Dr Patrick Holden

Dr Patrick Holden

Associate Professor (Reader)

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Dr Patrick Holden can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • European Union
  • Development aid
  • International organisations


Patrick Holden’s research has explored the link between power, ideas and public policy on topics such as trade policy and development. Holden’s career has been distinguished by engagement with policymakers and stakeholders at all levels, from working with policy-makers from the EU and OECD to local institutions in Plymouth. A proficient media contributor Holden did a ‘Brexplanations’ episode for Radio 5 Live (2019) and explained the recent G7 tax agreement for Sky News (2021).
Research and teaching in relation to International Political Economy, the European Union, International Public Policy, Multilevel Governance


  • 2004-2005 Early Stage Researcher, University of Cambridge, Centre for International Studies. (Marie Curie Fellowship).
  • 2001-2005 University of Limerick, PHD on EU aid policy and the reform of governance in North Africa. (Awarded Government of Ireland Scholarship 2001).
  • 2000-2001 University of Limerick, MA Degree in European Integration (First Class Honours) (Dissertation topic - Pre-accession aid).
  • 1992-1995 University College Dublin, BA in History and English (Honours, 2.1).

Professional membership

BISA British International Studies AssociationUACES University Association for Contemporary European Studies
PSA Political Studies Association
DSA Development Studies Association

Key publications

Hynes W & Holden P (2016) 'What future for the Global Aid for Trade Initiative? Towards an assessment of its achievements and limitations' Development Policy Review 34, (4) 593-619 ,
View all publications


Teaching interests

Europe in the World, International Trade Politics, International Political Economy and Global Governance.


Research interests

Geoeconomics: International Trade Politics and Policy; Development Policy
Politics and Public Policy
Global/local interactions: The Plymouth South Devon Freeport

Other research

ESRC Festival of Social Science (2022) The Political and Socio-Economic implications of the Plymouth South Devon Freeport ESRC Festival of Social Science (2019) Negotiation in an Age of Political Crisis.
Brexit Rebuilding Relationships and Resilience Project (with Richard Saundry) 2018-2019 (internally funded).
Rebuilding Relationships final report

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

  • Veit Bachmann 2009: Regulating geopolitical space: EU interaction with East Africa
  • Annette Elliot 2009: Building Positive Peace? A gendered analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolutiin 1325 on Women, Peace and Security


Key publications

Hynes W & Holden P (2016) 'What future for the Global Aid for Trade Initiative? Towards an assessment of its achievements and limitations' Development Policy Review 34, (4) 593-619 ,

Key publications are highlighted

Holden P (2023) 'Strongholds of Liberalism? The Reaction of Regional Integration Institutions to the Pandemic Trade Crisis' The International Spectator 1-21 ,
Holden P (2020) 'Irreconcilable tensions? The EU’s development policy in an era of global illiberalism' Journal of Contemporary European Research 16, (2) 101-119 ,
Holden P (2019) 'Territory, geoeconomics and power politics: The Irish government's framing of Brexit' Political Geography 76, 0-0 ,
Holden P (2019) 'Finding common ground? The European Union and European Civil Society framing of the role of trade in the Sustainable Development Goals' Journal of Common Market Studies ,
Warren T, Holden P & Howell KE (2017) 'The European Commission and fiscal governance reform: a strategic actor?' West European Politics 1310-1330 ,
Holden P (2016) 'Eternal potential? Temporality, complexity and the incoherent power of the European Union' Cooperation and Conflict 51, (4) 407-427 ,
Hynes W & Holden P (2016) 'What future for the Global Aid for Trade Initiative? Towards an assessment of its achievements and limitations' Development Policy Review 34, (4) 593-619 ,
Holden P (2015) 'The Mediterranean and the Global Sustainable Development Goals' Mediterranean Politics 21, (2) 292-299 ,
Holden P (2015) 'Neoliberalism by default? A critical discourse analysis of the European Union’s trade and development policy in an era of crisis' Journal of International Relations and Development ,
Holden P (2014) 'Tensions in the Discourse and Practice of the European Union's Aid for Trade' Journal of Contemporary Politics 20, (1) 90-102
Holden P & Bachmann V (2012) '"Leading Through Civilian Power" or Creeping Inertia?' Foreign Policy Journal
Holden P (2011) 'A New Beginning? Does the Union for the Mediterranean Herald a New Functionalist Approach to Co-operation in the Region?' MEDITERRANEAN POLITICS 16, (1) 155-169 ,
Holden P (2010) 'Developing Polyarchy? The European Union and Its Structural Policies for Middle Eastern Neighbours' European Foreign Affairs Review 15, (5) 589-609
Holden P (2009) 'Security, power or profit? The economic diplomacy of the US and the EU in North Africa' The Journal of North African Studies 14, (1) 11-32 ,
Holden P (2009) 'The European Union's Mediterranean Policy in Theory and Practice' MEDITERRANEAN POLITICS 14, (1) 125-134 ,
Holden P (2008) 'Development through Integration? EU aid reform and the evolution of Mediterranean Aid Policy' The Journal of International Development 20, (2) 230-244 ,
Holden (2006) 'Conflicting Principles in the Organisation of Aid Policy for Political Purposes: A case study of the European Union's Mediterranean Aid' The European Journal of Development Research 18 (3), 387-411 ,
Holden P (2006) 'Tensions in the organisation of aid policy for foreign policy purposes: a case study of the European Union’s Mediterranean Aid Programmes’' European Journal of Development Research 18, (3) 387-412
Holden (2005) 'Hybrids on the Rim: The EU's Mediterranean Aid Policy' Democratization 12 (4), 461-480 ,
Holden (2005) 'Partnership Lost? The EU's Mediterranean Aid Programmes' Mediterranean Politics 10 (1), 19-37 ,
Holden (2003) 'The European Community's MEDA Aid Programme: A Strategic Instrument of Civilian Power' European Foreign Affairs Review 8 (3), 347-363
Holden P (2002) 'Cohesion or Autonomization? The EU’s pre-accession aid programmes’' Perspectives: UL Political and Economic Review 3, 1-10
Holden P (2014) 'Ireland, Africa and the End of Empire: Small State Identity in the Cold War, 1955-1975' IRISH POLITICAL STUDIES 29, (4) 604-605 ,
Holden P (2007) 'Morocco, the Islamist awakening and other challenges' MEDITERRANEAN POLITICS 12, (1) 114-115
Holden P (2016) In Search of Structural Power. Routledge ,
Holden P (2011) A Dictionary of International Trade Organizations and Agreements. Routledge
Holden P (2009) In search of structural power: EU aid policy as a global political instrument.
Holden P (2008) In Search of Structural Power: EU aid policy as a global political instrument. Ashgate Publishing
Holden P (2017) 'Globalization and the Mediterranean' in Gillespie R Routledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics Routledge 244-255
(2015) 'The Diplomatic System of the European Union' in Smith M; Keukeleire S; Vanhoonacker S Routledge ,
Holden P (2015) '‘The Rising Powers and the Ethics of Global Trade and Development Governance’' Rising powers, global governance and global ethics, Routledge
Holden P (2012) 'Forging a sphere of influence? The European Union's engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa' in Toje A; Kunz B Neoclassical Realism in European Politics: Bringing Power Back in Manchester University Press
Holden P (2012) 'The end of solidarity? The Euro Crisis and the EU Model of Integration' in Fioramonti L Regions and Crises: New Challenges for Contemporary Regionalisms Palgrave Macmillan 67-86
Holden P (2011) 'Still "leading from the edge"? New Labour and the European Union' in Daddow O; Gaskarth J British Foreign Policy: The New Labour Years Palgrave Macmillan 157-169
Holden P (2004) 'Strategic intervention or showcase? EU aid as a force for change in Morocco’' in Peter Xuereb The European Union and the Mediterranean: The Mediterranean’s European Challenges, Volume V EDRC, Malta


Other academic activities

  • I am on the editorial board of Mediterranean Politics.
  • I am the external examiner for the MA in International Politics at Sussex University
  • I have served as an evaluator of ESRC and ESF (European Science Foundation) Projects.
  • I contributed to the Trinity International Development Initiative’s submission to the Irish Government’s review of its development White Paper (March 2012).
  • External Examiner for PhDs at the University of Aston 2011 and University of Ghent 2012.
  • Chair of the Plymouth Business School’s Faculty Research Ethical Approval Committee 2010-2011.
  • Joint-Manager of the International Relations undergraduate programme at Plymouth University: September 2011-May 2012.