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Photo of Professor Alison Harcourt

Professor Alison Harcourt

BA (Northern Illinois), MA (Warwick) PhD (Manchester)



01392 724508

Amory A236G

Professor Harcourt specialises in policy change in digital markets and interested in solutions to regulatory problems based around the citizen/consumer and/or civil society voice. Alison has written on the regulation of traditional media and digital markets and internet governance at EU and international levels contributing to the literature on agenda setting, regulatory competition, soft governance, Europeanisation and policy convergence. Her recent research derives from her ESRC projects International Professional Fora: a study in civil society participation in internet governance and ESRC Senior Fellowship on the UK in a Changing Europe programme project on the effect of Brexit on digital market regulation. Alison was conferred as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2018. She was seconded to the Venice International University in 2021 on Exeter's global partnership programme and is currently Visiting Professor at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE in 2023-4. Alison's most recent book in 2023 is Brexit and the Digital Single Market with Oxford University Press.



Research group links

Research interests

Research projects:

ESRC grant (2015 – 2018): International professional fora: a study of civil society organisation participation in internet governance. £463,628.87. (PI)

ESRC grant (2016 – 2016): The UK Communications Industries: the impact of a proposed UK Brexit from the EU. £137,358.00. (PI) 

Member of AHRC media and plurality project advisory group  (2014 - 2015) directed by Steve Barnett (University of Westminster).

Academic advisory group member for the Finnish Academy funded project Facing the Coordination Challenge: Problems, Policies and Politics in Media and Communications Regulation (2011-2015) led by Hannu Nieminen (University of Heslinki)

Expert on OSI’s Transparency of Media Ownership project (2010 – present). The goal of the project is to map the current legal standards for accessing information about media owners. 

Jean Monnet Chair in the Information Society (2008 - 2013) A seminar series on the information society was run as a part of the award. (n° de dossier 3193) (PI) 60,000 €

European Commission ENP postgraduate scholarships grant (2010 - 2011) under the Lifelong Learning programme. (EAC-2010-1084) (PI) 48,000 €

ESRC grant (2005 – 2009): Globalization and Regulatory Change in Audiovisual Regulation in Canada, France, Germany, UK and USA. (RES-OOO-23-0966) £206,868.73. Graded: outstanding. (CI)

Information Society Network (2006 – 2008) awarded by the University of Exeter to promote interdisciplinary work on the information society. A key focus is regulatory governance in the communications field. (CI) £30,000.

Integrated and united? A quest for citizenship in an 'ever closer Europe' (IntUne) (2005 – 2011): European Commission Sixth Framework Project grant on Integrating and Strengthening the European Research Area. Priority 7, Par C, 7.1.1. European Citizenship and multiple identities. (representation team and expert project member).

European Commission Fifth Framework grant (2002 – 2003): Governance, Enlargement and Media Issues (GEMI). (HPSE-CT-2002-70058) (CI with PI John Horgan) 49,648 €.

3 British Academy grants (2001 - 2003): A European policy model? Policy transfer from Western to Eastern Europe in press and broadcasting regulation (case studies: Slovenia , Hungary , and Estonia . (PI)

ESRC (1996 - 1999) Regulating for Media Pluralism: Issue in Competition and Ownership (L 126251009) (named rsearcher) £156,379.00. Graded: outstanding.

DFID (1998 - 1999) Support for Regulation and Transparency of media ownership and concentration in Russia. Research Fellow at the Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy (Oxford) and Moscow Media Law and Policy (Moscow). (Project no. CNTR98588).

Research supervision

European politics, European public policy and politics, communications/media policy at international, European and national levels, internet governance, self-regulation, soft governance.

Research students

Roberto Baccarini PhD entitled (2021 - 2024) "The question of sovereignty as the cause and solution of the EU legitimacy crisis" 

Francesca Farmer PhD entitled "Cybercrime vs hacktivism: do we need a differentiated regulatory approach?" (2022) SWDTC funded.

Veronique Wavre PhD entitled "EU policy effects in Arab Spring states: a case study in policy transfer and diffusion" (2016)

Petros Violakis PhD entitled "The future of European defence industry in relation to the institutional developments of the common European security and defence policy". (2016)




Other information

The Centre for European Studies (CES) engages in the study of Europe and the European Union. The aim of CES is to promote and coordinate international excellence in research across the University. CES staff are integrated into wider national and international research networks. The Centre runs regular workshops and seminars, hosts visiting scholars and has close ties with the Centre for European Legal Studies based in the School of Law.  

Modules taught


Originally from Chicago, Alison Harcourt gained a BA (Magna Cum Laude) in Politics and International Relations from Northern Illinois University, before completing an MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick (Department of Politics) and a PhD at the University of Manchester (Department of Government). At Exeter, Alison acted as Director of the Centre for European Governance between 2018 and 2021 and was Director of the Information Society Network and the Centre for European Studies prior to this time. She has been consultant to and participated in working groups of the Council of Europe, European Commission, and national governments. Alison was a member of REF panel 27 in 2014 and was conferred as Fellow of the Academic of Social Sciences in 2018. She was seconded to the Venice International University on Exeter's global partnership programme in 2021 and is Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, Department of Media and Communications in 2023-2024. Prior to Exeter, Alison held research posts at the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester and University of Warwick. She twice received Jean Monnet Fellowships at the European University Institute and has been Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, University of Bordeaux and LSE CARR.

languages: English (native), German (fluent), Italian (fluent), French (good), Russian (reading)

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