Neil Shortland

Neil Shortland, Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, Criminal Justice

Senior Research Associate
HSSB 433


Terrorism, Security, malevolent creativity & innovation, decision-making.

Research Interest

Neil’s primary research interest is terrorist behaviour, and specifically how this can be used to inform the counter-terrorism, both at the policy level and at the investigative level. He is also interested in socio-psychological factors of military operations and problems currently faced by deployed forces.

Educational Background

Neil Shortland received his M.Sc. in Investigative and Forensic Psychology from the University of Liverpool. He completed an applied dissertation with Kent Public Protection Crime Unit and graduated with distinction. Prior to this Neil graduated with a first class undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Bristol. 

Neil is currently undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Liverpool, his thesis is focused on Military decision making. 


Neil Shortland is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) at Umass Lowell. He works alongside Professor John Horgan and Professor James Forest to develop and perform research relevant to national security and counter terrorism. Neil also teaches the undergraduate course for International and domestic terrorism. His research involves terrorist disengagement and emerging issues in counter-terrorism such as insider threat and the implications of cyberspace for terrorist behaviour and radicalization. He has previously served as a subject matter expert to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence on malevolent creativity and innovation, and made numerous media appearances in response to the Boston Bombings and the foiled Al-Qaeda plot to de-rail trains in Canada.

Alongside his role as Senior Research Associate, Neil is also leading the development of the Terrorist Research Initiative’s United States network of post-graduate scholars working on their PhD theses in counter-terrorism, terrorism, political violence, security and armed conflict. The goal of which is to facilitate the discussion of emerging trends and recent research amongst PhD students and early-career researchers. 

Prior to his role at CTSS Neil worked as a social scientist for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Dstl is an executive agency for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence. Here Neil performed research functions to support UK Government responses to the problem of terrorism as well as applied research to support UK armed forces operations abroad. 

Selected Publications: 

Neil has published numerous classified reports pertaining to terrorist behavior, military operations and military training as part of his role at UK MoD.