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UMass Lowell to Receive $2M for Terrorism Studies


LOWELL – Researchers from UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) will launch two groundbreaking studies on terrorist behavior after being selected to receive $2 million in grants from the Minerva Initiative.

The Minerva Initiative, a Department of Defense-sponsored, university-based social science research group, announced 12 awards for 2014, with UMass Lowell being the only university selected to receive two.

UMass Lowell professor and CTSS director John Horgan, with his colleague Professor Scott Flower from the University of Melbourne, Australia, were selected to receive a $1.13 million Minerva grant for their project “Understanding American Muslim Converts in the Contexts of Security and Society.”

Horgan and Flower will spearhead a team of international researchers from Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. to examine the role of Muslim converts from the U.S. and explore why they are statistically overrepresented in Islamic extremist activity.

UMass Lowell Professor Mia Bloom’s project mapping the pathways of children’s mobilization into terrorism was selected to receive a $941,169 Minerva grant. The project, “Preventing the Next Generation,” will examine how and why children are increasingly involved in terrorist operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. Bloom will coordinate a major effort teaming local researchers, including Horgan and Dr. Heidi Ellis from Boston Children’s Hospital, with regional partners across multiple sites. The project builds on Bloom and Horgan’s recent trips to Pakistan, during which they saw first-hand the impact of child recruitment into the Pakistani Taliban and its effect on communities across the region.

The Minerva Initiative was launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008 to focus on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. Its goal is to improve the Department of Defense’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.