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Terrorism Studies: Part Funded PhD Scholarship: Online Radicalisation - evaluating whether the increased interactivity offered by social media has led to the Internet playing a greater role in radicalisation than previously thought.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S MacDonald
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The College of Law and Criminology, Swansea University, and the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism (CTC), Leiden University, are seeking applicants for a part-funded PhD studentship in Terrorism Studies.

During the candidature, the successful applicant will spend time studying at both the College of Law & Criminology and at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism.

Terrorist organisations have identified recruitment as one of their top priorities online. This is unsurprising, since the Internet has a number of advantages as a recruitment tool. It has a global reach, can act as an echo chamber and desensitise individuals to violence, and allows individuals to seek out groups they sympathise with. Concerns about online recruitment have been further exacerbated by media reports of radicalised individuals as well as the number of foreign fighters travelling to Syria and Iraq (a recent UN report estimates that there are over 25,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries). In spite of these concerns, the vast majority of radicalisation research focuses on the offline realm, as a result of which there is limited understanding of the dynamics involved in radicalisation online. What little research there is on online radicalisation has claimed that the Internet plays only a facilitative role. The key interactions, it is claimed, occur offline. However, this research is already dated, with most of it predating the rapid growth in social media usage. Utilising a case study methodology, the proposed PhD will therefore: (1) evaluate whether the increased interactivity offered by social media has led to the Internet playing a greater role in radicalisation than previously thought; and, (2) if so, investigate the process(es) by which individuals are radicalised online.

The academic supervisors for the project will be: Dr Stuart Macdonald (; Mrs Lella Nouri-Bennett (; Prof Edwin Bakker (; and Mr Sergei Boeke (

The successful applicant will join a vibrant community of researchers, and will be encouraged to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary cyberterrorism research project (

The successful candidate is expected to commence their studies on 1st October 2016.


Candidates should have a Masters degree that is recognised by both Swansea University and Leiden University. Applicants from all disciplines will be considered.

Knowledge and/or experience of Terrorism Studies is highly desirable. A fluency in English is required.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual tax free stipend of 50% of the RCUK stipend amount (RCUK stipend currently worth £14,057 in 2015/16. 2016/17 value to be confirmed). The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to apply for additional funding from Leiden University throughout the duration of their candidature.

There will also be an additional £550 per annum available for research expenses.

How good is research at Swansea University in Law?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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