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Dr Matthew Francis

Dr Matthew Francis

Senior Research Associate

County South
Lancaster University
United Kingdom


Security Lancaster

Professional Role

I am the Senior Research Assistant on the Global Uncertainties: Ideology, Decision-making and Uncertainty project, which is funded by the RCUK Global Uncertainties programme. I work with the Leadership Fellow, Professor Kim Knott, on making interdisciplinary links between researchers, drawing in a range of external stakeholders and undertaking an original programme of research into the role that beliefs, commitments and ideologies make in decision-making in the face of risk and uncertainty.

Research Interests

I currently research the role that beliefs, commitments and ideologies make in decision-making in the face of risk and uncertainty.

This builds on previous research where I analysed the move to violence in religious and non-religious groups. I mapped the significance of shared non-negotiable beliefs through coding the public utterances of members and leaders of groups, focusing on case-studies on Aum Shinrikyo, al Qaeda, the Red Army Faction, Agonshu, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

At present I am following up on these interests through research on far-right movements and groups in the UK.

Additional Information

I recently undertook research into the role of religion, and the place of religious literacy, in a UK university. I was the Programme Manager and Research Associate on a national HEFCE-funded project on religious literacy in Higher Education and have presented on a role for religious literacy in broader public settings at human rights and equalities events.

I founded and am Editor of the website RadicalisationResearch.org, which is funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme and which brings high-quality academic research on radicalisation and extremism to the attention of people working in policy and media settings.

In Press

Students’ perspective: the role of mentor and supervisor

Francis, M. 06/2015 Modernities, memory, mutations: Grace Davie and the study of religion. Day, A. & Lövheim, M. (eds.). Farnham: Ashgate

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)

Religious literacy in policy and practice

Dinham, A. (ed.) & Francis, M. (ed.) 18/03/2015 Bristol: Policy Press. 256 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook


Religious literacy, radicalisation and extremism

Francis, M. & van Eck Duymaer van Twist, A. 18/03/2015 Religious literacy in policy and practice. Francis, M. & Dinham, A. (eds.). Bristol: Policy Press, p. 257-270 14 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)

Why the “sacred” is a better resource than “religion” for understanding terrorism

Francis, M. 2015 In: Terrorism and Political Violence.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


How do we prevent radicalisation?

Francis, M. 7/10/2014

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site



The Roots, Practices and Consequences of Terrorism: A Literature Review of Research in the Arts & Humanities, Final Report (for the Home Office)

Knott, K., McFadyen, A., McLoughlin, S. & Francis, M. 2006 Leeds: University of Leeds. 92 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report


Leeds Pilot Faiths Consultation Exercise on Restorative Justice and the Rehabilitation of Young Male Ex-Offenders

Knott, K. & Francis, M. 2004 Community Religions Project and Leeds Church Institute for the Home Office. 51 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

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Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YL, UK
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