Francesca Morphakis

Francesca Morphakis


I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First Class MA Honours degree in History in 2017, and completed an MSc by Research in History at the same institution in 2018. While at Edinburgh, I developed an interest in modern British history, particularly the formulation of policy at the highest levels and the role of unelected officials within government. My undergraduate dissertation focused on the role of special advisors in foreign policy-making during the First World War. My MSc thesis expanded on this research to interrogate the significance of special advisors during David Lloyd George's post-war adminstration, 1918-1922. It was awarded the Jeremiah Dalziel Prize as the best thesis in British history. 

Research interests

  • 20th century Britain
  • British politics and political history
  • International and diplomatic history
  • Whitehall and the Civil Service, particularly the Cabinet Office, Treasury and Foreign Office
  • Special advisors and the 'powers behind the throne'

Current Research Project 

My PhD thesis is entitled 'The "Foreign Office Mind" and the Making of British Foreign Policy, 1931-1945'. It interrogates foreign policy-making in the British state during a highly transformational period. It focuses on the ideas and influences of the Foreign Office, an institution conspicuously absent from the extensive literature on the period. It illuminates the institutional culture of the department, the 'Foreign Office mind', and examines its collaborative and competitive interactions within Whitehall. This research speaks to questions at the forefront of contemporary policy debates surrounding Britain's global role and the exercise of power within Whitehall. 

My PhD is supervised by Professor Simon Ball and Dr Nir Arielli. It is generously funded by a White Rose College of Arts and Humanities Studentship. 

Prizes and Awards

  • White Rose College of Arts and Humanities Studentship, 2018-2021

  • The Jeremiah Dalziel Prize for British History (The University of Edinburgh), 2018

  • The School of History, Classics and Archaeology Masters Studentship (The University of Edinburgh), 2017-2018

  • Helen Philip Memorial Bursary, for the most distinguished student across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (The University of Edinburgh), 2017-2018

  • The Sheila Cannell Postgraduate Scholarship (The University of Edinburgh), 2017-2018

  • David Horn Prize, for the best History student proceeding to postgraduate study (The University of Edinburgh), 2017-2018

  • Undergraduate dissertation submitted to the History of Parliament Trust's annual undergrduate competition as the best dissertation on British or Irish parliamentary or political history in the School of History (The University of Edinburgh), 2016-2017

  • Paterson (Noel) Essay Prize, for the best essay in Modern British History (The University of Edinburgh), 2016-2017

  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology Award for Academic Excellence, awarded to the most distinguished student entering Honours in History (The University of Edinburgh), 2015-2016

  • Margaret Balfour Keith Memoiral Prize, for the highest mark in American History (The University of Edinburgh), 2014-2015


  • MSc by Research in History (The University of Edinburgh)
  • MA History (The University of Edinburgh)