Nicole (Yung) Au is a student on the DPhil in Information, Communication & the Social Sciences.

Nicole (Yung Au) is a doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute. Her research examines how technology influences extra-legal governance by various non-state actors. She is particularly interested in areas with steep technological growth but lower state involvement – where governance may occur in unexpected places and in forms that are not immediately recognisable. Her DPhil is generously funded by the Clarendon Scholarship, St Antony’s Warden’s Scholarship, and the Rotary Global Scholar Fund.

Nicole holds a MSc in Sociology from the University of Oxford where she received the A.H. Halsey Prize for highest overall grade in the department. Her dissertation, which received a distinction, was a micro-level examination of the variation in governance by insurgencies in the Karen State, Burma. Outside of academia, she has an interest in how research can inform policy and has worked in various civil society groups and research clusters including, examining non-governmental and ethnic organisations deemed illicit in both the Burmese and Chinese borderlands, as well as contributing to a global rebel governance database. She has also worked with male and transgender sex workers in Hong Kong/the borders and collaborated on the first publicly available database on this community in Hong Kong prisons.

Research Interests

Extra-legal governance, alternative governance, technological growth, subversive technology, dual-use technology, violent non-state actors (VNSA), areas of limited statehood, conflict, natural experiments

Supervisor at OII

Philip Howard