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Neil Shortland

Neil Shortland, M.Sc. Program Manager, Center for Terrorism and Security Studies; Lecturer, School of Criminology and Justice Studies


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

Research Interest

Neil’s primary research interest is terrorist behavior, 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 Project Manager at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies and a PhD Student at the University of Liverpool’s Center for Critical and Major Incident Psychology. He conducts research on all aspects of national security including; terrorist behavior, military operations and adaptation and high-stakes decision making. His most recent work involved collecting and analyzing data on the number of civilians killed and injured by coalition and insurgent forces in Afghanistan. This work was published as part of a special feature in the journal Science. His PhD thesis focusses on how “least-worst” decisions are made in conflict situations, that is, how people navigate situations in which all outcomes are averse and potentially high risk. As part of a collaboration with the HEROES lab at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers) his research analyzes least-worst decisions at the organizational, small team and individual level using research methods from cognitive and neuro-psychology.