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Professor Simon Usherwood

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Professional biography

Since May 2021, Simon has been Professor of Politics & International Studies at The Open University. He is also Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Britain and Europe, University of Surrey. Between 2022 and 2025 he is a Senior Fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative (of which he was previously Deputy Director), working on UK-EU relations. With qualifications from UCL, the College of Europe and LSE, he has worked on various aspects of European Union politics for many years, most recently focusing on UK-EU relations and the Brexit process. He is also a National Teaching Fellow, based on his on-going work on active learning and simulation games in the classroom. Simon is Chair of UACES, the UK's European Studies association, from 2021 to 2024.

Research interests

Simon's research focuses on UK-EU relations and the continuing impact of the EU on British political life. In recent years, he has been funded by the ESRC to study the campaigning in the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the EU, the negotiations of the subsequent treaties between the two and the emerging post-withdrawal relationship. This builds on longer-standing work on euroscepticism in all its forms.

Between 2020 and 2023, Simon has been part of PROTECT, a project funded by the European Commission's Horizon2020 programme, which studies the operation of refugee policy across Europe and beyond. He is particularly focused here on the role of civil society organisations and their part in translating governmental policy into on-the-ground activity.

In addition, Simon has also maintained a research interest in active learning and the use of simulation games in higher education. He is co-founder and editor of Active Learning in Political Science, the leading blog of its kind, with a global audience and contributions from a network of colleagues.

Teaching interests

Simon's teaching focuses on European politics, especially the structure and operation of the European Union and its relation to member states. He also teaches on negotiation skills and theory.

Impact and engagement

Simon is very active in engagement activities beyond academia, with an active presence on Twitter, regular blogs and podcasting, as well as numerous media appearances. He has given evidence to Parliament, briefed politicians and civil servants in several European states and participating in many public talks and debates.


[Book Review] Review of Brexit Britain: The consequences of the vote to leave the European Union (2023-11)
Usherwood, Simon
Party Politics, 29(6) (pp. 1196-1197)

[Book review] ‘Riding the populist wave: Europe’s mainstream Right in crisis’ edited by T. Bale & C. Rovira Kaltwasser, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021. (2022)
Usherwood, Simon
Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 30(1) (pp. 190-192)

‘Our European Friends and Partners’? Negotiating the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (2021-09)
Usherwood, Simon
JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 59(S1) (pp. 115-123)

The nested games of the UK’s EU referendum: ruptures, reconfigurations and lessons for Europe (2021)
Alexandre-Collier, Agnès; Schnapper, Pauline and Usherwood, Simon
Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 29(3) (pp. 301-308)

[Book review] Review of All the world’s a stage: the theater of political simulations (2021)
Usherwood, Simon
Journal of Political Science Education, 17(sup.1) (pp. 979-980)

The Legitimacy Challenge: Euroscepticism as an embedded element of the EU (2023)
Usherwood, Simon
In: Rhinard, Mark; Nugent, Neill and Paterson, William E. eds. Crises and Challenges for the European Union. The European Union Series
ISBN : 9781350342903 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing | Published : London, UK

The EU after Brexit: EU-UK Relations and the latent crisis of withdrawal (2023)
Usherwood, Simon
In: Roos, Mechthild and Schade, Daniel eds. The EU under strain? Current crises shaping European Union politics (pp. 173-190)
ISBN : 9783110790337 | Publisher : De Gruyter