Counter Terrorism and Protecting Crowded Places

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus Tuition Fees

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 22nd June 2020

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2020


Protecting crowded places has been a mainstream policy consideration over the last 10 years in response to the significant and impactful terrorist attacks that have occurred and the change that has been experienced in terrorist threat levels. Given the potential challenges that law enforcement and military face when preparing for and responding to attacks and the likelihood that crowded places will continue to attract such attacks, we seek proposals that focus on innovative methods for understanding, countering and/or mitigating the threat that crowded places face from terrorism. Potential proposals could include:

  • An understanding of the impact of counterterrorism protective security measures on societal behaviour
  • Innovative approaches to financing counterterrorism protective security measures in private sector crowded places
  • Novel methods for enhancing situational awareness for those responding to incidents in crowded places (could be through new methods for surveillance or new data for enhancing knowledge of law enforcement and military about specific crowded places)
  • Understanding how new methods for enhancing situational awareness may enhance or challenge the decision making of first responders and/or change their behaviour

This list of potential projects is not exhaustive and we are also open to other proposals as long as they focus on developing new methods for understanding, countering and/or mitigating the threat that crowded places face from terrorism.

We invite PhD proposals that fit into the theme outlined above, that challenge existing ideas in any of these areas and expand current thinking, offering original insights and approaches by undertaking significant and rigorous research.

The supervision team will be Professor David McIlhatton, Professor Rachel Monaghan and Professor Gavin Sullivan.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
    the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


A Masters’ degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience would be desirable.

How to apply

Candidates are encouraged to discuss their research proposal with a potential supervisor before submitting a formal application. Contact details for individual staff members can be found through the Centre’s Research Groups links.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Apply to Coventry University