Simon Ball was appointed to the University’s established chair of International History & Politics in 2012. He was previously Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Glasgow. He leads a team of international historians with a wide range of expertise in the history of international relations and security.
Simon Ball’s own work has concentrated on five interrelated themes: the international history of the Cold War; the international history of the Second World War; the legacy of the First World War; the global arms trade; and war, security & intelligence. He is the editor-elect of War in History and sits on the editorial board of Intelligence & National Security.
Ball has collaborated closely with BBC Radio 4’s Document series. Document is Radio 4’s historical investigation programme, taking a document as a starting point from which to shed new light on past events. The series has won Sony Radio Academy Gold and Radio Story of the Year awards.
Ball has been consulted by Germany’s leading public-service television channel, ZDF, to assist in the making of historical documentaries, unravelling complex intelligence stories for two TV series which have been watched by 3.01 and 2.9 million viewers each.
Ball sits on the International Advisory council of the AlliiertenMuseum in Berlin, he collaborates with the National War Museum of Scotland and he has sat on the International Advisory Board of the Irish Research Council in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Ball is the Principal Investigator on a major AHRC-funded project AH/J000175/1 Cultures of Intelligence: Military Intelligence Services in Germany, Great Britain and the USA : Britain , 1918-1947. The main aim of the project is to deepen our knowledge of the mid-twentieth century intelligence services in Britain. It will do so by going beyond the institutional history of particular intelligence services and interrogating the nature of an overarching culture of intelligence, manifested both in the intelligence community and the wider public sphere. Britain will be placed in comparative perspective through formal co-operation with a parallel project Kulturen der Intelligence: Ein Forschungsprojekt zur Geschichte der militärischen Nachrichtendientse in Deutschland, Grossbritannien und der USA , 1900-1947 funded by the Gerda-Henkelstiftung, Munich.