The Conflict Research Society congratulates Robert Ulrich Nagel, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize
2019. Robert received his PhD from the University of Kent in May 2019 and is currently an adjunct
professor at Clark University.
The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best research paper in peace and conflict research
by a UK or ROI based PhD student.
Robert’s winning article “Sexual violence and conflict recurrence” shows that sexual violence
perpetrated after conflict is associated with a high likelihood of conflict recurrence. Building on
research that shows an association between recruitment and rape as a socialization method during
war, Robert argues that when rebels perpetrate sexual violence in inactive periods, it indicates
ongoing mobilization efforts. The implications of this argument for the risk of conflict recurrence are
tested on a global dataset of post-conflict years from 1989 and 2015. The jury was impressed by the
overall high quality of this submission, including a strong review of and embeddedness in previous
research, a compelling and well-founded theoretical argument, sophisticated statistical analysis, and
clarity in writing. The jury also appreciated the author’s reflections on the notion and category of
“post-conflict” if one or both sides continue to mobilize and perpetrate sexual violence after the
fighting stops. Where Robert’s research really stands out, however, is with regard to the implications
for policy – a point that the jury attaches particular importance to when selecting the winner of the
prize. While there is a profound normative argument to prevent and battle sexual violence, the
knowledge that sexual violence can be an early warning sign of impending conflict recurrence
presents an additional security-based incentive to pay more attention to these human rights abuses
The CRS received 10 excellent submissions for the prize, and the winner was selected by an
international jury consisting of Nadine Ansorg (University of Kent), Jonathan Pinckney (Norwegian
University of Science and Technology), and Corinne Bara (Uppsala University, Chair of the Jury).