I research Comparative Party Politics (Populism and Right-Wing Party Competition on Immigration) in contemporary European politics, primarily through the use of expert surveys, public opinion surveys, Manifesto Data, and Case Study analysis.

I have a secondary research area in International Relations which examines EU Governance, EU-China Relations, alongside the economic effects of China's BRI via quantitative text analysis and machine learning techniques.

My research has appeared in top journals such as JCMS: The Journal of Common Market Studies and Electoral Studies. The Loop, openDemocracy, Social Europe, Democratic Audit, E-International Relations (e-IR) and in edited book volumes such as Routledge (Contemporary China Series), Routledge Handbook of Non-Violent Extremism (Forthcoming), The Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right Annual Yearbooks (ibidem/Columbia University Press). I have articles relating to topics covering Populism and Right-Wing Party competition on immigration currently under review in leading political science journals.

I am developing my research on European Populism through a book monograph. I am currently writing a forthcoming book (2023), provisionally titled: “The Rise of the Radical Right in Italy” (ibidem Press/Columbia University Press) with my co-authors Dr. Valerio Alfonso Bruno (CARR) and Alessio Scopelliti (Bristol).

I am also designing a new undergraduate textbook with SAGE Politics (2024). The proposed new textbook: “Understanding Politics” will offer a comprehensive and example packed introduction to key issues in the study of politics. It aims primarily – although not exclusively – at undergraduate political science students, and is designed to mirror the way introductory Politics modules are typically organised week-by-week as a core recommendation. It will also find a market as an important standalone reference (i.e., in both physical libraries and as an important online resource for students).

“Understanding Politics” seeks to become an essential textbook that originates from a wide range of diverse interactive courses in Comparative Politics, International Relations and Global Studies that I have taught in both the Department of Government and Public Administration at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) over the past four years (2017-2021) and in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) (2016-2017). In addition, I have also published a teaching related publication on Teaching Research Methods to Undergraduate students for the British International Studies Association (BISA).

I have served as a reviewer for a number of top political science journals, such as The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics (JOP), JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, European Journal of Political Research (EJPR), Electoral Studies, Government & Opposition, Political Behavior and the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER).

My recent research and expertise on Populist Radical Right Parties also recently contributed towards an Expert Survey for the Spanish Newspaper El Pais, which examines ideological positions on key socio-economic and socio-cultural issues in thirteen countries across Europe. The results of the survey, the methodology and the participants were published alongside with an article explaining the main conclusions and a digital tool to compare the ideological profile of these parties.

I have had extensive Methods Training at the University of Oxford, the Department of Government at the University of Essex, alongside the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis.

Latest Grants:


(1) $100,000 Euros Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence Project. (Erasmus+/EU Commission Grant). (GIS, HKBU).

     Project: “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Political & Institutional Trust in Europe & Asia.” (2022). (Under Review). 


(2) EU-China Relations: The BRI (A Quantitative Text Analysis & Machine Learning Approach) (FDS/UGC Grant Preparation).

     Principal Investigator (2022).

(3) $33,000 HKD (Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Research Grant), International Affairs Research Centre, CUHK. (2020). ​             Principal Investigator 

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©2022 by DR. James F. Downes