Associate Research Fellowship

The OSCE Academy Associate Research Fellowship (ARF) was launched in 2017 and aims to support PhD Candidates and/or Post-Doctoral researchers in conducting their research projects and provide institutional affiliation to independent researchers. The length of the fellowship is from six to twelve months and is open for Bishkek-based and non-Bishkek residents.

​The ​Academy provides Fellows ​with ​access to the library and all available online resources as well as ​with ​an opportunity to present their research ​and to​ deliver a lecture to students and the public.

​The ​ARF is unpaid. In exceptional cases the final publication can be remunerated with ​a ​honorarium.

​The ​A​ssociate Research Fellow is expected to:

- make a presentation on her​/his​ research at least once within six months to an interested audience​, organised by the Academy;

- make a contribution to one of the following publishing outlets of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek:

- OSCE Academy Policy Briefs;
- OSCE Academy Research Paper series;
- OSCE Academy Yearbook;

To apply please send to

- Cover letter specifying the duration of stay;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- A short project proposal and a plan for the implementation of the research project.

Current Associate Research Fellows

Katherine Crofts-Gibbons, 2021

Research Title: Listening to the Streets? The Response of Post-Soviet Central Asian Governments to Street Protest

Katherine Crofts-Gibbons is a doctoral candidate at King’s College London’s Russian Institute, where her research investigates the response of post-Soviet Central Asian Governments to protest, and asks why nondemocratic governments sometimes offer concessions to protestors. Prior to joining the Russia Institute, she completed an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies and a BA hons in History and Politics at the University of Oxford, and worked as a research analyst in the private sector.







Jakob Lempp, 2021

Prof. Dr. Jakob Lempp has been a professor at the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany since April 2012, and from 2015 to 2019, he was Dean of the Faculty ofSociety and Economics. His main research focus is on the study of political systems in Europe and Central Asia. He has published over 50 articles, book chapters, and books and has received several awards for excellent teaching.

He studied Political Science, Communication Science, and Philosophy at the University of Technology Dresden and completed a Diploma in European Studies at the University of Turku/ Finland. He worked as a managing assistant and research assistant at the Institute of Political Science of the TU Dresden and completed his PhD on the evolution of the Council of the European Union. He then worked as a consultantat the Boston Consulting Group GmbH in Munich. 

During the winter term2021/2022, he was granted a research leave and serves as a CRGE-fellow at DKU in Almaty, Kazakhstan and as an ARF-fellow at OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Barbara Meier, 2021 

Research Title: Everyday Geopolitics: Transnational Identifications and Aspirations of University Graduates in Bishkek and Osh

Barbara Meier is a PhD-candidate in Social Geography at the University of Jena (Germany). Holding a scholarship of the Federal State of Thuringia, she investigates quotidian contexts of geopolitics in post-Soviet space. In her doctoral research, Barbara examines the global orientation of university graduates in Bishkek and Osh, with a special focus on educational decisions and consumption of popular culture, combining participatory research approaches and ethnographical fieldwork. Fields of her interest are critical geopolitics, post-colonist, and feminist theoretical approaches, visual methodologies, political architecture, and their intersections. Besides, Barbara has working experience in international higher education exchange.


Eriks Varpahovskis, 2021  

Research Topic: Patterns and State Strategies of Transnational Higher Education Institutions in Central Asia

Eriks Varpahovskis is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of International Regional Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Russia), where he works on a set of public diplomacy-related research projects including exploration of the country image impact on the behavior of international students in South Korea, transnational higher education institutions’ functions as instruments of public diplomacy and others. Eriks received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (South Korea) while being sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea in 2015-2019. His other research activities can be found on his Academia's page



Zane Sime, 2021

Research Topic: The Role of Environment and Climate in Reshaping Comprehensive Security

Zane Šime is a policy analyst focusing on the EU macro-regional governance, regionalism in Europe and its neighborhood, EU science diplomacy towards the Southern Neighbourhood. As a Top 40 under 40 EU - India / UK - India Young Leader 2020, Zane explores the EU-India educational diplomacy in a broader context of the Asia-Europe Meeting. Zane has obtained professional experience as an international civil servant at the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and a national civil servant in Latvia. She is a graduate of KU Leuven and the University of Latvia. Zane has completed a research internship at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies. She is a member of the Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies, the Latvian Political Science Association, and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists.

Rebecca Wagner, 2021

Research Topic: Elections in Times of Shrinking Civic Spaces

Rebecca Wagner is a doctoral researcher at the Peace Research Institute (PRIF) in Frankfurt where she conducts research on resilience, international democracy support, civil society and elections. Before joining PRIF, Rebecca gained more than seven years’ experience of international human rights and democracy support work, including participating in ODIHR /OSCE Election Observation Missions and serving as a civic observer. Rebecca Wagner is member of the research network External Democracy Promotion (EDP). She volunteers for an NGO that organizes election observation missions for young people in Europe. Rebecca graduated from Leiden University, the Netherlands, and the University of Konstanz, Germany. She did her Erasmus year in Istanbul/Turkey.

Nima Khorammi, 2021

Research Topic: Persian Hub, Central Asian Networks: Iran’s Evolving Regional Strategy in the Context of Its Relations with China and India; Growing Turkish Presence in Central Asia - Caucasus: What Role for NATO?

Nima Khorrami is a Research Associate at The Arctic Institute. His areas of interest and expertise lie at the intersection of geopolitics, infrastructure, and technology. Nima has experience working in PR, policy research and advocacy, and marketing in Europe and the Middle East, and frequently writes both analytical and opinion pieces for a number of publications. Over the course of his fellowship at the AiB, Nima will lead two separate research projects on Iran and Turkey. With regard to the former, his research seeks to unpack Iran’s importance in China and India's strategies towards Central Asia and how Tehran uses - could use - China’s BRI and India’s Connect Central Asia initiatives to advance its interests. In his other project, he will investigate the implications of Turkey’s growing influence in Central Asia-Caucasus for NATO’s regional posturing in the context of NATO’s recently released 2030 Vision dossier.



Kinga Szálkai, 2021

Research Topic: Resetting Water Relations in Central Asia: The Perspectives of Uzbekistan’s Cooperative Foreign Policy Turn

Dr Kinga Szálkai is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. Previously, she worked at Antall József Knowledge Centre as a research fellow, at Central European University as a research assistant, and held several positions at Corvinus Society for Foreign Affairs and Culture. She has also lectured at various universities of Central Europe, including Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where she is currently a visiting professor.

She earned her PhD degree in International Relations and Security Studies from the Corvinus University of Budapest. Her main research focuses on water as a security challenge in Central Asia. Her research areas also include large dams as tools of identity construction in the Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet region, theories and practice of water security, and women in Soviet Central Asia.




Nargiza Muratalieva, 2020

Research Topic: The Impact of Geopolitical Projects in Central Asia

Dr. Nargiza Muratalieva is an Associate Research Fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Associate professor, she holds a PhD in political science, with a dissertation devoted to “Regional Policy of Russia and China in Central Asia and the SCO as a factor of interaction.” Author of the monograph “Russia and China in Central Asia”, she published over 50 articles. She currently works at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) as an editor of analytical materials. Her broad research interest are – security, political processes in Central Asia, international organizations.



Barbara Roggeveen, 2020

Research Topic: Civilizational Discourses in Contemporary Russian Foreign Policy

Barbara Roggeveen is a PhD candidate in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Her doctoral research explores a prominent yet under-researched attempt by Russian foreign policy actors to redefine the spatial contours of Russia’s post-Soviet zone of influence - one that not only includes the post-Soviet states in Central Asia but increasingly extends eastward to China, India, and the Korean peninsula. Prior to her PhD research, Barbara graduated with distinction from the University of Oxford with an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies. She also completed a Bachelor of Laws at the Vrije University and a Bachelor in Slavic Languages and Cultures at the University of Amsterdam. Barbara has held various research positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, and the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include conservative ideologies in Russian politics, Russian foreign policy approaches towards the Eurasian region, and the discursive construction of post-Soviet identities.


Lambert Michael Eric, 2020

Research Topic: The American Analysis of Military and Security Development in the Wakhan Corridor

Michael E. Lambert, PhD is a political psychologist and social engineer working at the intersection of medicine (social psychology and psychopharmacology) and political science, broadening the topics of Blue Ocean Strategy in international politics (quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the foreign policy of China, the United States and the European Union) and the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between decision-makers in para-states.

He graduated from Sorbonne University in collaboration with the INSEAD and received complementary trainings at Harvard University.


Elizabeth Militz, 2020

Research Topic: A Digital Geography of Marginalized Sexualities in Kyrgyzstan

Elisabeth Militz is a feminist, cultural and political geographer based at the University of Bern. She received her PhD in Geography from the University of Zurich in 2017. Her dissertation developed the concept of affective nationalism, based on long-term ethnographic field work, living and working experiences in Azerbaijan between 2007 and 2014. Interested in the doings of emotions and affects in enabling and shaping nationalisms and sexuality politics. Her current research examines digital spaces of sexualities and sexuality education in Kyrgyzstan where she has been conducting fieldwork since 2017. In light of a growing right-wing populism and traditionalism and thus an increase of misogyny, homo- and transphobia across the world and also in Kyrgyzstan, she studies the innovative and multiple ways in which people who are marginalized on the grounds of their sexual practices, identities and experiences appropriate digital spaces of social media for knowledge production and peer support. Apart from conducting small data research on Instagram with Russian-language content, Elisabeth conducts qualitative interviews and focus group discussions in Bishkek and Osh. Elisabeth’s work on affective nationalism, political geographies and feminist methodologies has been published as a book in 2019 and in numerous scientific journals such as Political Geography, Gender, Place and Culture and Area.  


Marc Jeandesboz, 2020    

Research Topic: Post-Soviet Central Asia: at the Crossroads between Modernization and Modernities

Marc Jeandesboz is a PhD candidate in Contemporary History at the Université de Montréal, where he has also taught and served as a teaching assistant. He is interested in the socioeconomic evolution in the Post-Soviet as it relates to theories of modernization. For his B.Sc and M.Sc he majored in international studies with a focus on security and non-proliferation.

His PhD thesis explores the history of the former Central Asian Soviet republics during the 1990s. More specifically, it looks into the effect of reforms on culture, economy as well as science and technology. In a larger sense these developments are considered against the background of each republic’s foreign policy and security.



Philip Reid, 2019 

Research Topic: China-Iran Strategic Cooperation: Context and Central Asian Vectors

Philip Reid has recently concluded a service career in the British Armed Forces and was a Visiting Fellow with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi in 2018. He is currently a pre-doctoral candidate at King's College London and is a member of the Royal Institute for International Affairs and the Royal United Services Institute. Philip read Classical Persian Literature for his MA and maintains a wider interest in Islamic languages and culture. His present research encompasses the political economy of strategic infrastructure initiatives in Central and South Asia as well as a broader critique of classical realism. Recent papers include Makran Gateways: A Strategic Reference for Gwadar and Chabahar and The Belt and Road Initiative and The New Great Game: Context, Theory and Counter-Narratives.

Nicole Grajewski, 2019 

Research Topic: Iranian Foreign Policy in Central Asia

Nicole Grajewski is a DPhil (PhD) candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford, where her doctoral dissertation focuses on the place of Iran within Russian discourses about international order, as well as the divergences and convergences in Russian and Iranian approaches to international relations. She received her MPhil degree in Russian and East European Studies from Oxford and completed her dissertation on Russian foreign policy towards Iran during regional military interventions. Prior to Oxford, Nicole graduated from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs with an honors degree in International Affairs, Security Policy and Middle Eastern Studies. Nicole has also worked for CNN, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Hudson Institute. Her research at the OSCE Academy examines the underlying factors shaping Iranian foreign policy in Central Asia, as well as Tehran’s bilateral and multilateral engagement with regional actors. Additionally, her research project seeks to identify Tehran’s perspective on Central Asian regional order by identifying the country’s security, political, cultural, economic interests and its normative approaches within the region.

Karoliina Rajala, 2019

Research Topic: The Russian Military-Industrial Complex and Military Cooperation in Central Asia

Karoliina Rajala is an Associate Research Fellow at the OSCE Academy and an independent researcher. She also works as a freelance journalist, writing primarily on the EU, Russia and Central Asia. Karoliina has obtained a MSc degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Turku School of Economics and is currently carrying out postgraduate studies at the College of Europe in Natolin where she focuses on the EU’s external relations. Previously, Karoliina has worked as a research assistant at the Ministry of Defence of Finland and accumulated experience from the European External Action Service, two missions of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as well as Carnegie Europe. Karoliina’s research interests focus primarily on the Russian military industry as well as environmental cooperation in Russia.



Dr. Chiara Pierobon, 2019 

Research Topic: Preventing Violent Extremism in Kyrgyzstan: the Role of the International Donor Community

Chiara Pierobon, PhD is Senior Researcher at Bielefeld University (Germany) and Associate Research Fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). She holds a bi-national PhD in Sociology and Social Research awarded by the University of Bielefeld and the University of Trento (Italy). In the past years, Dr. Pierobon served as manager of education exchange initiatives and programmes in Europe and Russia funded by the European Commission and the DAAD, and of collaborative research projects in Central Asia funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Since 2020, Dr. Pierobon has been tandem partner in the program “Institutional Change and Social Practice. Research on the Political System, the Economy and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus" funded by Volkswagen Foundation. Dr. Pierobon is former Visiting Professor for Macrosociology and European Societies at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (Germany) and former Visiting Scholar at American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), German Kazakh-University (Kazakhstan), University of California/Berkeley (USA) and St. Petersburg State University (Russia). In addition to her academic activities, she has been active as a member of the Academic Council of the European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) and as a consultant and trainer for organisations such as DVV International / Regional Office for Central Asia and the UNESCO Cluster Office for Central Asia.

Recent Publications: EU, Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) and civil society: some considerations on the IcSP in Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Paradorn Rangsimaporn

Research Topic: Exploring the Driving Factors towards Greater Engagement between Central Asia and ASEAN

Dr. Paradorn Rangsimaporn is a Thai diplomat and independent researcher. He is currently Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Thai Embassy in Nur-Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan, which also covers Thailand’s relations with the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan. He was previously posted in Vienna, Austria, and was Head of Section for Russia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. He holds a BA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies and a DPhil in International Relations, all from the University of Oxford.
His research interests are in Russian foreign policy, especially towards Asia, Russian-ASEAN relations, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, and the international politics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. He has published articles in academic journals such as Asian Survey and Europe-Asia Studies as well as a book on Russian foreign policy towards East Asia. His current research at the OSCE Academy is on exploring Central Asia-ASEAN relations and cooperation by examining how Central Asian countries view ASEAN and its potential role as a counterweight to China, the key drivers in their relationship, including greater linkages through China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the viability of ASEAN being one model for future Central Asian regionalism.

Lidia Chikalova, 2019

Research Topic: Information Warfare between the USA and Russia on the Syrian Conflict

Lidiya is a media curator and researcher, holds two MA degrees in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and a degree in International Journalism from St. Petersburg State University in Russia. She has previously lived and worked in Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Lidiya  continues to work as a researcher and a journalist covering political situations in conflict-prone zones. Lidiya has an extensive experience in building PR campaigns, fundraising, and project management for business associations, art institutions, and education centres like Cambridge English Assessment. She is now collaborating with UNESCO on enhancing digital pedagogy and development of digital textbooks in the Central Asian region.