Testing a dynamic model of radicalisation in individual and society

   School of Social Sciences

   Tuesday, October 31, 2023  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The project seeks to address radicalisation, an important societal issue which undermines public safety, wellbeing, and the effective functioning of a society. It proposes to develop a new model that integrates social psychological theory and computational approaches to social issues. From the perspective of a PhD student, the project provides training on building theory-driven models to provide solutions to pressing problems in society, and on testing these models using cutting-edge methodologies.

 This project is driven by the overarching question of ‘what are the structural dynamics and psychological processes underpinning radicalisation in a divided world dominated by online communication?’. To address this question, the project will develop and test a model seeking to explain both (micro) processes at the level of the individual and (macro) dynamics at the level of society - jointly leading to the formation of radical cells online and offline. Radical cells are highly cohesive sub-groups of individuals who share extreme beliefs about social reality and seek to change the society according to their beliefs (including by means of political violence). The model stems from an integration of a) theorising from social psychology, where radicalisation is seen as a group process leading to group members’ support for extreme collective action, and b) computational approaches from applied data science, where radicalisation is seen as intense clustering of extreme beliefs in a society. The methods that will be used for the project include analyses of big data from online extremist communities, survey studies and online experiments.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Ana-Maria Bliuc ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/study/international/country/.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in reading, listening and speaking). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/guides/english-language-requirements.


Step 1: Email Dr Ana-Maria Bliuc () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Bliuc, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

 Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Psychology on our direct application system :

Psychology research degrees | University of Dundee

This project is suitable for the three-year route or the four-year route as agreed with the lead supervisor. Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

 In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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