The winner of the 2021 Peter Troughton Research Staff Prize is Dr Olivia Brown, a Research Associate in the School of Management, Information, Decisions and Operations Division.
The threat of right-wing terrorism is increasing, and the Internet has been shown to play a key role in the spread of ideology and in the preparation of attacks. In light of this, Liv’s research addresses the question “Can we use digital data to better understand and predict extreme right-wing violence”. To address this question, Liv is combining methods from psychology and computational science to examine over 200,000 online posts from three far-right forums. Unique to her approach is the inclusion of data from individuals who have been convicted of a terrorism related offence and those who have not. Doing so will enable her to compare online postings across the groups and identify differences that may be used to infer future risk. She anticipates that findings will be of direct use to law enforcement and security services to help inform effective prioritisation strategies in the monitoring of online material. More broadly, this work represents an important step towards linking online behaviour and offline action.
Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Chair of the Prize Committee, 'The committee was impressed by the standard of research excellence that was evidenced by the nominations into the scheme this year. The breadth of topics made it very clear that our research staff are playing a vital role in advancing understanding right across the University. Identifying a shortlist and ultimately a single awardee was a challenging task but we are confident that Olivia Brown is a most worthy and excellent recipient. I’d like to congratulate Olivia, but also those others shortlisted and nominated, on the quality of their research, and thank them for their contribution to research at the University'.
After receiving the award, Liv said 'Working on this project has been the highlight of my career and I am very proud of the research that’s been done and the impact it will have. I’d like to thank my colleagues for supporting my development as a researcher, as well as Peter Troughton and the Committee for this great honour and for recognising the value of our work'.
The Peter Troughton Research Staff Prize is awarded on behalf of Senate by the Peter Troughton Research Staff Prize Committee to a postdoctoral member of research staff for outstanding performance in their duties, recognising the important contribution that research staff make to the University. Sponsor of the award Peter Troughton said 'Dr Olivia Brown is a worthy winner in a very strong field indeed, all of whose presentations point up the University of Bath's rich depth of research'.