PhD studentship Tuning into terrorist signals: Modelling and analysing terrorism on social networks

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to work on a collaborative research project on online terrorism at Royal Holloway University of London. This studentship is fully funded for three years by a Reid Scholarship (including a tax-free stipend at a current rate of £15,726 per year and UK/EU level university registration fees).

We aim to investigate the detection and mitigation of digital communication network use by terrorists. The research will model how terrorist groups can form on, communicate on, and disrupt communication networks such as Twitter. One concern is that the way social networks are used may play a role in promoting the rise of extremist social groups and the project will assess this. There will be a data analysis component of the project including statistical analysis to test models on large datasets. We expect the results will contribute to a better understanding of community formation and communication on networks and develop theory on security for communication networks that cross traditional geo-political boundaries

The project will build on work previously done by Dr John Bryden and Prof Vincent Jansen, both mathematical biologists, which modelled group formation in dynamic networks and the mapping and classification of groups on social networks. It will be conducted in conjunction with a growing interdisciplinary team of researchers at RHUL including Dr Peter Adey, a human geographer with interests in anticipatory forms of planning for vulnerabilities and emergencies and Prof David Denney a criminologist with interests in risk.

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We are looking for candidates with a background in a quantitative subject (e.g. mathematics, computer science, physics, psychology, economics), experience in mathematical or simulation modelling, and a strong affinity for statistical analysis and research in online social behaviour. It is also desirable that candidates have a sensitivity to notions of security and risk. We expect at least a 2.1 first degree (or equivalent).

The studentship is expected to start in September 2013, or as early as possible after this date. Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to Dr John Bryden ( [email protected] ), or Prof Vincent Jansen ( [email protected] ).

To make an application, please send a covering letter stating clearly how you fulfil the requirements of the studentship, your research interests and include a CV, and the names and email addresses of two academic referees, to [email protected]

Closing Date: 23rd May, interviews will be held before the end of May.

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