Eight projects to address some of the security threats facing the UK have been announced by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), which is led by Lancaster University.
After a rigorous and independent review process, these projects (subject to contract) were selected from more than 80 applications to CREST’s recent commissioning call. CREST offered £900,000 to fund innovative economic, behavioural, and social science research relevant to understanding and mitigating contemporary security threats.
Speaking about the announcement, the Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor, said: “We continue to be impressed by the outstanding quality of responses to our call. The successful applicants promise to deliver theoretical innovation that will make a real difference to the work of the security and intelligence agencies. I am looking forward to working with them.”
The successful applicants are:
- Dr Joel Busher at Coventry University, The internal brakes on violent escalation: a typology and guide for security and intelligence practitioners
- Professor Fiona Gabbert and Dr Gordon Wright at Goldsmiths, University of London, Quantifying the effectiveness of an evidence-based rapport-building training programme for use in information-gathering contexts
- Professor Martin Innes at Cardiff University, Soft Facts and Digital Behavioural Influencing
- Professor Ashraf Labib at University of Portsmouth, Taking Decisions about Information Value
- Professor Wendy Moncur at University of Dundee, Keeping Secrets Online
- Dr Nick Neave at Northumbria University, The Cybersecurity Risks of Digital Hoarding
- Professor Math Noortmann at Coventry University and Professor Juliette Koning at Oxford Brookes, Imaginative scenario planning for law enforcement organisations
- Professor Rosalind Searle at Coventry University, Assessing and mitigating the impact of organisational change on counterproductive work behaviour: an operational (dis)trust based framework
Dr Donald Holbrook, a Lecturer in Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, was part of the successful project, led by Dr Joel Busher, on understanding the inhibitors and barriers to violence in extremist groups. Dr Holbrook will draw on his extensive research on Islamist extremist groups to advance understanding in how some groups choose not to act violently, or only justify certain forms of violence.
CREST brings together more than 100 researchers to deliver a national hub for independent research, training and knowledge synthesis. It is funded for three years with £4.35 million from the UK security and intelligence agencies and a further £2.2m invested by the founding institutions – the universities of Bath, Birmingham, Cranfield, Lancaster, Portsmouth and the West of England. The Centre was commissioned and is administered by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with a focus on conducting independent research and knowledge synthesis.
The successful applicants promise to deliver theoretical innovation that will make a real difference to the work of the security and intelligence agencies
Professor Paul Taylor, Director of CREST