Experts from Lancashire are to lead a multi-million pound project to help protect the nation from terrorists.
Lancaster University will lead the UK’s new centre for the development and use of economic and social science research to understand, mitigate and counter security threats.
Today’s threats are challenging and diverse. The ambitious and innovative activities of CREST over the coming years will meet these challenges.Professor Paul Taylor
Professor Paul Taylor is director of the newly launched Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) which brings together world leading researchers at four leading universities to deliver a national hub for independent research, training and knowledge synthesis.
The founding partners, from Birmingham, Cranfield, Lancaster, Portsmouth and the West of England universities, will oversee programmes that attract the best social scientists from the UK and abroad to work with industry and government a to find new ways of dealing with and understandings modern terrorism and threats.
the Centre was commissioned by and will be administered by the Economic and Social Research Council with a focus on conducting independent research and knowledge synthesis to inform approaches to countering contemporary security threats to individuals, communities and institutions. It will be 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.
Prof Taylor said: “Today’s threats are challenging and diverse. The ambitious and innovative activities of CREST over the coming years will meet these challenges.”
As well as conducting world-class, independent research, the Centre will stimulate public and professional debate, connect disciplinary communities, inform security policy and practice, and provide training to research leaders of the future.
Lancaster University will lead the research programme on ideas, beliefs and values in social contexts, examining how extremist ideologies are transmitted and countered.
The other founding partners will lead programmes looking at actors and narratives, online behaviour, eliciting information, and protective security and risk assessment.
The project will initially fund 13 PhD students working across all five universities.