Fiona Cunningham


Fiona Cunningham is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at CISAC. Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology and conflict, with an empirical focus on China. She received her PhD in September 2018 from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a member of the Security Studies Program. Her dissertation explained China’s development of space, cyber and conventional missile force postures as substitutes for using nuclear weapons to coerce adversaries. Her research is based on extensive fieldwork, including a year-long dissertation research fellowship at the Renmin University of China, Beijing, in 2015-6. She was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Cyber Security Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 2017-8. Fiona’s research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, China Confucius Studies Program, and the MIT Center for International Studies. Her research on China's nuclear strategy has been published in the quarterly journal, International Security. Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Relations from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney, both with first-class honors. She was a research associate at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney from 2009 until 2012, where she focused on extended nuclear deterrence in East Asia and nuclear nonproliferation. Fiona speaks Mandarin Chinese and French.