University of Maryland Newsdesk.www.newsdesk.umd.edu
For Immediate Release
UMD's START Gets $3.6 Million To Study Terrorism's Human Causes and Consequences
DHS Renews Support for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - With $3.6 million in new federal funding, researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), based at the University of Maryland, will continue to expand the scientific understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism, specifically addressing crucial homeland security issues, such as terrorist behavior, violent extremism and counterterrorism.
Funding for the new round of research comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, which has renewed START's status as a DHS Center of Excellence, and continued funding support for the next five years. The first installment of the award provides $3.6 million for the center's next 18 months.
Based at the University of Maryland, START researchers from more than 40 institutions worldwide will use the new grant to: explore the social, behavioral and cultural factors that influence violent extremism, including political, financial and religious causes; examine the emergence and operations of domestic terrorists and how they interact with law enforcement strategies, community initiatives and government policies; collect and code terrorist data so that it can be incorporated into behavioral models that can be used in homeland security decision making.
"START is delighted to have this opportunity to continue supplying timely, objective information on the human characteristics of terrorism and its impact on communities to decision makers and policy experts," says Gary LaFree, director of START and professor of criminology at the University of Maryland.
Planned research includes:
Violent Extremism - social, behavioral and cultural factors
Domestic Terrorists - emergence, operations and interactions
Collecting, coding and using data to inform decisions
START began in 2005 as one of the Department of Homeland Security's Centers of Excellence, the first to focus on behavioral and social science. The current funding renewal follows a rigorous, competitive application process.
"Under the leadership of Dr. Gary LaFree, START has been a proactive and productive Center of Excellence that has served DHS well. We look forward to working with START for another five years," says Matthew Clark, director of DHS's Science and Technology Directorate's Office of University Programs.
With this grant, the University of Maryland continues to leverage its founding tradition as a land-grant institution, with a mission to shape research and education through the lens of public service. The new research program will provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with an integrated system, whereby research findings are directly incorporated into policy recommendations and, in turn, public and policy needs drive research explorations and career training for students and practitioners.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is supported in part by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through a Center of Excellence program based at the University of Maryland. START uses state-of-the-art theories, methods and data from the social and behavioral sciences to improve understanding of the origins, dynamics and social and psychological impacts of terrorism.