• 3.73 Arts

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Elections, electoral integrity, democracy, democratic backsliding

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Personal profile


Toby S. James is Professor of Politics and Public Policy in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia.  He is also  Distinguished Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Queens University, Canada and Editor-in-Chief of the multi-disciplinary journal Policy Studies

He has previously held positions at the universities of Sydney, York, Swansea, Trinity College, Dublin, Interational IDEA and the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.  

He is currently Co-Director of the Electoral Integrity Project, an independent academic research project based at UEA, but also and the Royal Military College of Canada/Queens University.   This produces innovative and policy-relevant research to improve elections worldwide.  The flagship publication is the annual Global Electoral Integrity Report.  However, the project also runs annual international workshops both online and in-person, which bring the worlds practitioners and scholars together.

Toby’s research focuses on the electoral integrity and democracy, the policy process and political leadership. He has had articles published in leading international journals such as International Political Science Review, Electoral Studies, Government and Opposition, Parliamentary Affairs, Public Money & Management and the British Journal of Politics and International Relations.  He is the author or co-editor of six books: Elite Statecraft and Election Administration (Palgrave, 2012), co-editor of British Labour Leaders and British Conservative Leaders (both Biteback, 2015), Comparative Electoral Management (Routledge, 2020), Building Inclusive Elections (Routledge, 2020), and The Trump Administration (Routledge, 2022).

Toby has written commissioned policy reports for national and international organisations, and collaborated with organisations such as International IDEA, IFES, the Carter Center, Westminster Foundation for Democray and the UK Foreign Office.  He has regularly given invited evidence to many Parliamentary committees and collaborated with organisations such as the Venice Commission.  He was previously Senior Fellow to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation and been an invited speaker around the world including at Harvard University and for the UNDP.

Toby’s research has been externally funded by the British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, SSHRC, Joesph Rowntree Reform Trust and the McDougall Trust.  His work on electoral management and democratic participation led to him being a finalist for the ESRC Impact Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Public Policy in 2018.

Key Research Interests

Toby’s research interests are broad and cover democracy in practice, electoral institutions, electoral malpractice, political participation, political leadership, statecraft theory, public administration, theories of the policy process and research methodologies.

He is currently working on:

  • Concepts of electoral integrity and democracy. He is working on concept papers on democratic theory using realist social theory. 
  • Electoral integrity around the globe.  This project, in collaboration with Holly Ann Garnett (Royal Mlitary COllege, Canada) involves running the Perception of Electoral Integrity Surveys to assess the quality of elections around the globe.
  • Covid-19 and elections.  This is an ESRC funded project in collaboration with International IDEA and Alistair Clark which examines the impact of the pandemic on electoral integrity.
  • Political leaders.  He has continued to work on evaluating the impact of political leaders on policy and politics.

I welcome enquiries from PhD potential students relating to any of my research area.

Key Responsibilities

Co-Director of the Electoral Integrity Project

Editor-in-Chief of Policy Studies

Areas of Expertise

Democracy, autocracy, elections, electoral integrity, electoral management, political leadership, leadership, the policy process, public administration, public sector reform, politics, political science, electoral law, comparative politics, institutions, institutional change human resource management.

Teaching Interests

Toby teaches:

  • MA module on Democracy Around the Globe: Futures of Democratic Backsliding or Resurgence?
  • Undergraduate module on States, Institutions and Citizens

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Co-Director, Electoral Integrity Project

1 Jan 2020 → …

Editor in Chief, Policy Studies (Journal)

1 Oct 2019 → …


  • Political institutions
  • democracy
  • elections
  • electoral integrity
  • Political science (General)
  • Social Sciences (General)
  • Critical realism