Department of Social & Policy Sciences

New ESRC grant awarded for terrorism expertise study

Fri May 25 17:41:00 BST 2012

Prof David Miller has been awarded a Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with a grant of around £400,000.

Research supported by the Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship will allow an empirically informed and critical assessment of the production and communication of expertise on terrorism. A series of knowledge exchange and ‘leadership’ activities will help to exchange knowledge with policy makers, civil society, the media and the general public.

The research will provide an empirically grounded evidence base that can better inform public debate and policy decisions, particularly where the latter apply to the development of government strategies of 'counter-terrorism'.

The project will begin in September 2012, and will last for 31 months.

The study will explore:

  1. Which people and institutions are designated as 'experts' in a variety of arenas.
  2. The scientific/academic, journalistic, legal, political and ideological qualifications and experience of the most prominent individuals and institutions; and the organizational, institutional, professional and financial arrangements that underpin them.
  3. How expertise in terrorism impacts on the various arenas in which it has a role; such as in government policy, scientific/academic debate, the world of the think tank and institute, the mass media, legal processes and in the public realm more generally.

Tom Mills, currently a PhD student in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, will work alongside Prof Miller as a researcher, to develop their existing widely cited collaborative research on terrorism experts.

The project is one of around ten awarded in the Global Uncertainties programme an interdisciplinary initiative under the umbrella of Research Councils UK. The work forms part of a growing cluster of researchers at the University of Bath focusing on issues of security, terrorism and political violence in the wider context of work on governance and policy design, which it is hoped this project can help to develop.