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Professor Kim Knott awarded RCUK GULF Fellowship

Date: 28 May 2012

Professor Kim Knott, (Politics, Philosophy and Religious Studies) has been awarded a Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship by the Research Councils UK (RCUK). The Leadership Fellowship offers the opportunity for outstanding researchers to develop a suite of activities to maximise the value and impact of the Global Uncertainties Programme, alongside personal research.

The RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme brings together the activities of the seven UK Research Councils in response to global security challenges. The programme helps governments, businesses and societies to better predict, detect, prevent and mitigate threats to security, focussing on six core areas:

  • Ideologies and beliefs
  • Terrorism
  • Transnational organised crime
  • Cyber security
  • Threats to infrastructures
  • Countering the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and technologies

The overarching theme of this award is 'The role of ideology, belief and commitment in motivations, justifications and catalysts for action in the face of uncertainty'. Although sometimes overlooked or marginalised in scientific research, ideologies and beliefs often feature prominently in personal and group accounts of decision making either as casual drivers or as explanations for the actions that follow. Professor's Knott's work will be addressing the following research questions:

How are ideologies, beliefs and commitments employed in decision- making and subsequent public actions, both violent and non-violent, in the face of risk and uncertainty? In particular, what role do they play in people's motivations and the justifications they give for the choices they make? What are the relationships between various types and levels of ideology, belief and commitment and the move to such actions?

In addition to activities designed to provide coherence, add value, and develop external collaborations and public awareness of the Global Uncertainties programme, the Fellowship will provide funding for Professor Knott to undertake an original programme of research over 30 months on 'Ideological commitment, boundary making and the sacred' in which she will be analysing the connections between sacralisation, the claiming and marking of territories and boundaries, strategies of othering and threats of violence and violent action.

Global Uncertainties Website:


Further information

Associated staff: Kim Knott

Associated departments and research centres: Politics, Philosophy and Religion PPR


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