CREST Roundup: June 2019


This is a roundup of what CREST has been up to in June 2019. You can stay up-to-date with all our work by signing up to the CREST Newsletter, and have CREST news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Help us provide evidence on the influence of CREST’s research by completing a questionnaire addressing the reach and impact of CREST’s work for practitioners and academics.

As we move towards our fourth year of operation we are interested in analysing the impact of our activities and outputs. To that end we have commissioned an external agency, Lucidity Solutions, to provide an independent account of the impact of CREST’s research in our first three years of operation.

This project seeks to better understand and document what our researchers have achieved by tracing the journey of individual projects, from initial research co-design through to changes in awareness, understanding, practice, policy, training, or operational decisions.

As part of this process Lucidity Solutions have released two questionnaires for completion: one by users of our research (for example, but not limited to, civil servants, police officers and teachers – in the UK and overseas); and another for use by academic researchers.

The questionnaires are being administered by Lucidity Solutions. Results will be aggregated and no individual responders will be identified in any reports or outputs of this review.

The questionnaire for users of CREST research can be found here:

The questionnaire for academic researchers can be found here:

If in doubt about which questionnaire you should complete, please complete the  user questionnaire.

Both questionnaires will remain open until 5pm on 28th June.

New research tackling security threats announced by CREST

Five new projects addressing security threats faced by the UK have been announced

In addition to long-term research projects, CREST commissions six- and twelve-month projects to react to new and emerging requirements of its funders. CREST offered £1.12m to fund innovative proposals within this latest round of commissioning. After a rigorous and independent review process, the successful projects (subject to contract) were selected from more than 80 applications.

Speaking about the announcement the Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor, said: “We were delighted with the breadth and quality of the applications to our call. The successful projects address problems and issues that pose a serious threat to the security of the UK and we are looking forward to helping understand and counter those threats through this work.”

The successful applicants announced are:

Understanding Twenty-First Century Militant Anti-Fascism: An Analytical Framework and Matrix

Professor Nigel Copsey at Teesside University

How do locally based militant anti-fascist groups organise beyond their locality? How do they disseminate ideas across borders, and shape understandings of fascism as a global issue of pressing concern? What is the role of ‘political crises’ in the process of militant anti-fascist radicalisation? And what is the role of reciprocal radicalisation in the escalation of anti-fascist violence? Answering these questions will provide the evidence base for a theoretical matrix – a set of conditions at individual, group, and society-level from which anti-fascist radicalisation is more or less likely to emerge. Link to project.

Simulated phishing and employee cybersecurity behaviour (SPEC)

Dr John Blythe at CybSafe

This project will conduct two studies with differing approaches to investiga (i) how policies on simulated phishing emails are currently implemented in organisations using a cross-sectional survey and (ii) the impact of simulated phishing emails policies on employees’ cyber security awareness and their perceptions of key factors (organisational trust, procedural fairness, stress and perceived monitoring) through an experimental study. Link to project.

Why do people spread disinformation on social media?

Professor Tom Buchanan at the University of Westminster

Individual social media users are key to the spread of disinformation online. By interacting with disinformation, they share it to their own social networks. This can greatly increase its reach, and potential impact on society. Why do people do this? Are they fooled by the disinformation, and spread it because they believe it is true? Do they know the information is fake, but spread it anyway? How does the way a disinformation message is presented influence our likelihood of sharing it? Are some people more likely to share disinformation than others? This project will address those questions. Link to project.

Collecting and Leveraging Identity Cues with Keystroke Analysis (CLICKA)

Dr Oliver Buckley at the University of East Anglia

The project is based on the idea of ‘motor learning’, which suggests that a task becomes more automatic and requires less conscious thought the more it is repeated. In the first instance the project will develop an experimental framework to capture a user’s typing behaviours. This will then be used to create a predictive model, using state-of-the-art machine learning techniques capable of inferring some or part of an anonymous individual’s name. Link to project.

‘Hot periods’ of anti-minority activism and the threat of violent domestic extremism: Towards an assessment framework

Dr Joel Busher at Coventry University

The aim of this project is to develop a stronger understanding of the dynamics of violent escalation, non-escalation and de-escalation during periods of intense anti-minority activism, and in doing so enhance the ability of state and civil society actors to (a) assess the threat of violent escalation during and in the aftermath of such ‘hot periods’, and (b) more accurately anticipate how planned interventions are likely to play out on the ground. Link to project

Understanding moral injury and belief change in the experiences of police online child sex crime investigators

Dr Peter Lee at University of Portsmouth and Dr Mark Doyle at Solent University

This project will start by analysing and exploiting primary data from moral injury-related findings. These will subsequently be used to inform a focused enquiry into the causes of moral injury, and consequences such as changes in attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, among police internet child abuse investigators and relevant forensic teams. Link to project.

For more information about the successful applicants please visit the CREST website at:

More projects to come…

Watch this space as the other successful projects (subject to contracts being finalised) will be announced very soon.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, or sign up to our newsletter, to keep updated.

Crest Security Review #9 – Data

Have you read our latest issue of CREST Security Review?

Issue 9 of CSR focuses on Data, and in particular on how the social and behavioural sciences can help us see the value that data and computer science can bring to understanding and countering security threats.

You can read, download and share this issue on the newCREST Security Review website here.

Don’t forget you can also download the new CREST Security Review mobile app. All issues of CSR, past and present, are available to browse online and offline.

Opportunities and events

Job Alert: CREST Communications Director

CREST are looking for a Communications Director to lead the dissemination of its research to stakeholders. 

Job description
Reporting to the Executive Director, your role will be to lead on the digital and print design and publication of CREST’s outputs as well as their promotion online, through social media and in our stakeholder networks. You should have substantial experience of communicating complex research effectively to a range of audiences. Experience of translating research into practice and policy recommendations for law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies will be an advantage.

This exciting job will see you translate cutting edge research and edit leading publications such as CREST Security Review and the website Radicalisation Research (you should have familiarity with Content Management Systems such as WordPress). In addition, you will need to use feedback from our academic and practitioner networks to ensure research outputs are conveyed in ways that are meaningful for their intended audiences.

The post will be fixed term until end September 2020, pending CREST being successful at securing funding to continue beyond that date.

To apply for this post, please go to the Lancaster University jobs site.

Interviews will be held on Friday 26th July, with interviewees notified on Tuesday 23rd July.


UKRI-JST Joint Call on Artificial Intelligence and Society

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), are pleased to announce a joint call for proposals exploring the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies on society and the economy. The call is now open and the deadline for applications is 17 July 2019.

Scope of the call
This call aims to foster collaboration between UK and Japanese social science, arts and humanities researchers around the theme of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society. The call aims to promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and to position the social sciences, arts and humanities as an integral part of the process for developing and exploring AI systems, and ensuring that those systems provide the greatest benefit to people and societies. Ultimately, the call aims to contribute towards the development of a platform for effective and sustained dialogue and engagement between a range of researchers and other relevant stakeholders, eventually leading to practical implementation and policy recommendations.

Closing Date: 17 July 2019
Successful awards will be announced in November 2019 and will be expected to begin in January 2020.

For more information, and to apply, click here.

Out and about


Joel Busher has been discussing recently published CREST-funded research on the ‘Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation’ project, carried out with Graham Macklin and Donald Holbrook, at a dedicated event hosted by the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX), at Oslo University, and at the annual conference of the Council for European Studies, in Madrid. The project also featured in the May edition of the UN CTED Research Digest.

A paper by Ellis, D. A., Davidson, B. I.Shaw, H., &  Geyer, K., was discussed in a Forbes article: Why Assumptions About ‘Smartphone Addiction’ May Be Based On Shaky Evidence

CREST Associate Dr Nikki Power was announced as one of the winners of the British Science Association’s prestigious lecture awards. Dr Power is the Margaret Mead Award lecture winner for the social sciences and will deliver her lecture on ‘Life or death? You decide‘ at the British Science Festival in September.

Liv Brown won ‘Best contribution to NDM methodology’ at the NDM conference for her paper Team Cohesion over time in expedition teams: the role of daily events and team composition.


Stephane J. Baele, Gregorio Bettiza, Katharine A. Boyd & Travis G. Coan (2019) ISIS’s Clash of Civilizations: Constructing the “West” in Terrorist Propaganda, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2019.1599192

Downloaded the free CSR app!

CREST Security Review has a new website and a mobile app to further broaden the way people can engage with its content.

The free app, available on both IOS and Android platforms provides a number of features:

  • Intuitive navigation – making it easy to browse issues and articles of interest.
  • Offline access –  read articles or whole issues by bookmarking them to read later.
  • Search and discover – navigate easily to the topics that interest you most as well as be alerted when new items are added.
  • Favourite articles – our synced bookmark feature allows you to conveniently store all your favourite CSR articles in one place, for you to access later via any of your devices.
  • Responsive design – you can read CSR on your mobile, iPad, Android tablet or desktop, meaning you no longer must download the pdf (although that option is still available).
  • New issue alerts – opt in for notifications and you’ll be the first to know when the latest issue arrives.

Alongside the mobile application, a new website at gives CSR its own home, making it easier to access, read and share articles. Favourites and bookmarks are synced with the application.

Download now:
Find the free mobile app on your app stores, or via this link at:
Access the new website direct at, and keep an eye out for our next issue, coming soon.

We want to know what you think! Do let us know what you think of our new app and website by emailing us at:

Copyright notice

We believe that our work should be shared as widely as possible. Therefore we licence all of our blogs, guides and other resources on this website under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 licence. This means that unless otherwise noted, you can republish our content online or in print for free (although you can’t sell it). You just have to credit us and link to us. For more information visit our copyright page.

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