970-1989 years. I am currently working on two projects, one focusing on sport and politics (both at the global level and in the MENA region) and the other on regional involvement in civil wars, both at a theoretical level and in reference to the Syrian case. I am also interested in the politics of Israel/Palestine.

I am the main evaluator for the Derby Creative Arts Network project at the University, looking into the impact and insights of arts and culture for the people, communities, artists and organisational partnerships in the city of Derby.

Membership of professional bodies


Prior to joining the University of Derby, I was a Teaching Fellow at the University of St Andrews, where I also obtained my PhD. I hold an MA in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from King's College London and a BA in International Relations from the University of Bologna.

Recent conferences

In the media

I am available for comments in the press on a range of topics including sport and politics, the current situation in Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli relations.

Recent publications