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Modelling radicalisation and extremist cell formation

Primary supervisor

John Betts


  • David Green
  • Dr Ana-Maria Bliuc, University of Dundee (Scotland)

In multicultural societies diversity is a valuable asset. However, diversity faces critical challenges from extremism: the adoption of radical beliefs that are rejected by the mainstream.

This project aims to develop a model to explain the way in which conflicting beliefs divide societies into extremes, ultimately leading to the formation of ideology-based clusters, such as terrorist cells. These can occur in real world and online settings.

The project will use complex systems modelling to implement theoretical models of social interaction drawn from social psychological theory. By modelling these processes in computer simulations and comparing these results with real-world situations, our goal is to identify the factors and conditions that lead to societal fragmentation and radical cell formation.

Required knowledge

Good programming skills in any modern programming language. Data science skills, including NLP.

Some modelling and simulation experience (especially agent-based, or complex systems models) would be advantageous, as would an interest in social psychology and global issues.

Learn more about minimum entry requirements.