UK hub for research into security threats awarded £5.3m funding


The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) has been awarded £5.3m by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, to produce new behavioural and social science research into security threats to the UK.

Since launching in October 2015, CREST has brought together 140 researchers from 35 Higher Education institutions and SMEs who have, through their research and engagement activities, added value to security training, practices and policies.

The grant announced today sees CREST funded until 2023 with £5.3m coming from the UK Home Office and UK security and intelligence agencies, and further investments made by its core partners at the universities of Lancaster, Bath, Central Lancashire, Portsmouth, St Andrews, and UCL (University College London).

Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor from Lancaster University, said: “The quality and importance of what the CREST community has delivered since 2015 is nothing short of remarkable. Today’s funding announcement recognises these achievements. It allows the community to expand, break new ground, and ensure the UK and its partners have world-leading behavioural and social science at their fingertips when acting to keep us safe.”

As well as conducting world-class, independent research, CREST has taken a leading role in stimulating public and professional debate, connecting disciplinary communities, informing security policy and practice, and providing training to research leaders of the future.

Research will be led by academics at the universities of Lancaster, Bath, Central Lancashire, Portsmouth, St Andrews, and UCL, and by others as a result of competitive tender. The Centre’s initial focus is:

·      Research on ‘Risk Management’ producing up-to-date knowledge on cultural and online drivers of emerging threats to inform best practice.

·      Research on ‘Human Sources’ addressing challenges across the lifecycle of human sources of intelligence and supporting the integration of data.

·      Research on ‘Deterrence and Disruption’ providing evidence of ‘what works’ while continuing to develop tools for assessing effects

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