Researcher & Consultant
I am an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and a postgraduate researcher at the University of Oxford examining Jihadist-Salafist and Far-Right Extremism. Outside of this, I am Assistant Editor of the Perspectives on Terrorism academic journal, an Associate Researcher with the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, and a Fellow with the Aspen Institute. I previously served as a Policy Advisor to the Government of Canada and as a researcher with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Genocide Prevention. I am a Associate Member of Chatham House and was named as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. I frequently consult and collaborate on joint projects to better understand and address how technology shapes extremism, terrorism & disinformation.
Jihadist Governance Database (JGD)
The Jihadist Governance Database (JGD) is a repository of historical documents relating to rebel governance by Jihadist-Salafist extremist groups who control territory and exert influence over civilians. The development of Jihadist governed 'proto-states' represents on the most important strategic developments in the history of extremism and more research is needed to measure, analyse, and respond to it. The database includes thousands of text, audio, image, and video files relating to rebel governance by Jihadist-Salafist groups and is updated biannually to include contemporary and future instances. The database includes data on Jihadist proto-states from West Africa (AQIM/JNIM), the Middle East (Nusra/HTS, ISIL/Daesh), and Central Asia (Afghan Taliban) from 2011 onwards, drawn primarily from social media and encrypted messaging platforms. Diverse aspects of Jihadist Governance — including taxation, education, legal courts, municipal infrastructure, ministries and bureaucratic organisation, economic trade, state-owned enterprises, utilities (electricity, water, sanitation), and defence — are captured by the database. Jihadist Governance represents an important phenomenon and the records of groups engaging in this form of statecraft should be preserved for future research and analysis, however given the sensitivity of some documents the JGD limits access. There is no cost to access the Jihadist Governance Database (JGD) but researchers and other users must submit a Database Access Form along with their details to gain accreditation. All users of the JGD confirm they will not replicate or share the JGD to those without a university affiliation or any group in question. Inclusion of new material is added as new groups emerge and previous groups dissolve or merge.
*Independent researchers do not necessarily require an academic or think-tank affiliation to view the database but should have extensive experience in this field and a well-defined research project.
Non-State Actors Trajectories Database (NSATD)
The Non-State Actors Trajectories Database (NSATD) is an open-source and free-to-use repository of historical and contemporary information about the relative strength of major armed rebel groups in the Syrian Civil War (including ISIS / Daesh, Nusra Front / Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Hurras al-Din). While the Syrian Civil War is one of the most important and closely studied conflicts, analysis of it has been limited by a lack of comprehensive comparative data about the combatants active in each major armed rebel group or coalition. Despite the need for this data, it is lacking from all of the existing databases surveyed, including the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), and the Stanford Mapping Militants Program (MMP). Combining data from local and international news-media, United Nations (UN) reports, and academic databases, the NSATD triangulates the available sources to track the relative strength of each major group in Syria from 2011-2022. Where data for an existing group or coalition is unavailable the NSATD, uses adjacent information and historical context to provide an informed estimate. Data collection in conflict zones is perennially complicated and limited by the inherent challenges associated with data collection, but the NSATD attempts to mitigate these gaps in our knowledge by leverage all available information to provide comprehensive predicted values for years when documented numbers are missing. As with any estimates of combatant numbers, even from governmental sources, the NSATD data is approximate. Support from the research community in identifying new details or sources of data on combatant strength is welcomed and encouraged as the project grows. While hundreds of small groups were initially active in the conflict, many of these merged or were consolidated into the larger non-state groups and coalitions that NSATD focusses on. Additional, smaller groups and regions (including outside Syria) are expected to be added in the future. Graphs and charts are presented alongside the data to help researchers visualise the data and highlight emergent trends within the the conflict. For more information, please visit the NSATD website.
Far-Right Accelerationism Research Database (ARD)
The Far-Right Accelerationism Research Database (ARD) is new repository of documents relating to the Accelerationist Movement in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Accelerationism, a subset of the wider Far-Right Extremist ecosystem, seek to destabilise democratic countries through targeted terrorist attacks, infrastructure attacks, and cyber-attacks (including disinformation and misinformation campaigns designed to stoke social, ethnic, and economic unrest). The strategic logic behind this Accelerationist political violence is to obstruct and destroy the current democratic systems in countries they are active in to create fertile ground for their vision of a new political system based on racially and ethnically motivated terrorism. The online behaviour of Accelerationist networks is constantly evolving and the markers of affiliation and belonging used by these groups can often be subtle and hard to detect, leading to loopholes employed by extremists as they seek to evade detection on major social media platforms. Given the increasingly post-organisational nature of Far-Right Accelerationist extremism in particular, the Accelerationism Research Database is an important repository of information of the secondary indicators (including symbols, language, images, literature, and design) that frequently feature in their propaganda outputs. There is no cost to access the Accelerationism Research Database (ARD) but researchers and other users must submit a Database Access Form along with their details to gain accreditation. All users of the ARD confirm they will not replicate or share the ARD to those without a university affiliation or any group in question.