The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) is a national hub for maximising behavioural and social science research into understanding, countering and mitigating security threats. CREST brings together the UK’s foremost expertise in understanding the psychological and social drivers of the threat, the skills and technologies that enable its effective investigation, and the protective security measures that help counter the threat in the first place. It does so within a context of significant stakeholder and international researcher engagement, and with a clear plan for sustained and long-term growth.
CREST’s Director, Professor Paul Taylor, talks about the work of CREST
Statement of Intent
The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) will deliver a world-class, interdisciplinary portfolio of activity that maximises the value of economic and social science research to countering threats to national security. It will be responsive to, but independent from, stakeholders, conducting its work in a transparent and accountable way that maximises interdisciplinary breadth. The activities of CREST will:
- Address key stakeholder questions by reviewing the current state-of-the-art and by providing policy and ‘best practice’ recommendations;
- undertake theoretically motivated, high-quality new research that either addresses gaps identified in the existing literature, or demonstrates the operational relevance of existing knowledge to stakeholder contexts;
- commission synthetic reviews, workshops, toolkit development, and research projects through a transparent and competitive process that delivers scientific excellence, stakeholder relevance, and value for money;
- produce a range of innovative outputs that effectively communicate state-of-the-art knowledge to the security and intelligence agencies, wider government scientists and policy makers, researchers, industry partners, local communities and the public.
- run engagement events that encourage interaction between academic and stakeholder and public communities at both the strategic and grass-roots level, building over time an interdisciplinary community
- produce the next generation of researchers and educators, deliver formal professional development for stakeholders, and engage SME and industry to support innovation.
The activities of CREST are designed to enhance the understanding and skills of practitioners while simultaneously improving the capacity of researchers to deliver high-quality, impactful research. To achieve this, the Centre will deliver five Agendas:
- Knowledge Synthesis. Activities that consolidate the existing research and domain-expertise to deliver an evidence-base that enhances current policy and practice, and identifies areas where further work is needed.
- Original Research. Activities that deliver high-quality research and research implementation (e.g. software to support analysts) that advance the state-of-the-art of knowledge and practice in diverse areas of social science and security.
- Communication. Activities in which traditional and innovative communication media are used to ensure that the outputs of the Knowledge Synthesis and Original Research Agendas have the maximum impact on stakeholders and the public.
- Network. Activities that identify and share new knowledge and promote new ideas, encourage new conversations, build interdisciplinary networks, and facilitate long-term collaborations among the security, intelligence, government, industry, and researcher communities.
- Capacity Building. Activities that both ensure a lasting, world-class legacy for social science research in security, and enhance the knowledge and skills base of security and intelligence practitioners.
CREST’s funding was secured following a competitive process administered by the Economic and Social Research Council, which is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. The Centre’s funding is for five years, from 2015, with £7.23 million from the UK security and intelligence agencies and a further £2.9m invested by the founding institutions.