News articles

RAF Officer completes MPhil at University of Cambridge as part of the Tedder Fellowship

RAF Officer secures an MPhil in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge, having been selected for the Tedder Fellowship as part of the Chief of the Air Staff Fellowship scheme.

Squadron Leader Handley dressed in his cap and gown over his RAF uniform for graduation

Squadron Leader Handley joined the RAF straight from school in 2003 at the age of 18, as a RAF Regiment Gunner. Following his commission into the RAF Regiment four years later, Sqn Ldr Handley became increasingly interested in his academic development and was awarded first place for his entry into the Junior Regiment Officer’s essay competition in 2008.

“I have been incredibly well supported by the RAF in my personal and academic development and am extremely grateful for the opportunities afforded to me and others within the Service.”

Squadron Leader Handley

In 2017, he received a First Class BA(Hons) degree in Organisational Capability Development. This service-linked Bachelor’s programme delivered by Buckinghamshire New University, focuses on organisational strategy, HR management, and security strategy.

Completing this course meant that Sqn Ldr Handley not only gained an excellent academic foundation but also the confidence to pursue opportunities for postgraduate study. This led to him successfully applying for the Tedder Fellowship in 2021 to undertake an MPhil in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge (Oct 2022–Sep 2023).

Sqn Ldr Handley’s MPhil research focused on the implications of Anthropogenic (human caused) Climate Change upon UK National Security interests, with specific focus on the ‘securitisation’ of climate change within the 2021 National Security Strategy and its subsequent implications for the UK Defence sector.

“The opportunity to study future Defence challenges at a globally renowned academic establishment has been a career highlight, which has broadened my conceptual and professional horizons whilst enabling me to bring a wealth of critical thinking and analytical skills back into the Security and Resilience profession.”

Squadron Leader Handley

The RAF sponsors two places annually on the MPhil in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge as part of the Tedder Fellowship. This is one of the most competitive and demanding MPhil degrees that Cambridge offers, and subjects studied include: International Relations Theory; the Politics of Africa, the Middle East and Religion; International Security, and more.

CAS’ Fellowships aim to develop and enhance the RAF’s conceptual capability, whilst encouraging the study of air, space, and cyber power. They link to the objectives within the RAF Strategy, particularly ‘Innovate for Tomorrow’ and ‘Value our People’ in developing our Next Generation Royal Air Force. The Fellowships aim, in part, to produce a well-motivated, highly trained, agile, and adaptable Whole Force through education.