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EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Related Research Degrees


SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Related Research Degrees

UCL SECReT is the international centre for training in security and crime related research degrees, the first centre of its kind in Europe. UCL SECReT has been set up following a £7m award by the EPSRC and £10m of support from industrial, academic and public sector partners (such as the Home Office, Met Police, British Transport Police, Lockheed Martin, BT plc, BAE Systems, Thales).


Scholarships for 2017 – www.ucl.ac.uk/secret/secret_news/2017-scholarships

The UCL SECReT 4-year programme integrates research, taught elements and transferable professional skills training creating a unique student experience within an internationally recognised centre of excellence. Students undertake: (1) A core programme of taught modules (2) Transferable skills training (3) A programme of security events (4) 3-12 months internship with a partner organisation (5) The PhD thesis.

See: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/secret for full programme details

Come to our OPEN EVENING to find out more:

Date: Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre G22, UCL Pearson Building (North Easton Entrance), University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Find out more about the open evening and register here.

Research Areas

During their PhD, all SECReT students develop an expertise in specific crime and security domains, e.g., cybercrime, terrorism, organised crime, sexual abuse, urban crime, environmental crime, heritage crime, etc. Their research can be classified into three categories as outlined in the box below.

Crime and Security Analysis

How crime events occur and affect complex systems in the physical world or cyberspace. This research focuses on understanding what influence criminals’ decision making, the patterning of crime events in time and space, crime reporting, intelligence analysis and security operations, and directly informs the design of prevention policies and security measures. Students typically come from political science, crime science, psychology, geography, computer science, statistics and mathematics. During their PhD, they develop a strong theoretical knowledge in social/behavioural sciences along with advanced skills for complex systems analysis:

  • Big data analysis
  • Ecological modelling
  • Scripting and process analysis
  • Geographical analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Human error analysis

Design and Technology

The design and evaluation of crime prevention and security measures eg. the emergence of new materials, sensors, and algorithms for security applications. With a focus on technological innovation and a powerful network of external partners, researchers come from physics, chemistry, electronic engineering and computer science:

  • UAVs
  • Radar
  • Chemical sensors
  • X-ray scanners
  • Cyber
  • Ethics and technology

Forensic Science

This research addresses all stages of the forensic science process from the crime scene, to the analysis of evidence, the interpretation of those results and their presentation to a court. The focus of research projects within the forensic sciences broadly fall in two domains, 1) developing our understanding of trace evidence dynamics, and 2) addressing the interpretation of forensic evidence and intelligence. Students come from a range of backgrounds and develop a strong understanding of a particular forensic science domain and theoretical frameworks to enable more robust inference and interpretation of the significance and weight of intelligence and evidence.

Key research areas include:

  • Forensic geoscience (soils, sediments, pollen, diatoms etc.)
  • DNA
  • Fingerprints
  • Trace evidence (Gun Shot Residue, explosives, fibres, paint etc.)
  • Inference and Interpretation (Bayes Nets, Inductive Logic Programming)
  • Cognitive Forensics (decision making, cognitive issues)

Who should apply?

Students applying must have (or expect to achieve) a 2.1 undergraduate degree.

Course Fees

Please visit our website to find out the current course fees.


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