Virginia Comolli

Virginia Comolli

Research Fellow for Security and Development


Main Responsibilities:   

  • Establish an independent Security and Development Programme.
  • Research complex forms of insecurity afflicting the developing world, with attention to the way in which development objectives are being hampered by these challenges, and what the appropriate policy responses should be.
  • Perform an advisory role in respect of the Chart of Conflict and West African conflicts covered in the Armed Conflict Database (ACD).


Virginia joined the IISS in 2006 as part of the Military Balance team conducting research on Sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2007 and 2012 she was the Research Analyst and Assistant to the Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk, She worked on projects looking at a wide variety of security issues including international terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime and drugs, conflict, cyber security, and energy security. In this capacity she was temporarily seconded to the UK Ministry of Justice as an Expert Analyst.

Between 2012 and 2014 she held the position of Research Associate for Transnational Threats with responsibility for research on transnational organized crime, extremism, and security threats in West Africa and the Sahel. In addition, she directed the preparation of the IISS Chart of Conflict.

Prior experience includes working for the intelligence unit of a private security company where she concentrated on the Persian Gulf region, the Maghreb and Afghanistan. She also had a previous brief experience with a strategic intelligence company.

Virginia holds a First Class Honours degree in War Studies and American Studies from the University of Wolverhampton and a Master's degree in Intelligence and Strategic Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Contact Virginia Comolli


Virginia is the co-author on the Adelphi Book Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: the Problems of Prohibition (2012).

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