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Joana de Deus Pereira, PhD

Joana de Deus Pereira is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Senior Research Fellow in security and migration at the University of South Wales.  She is an expert in border security and a Module Leader in Human and Drug Trafficking, Serious and Organised Crime and Risk Management and Analysis.

She manages a research project on the role of private security providers in the management of the “so called” migration crisis, its impact for the European Agenda for Migration, and how do private security actors and defence industry shape the European migration management policy inside and outside the EU borders.

Since October 2019 she is a Lecturer and Instructor in Border Security and Border Technology for COE-DAT NATO onInternational organisations’ (UN, EU, OSCE, FRONTEX) perspectives on border security:achievements, challenges; Human and technological aspects of border security and Transnational and Hybrid Threats in Border Management and Security.

Joana holds a PhD in Security Studies from King’s College London – Department of War Studies and Defence Studies and she is an evaluator for the Portuguese National Innovation Agency, and partner-manager at Flexiblearth Lda, a Portuguese consultancy firm. Joana has an extensive experience in Above Ground Risks (AGR) and she previously worked as an independent security consultant doing geopolitical and country risk analysis for several consulting companies, producing forward-looking analysis about political and economic events that may impact on the security sector. She is an expert in intelligence risk analysis, private security, policy analysis and designing and implementing tailored made security programs according to different threat levels.

An interview for the MSCA Actions at USW by Nina Rabaiotti – Digital Marketing Officer for Research and Innovation – December 2019

  1. Describe in five words or fewer what is your field of investigation

I seek to understand how and to what extent the security industry shapes the European migration policy. 

  1. Brief biography: where you studied, what you studied and post-doc experience; any particular research interests and why these (any personal interest / background)

I graduated at the Nova University of Lisbon in International Relations and Political Science, a post graduate diploma in Diplomatic Studies from the Lusíada University in Lisbon and I hold a PhD in Security Studies from the Department of War Studies and Defence Studies – with a thesis on the role of private security contractors in the oil sector in Angola and Nigeria, fully funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology in Portugal. My original field of expertise is the role of private security in the oil security arena in Lusophone Africa.

I was the co-founder of the Private Military & Security Research Group, which seeks to increase the understanding of PMSC’s while promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of PMSCs at King’s College London.

Previously, I worked as an independent security consultant doing geopolitical and country risk analysis for several consulting companies, producing forward-looking analysis about political and economic events that impacted on the energy security sector – with a focus on intelligence risk analysis, policy analysis.

Earlier, I started my career as a civil servant at Portugal’s Ministry of Justice, where I was part of the core team behind the development and introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes in Portugal. I co-authored one of the earliest publications on justice-of-the-peace in the country.

  1. Describe your fellowship research: What does it focus on; what is it hoping to answer; what will be the benefit of this research and to whom; at what point are you at with it; any outputs or discoveries yet?

Presently, my research examines the role of private security actors in migration, the technological aspects of border security and how it impacts on EU migration agenda. Later advances, not only in security field in general, but also in the migration field, in particular, illustrate that the market for security is continuously flourishing and a demand market is fed by evolving migration flows. In order to understand the level of influence of private security actors in the design of EU migration policy making, we will use process-tracing methodology to observe the changing pathways of migration policy process and understand when and why this changed has occurred.

This research aspires to understand what the impacts of outsourcing security for the EU migration agenda, how is EU migration policy evolving and adapting to borderless security threats and what part the private security industry has in the EU security/migration nexus dynamics.

  1. What have you most enjoyed about it so far?

I have the privilege to work very closely to renown scholars, such as Prof. Kaunert with whom I have been collaborating since this fellowship started. Complementary to my research, I truly enjoy lecturing and I feel privileged to be part of the embryonic team developing the master’s in International Security and Risk Management at the University of South Wales, where I am the module leader for International Security of Drugs, Human Trafficking and Organised Crime, and Risk Management and Risk Analysis.

  1. What is it like to be a MSCA fellow?

Being an MSCA fellow is both an opportunity and an honour. I feel very fortunate and thankful to be a MSCA fellow. I started with a Re-Start career fellowship and it allowed me to pursue and develop a project that I delineated from the beginning with the purpose of returning to academia and make my contribution to the EU policy research. This specific call is extremely well-thought as it brings together the best of academic practice with a previous non-academic professional path. Being a MSCA fellow also mean to be part of a network of excellence that has a voice in all corners of the world and I am extremely grateful for that.

  1. How will this experience benefit your career?

This experience will allow me to purse my research interests and it will allow me to participate in a world-class researcher’s network. I consider that I am already capitalising on the fact of being an MSCA fellow as a lecturer at the USW and invited lecturer, for example at COE-NATO.

  1. Why did you choose to come to USW to do your fellowship?

I did not initially choose to go to USW and I was accepted in another university. I migrated my fellowship at the very beginning following the invitation of my supervisor, without whom this project would have less impact and outreach in the academic community. Furthermore, I was presented with top infrastructure, a fantastic collaborative team and I integrated a challenging project at the International Centre for Policing and Security.

  1. What is it like – USW and living in Wales?

I am Portuguese (this is a statement!). Wales brought me the thing I missed the most since I left Portugal 13 years ago – the people. I would say that the best of Wales is the people who are truly genuine and always willing to help you. I feel happy and my campus reminds me of my homeplace in the mountains, surrounded by green and nature.

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