PhD opportunity – Behavioural Analytics and Interpersonal Cohesion

Behavioural analytics and interpersonal cohesion

Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD studentship in the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), based in Psychology at Lancaster University. The studentship will be supervised by Professor Paul Taylor and Drs Stacey Conchie and David Ellis, and will begin in October 2018.

Project description

This PhD will examine how social cohesion in groups can be measured directly from ubiquitous behavioural data streams, such as email, social media and phone usage data. By applying established measures (e.g., language mimicry) and new measures of social cohesion at a larger scale than studied previously, the PhD will seek to understand at scale how people navigate their social relations over time and across groups. The kinds of questions the studentship may address include: What are the cognitive or societal constrains on such relations? What are the role of particular psychological factors (e.g., identity, emotions) on cohesion? What is the impact of external events on cohesion and when does cohesion break down?

You will join a growing group of academic, postdoc and PhDs engaged in projects examining the use of analytics to inform our understanding of, and ability to measure, the interpersonal dynamics among security threat actors. As part of this group, you will be expected to contribute to meetings, present findings at academic conferences, and publish findings in academic journals. You will also be a member of the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) and be encouraged to engage with relevant stakeholders in the security and intelligence agencies, helping them understand the research and its relevance to their practice and policy.

Funding notes

This studentship provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and an ESRC equivalent maintenance grant (currently £14,777). The student will receive their own research support budgets (e.g., for training and to pay participants) and have access to an associated travel budget, which should be used to attend national and international conferences. Students who would be required to pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but they must make appropriate arrangements to cover the difference between the overseas and UK tuition fee.


You should be motivated, ambitious, and able to demonstrate an interest in the advertised PhD area. You should hold, or expect to gain at least an Upper 2.1 honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Having or expecting to gain a Masters qualification and/or having other research experience will be an advantage.

To apply, please email a CV, transcript of marks, 1 academic reference, and a 750 word statement of interest to using the Subject ‘PhD application.’ After the deadline, applications will be reviewed and shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, before award decisions are made. If you wish to discuss the studentship informally or if you have any questions about the position, please contact Paul Taylor

Deadline: Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

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