Dr. Richard McNeil-Willson

Richard McNeil-Willson is an Alwaleed Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and a senior researcher on the Drive project. He was a postdoctoral researcher in the field of terrorism and political violence at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), Leiden University. He was formerly based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence (Italy), as a Max Weber Fellow (2021–2022) and Research Associate (2019–2021) and holds a PhD from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (UK). His work critically analyses the interplay between groups labelled "extremist" and counter-extremism legislation and the tensions between counterterrorism, human rights, and state violence in Europe. As well as working on the European Commission H2020-funded DRIVE project, Richard has also been Main Researcher for the H2020-funded Building Resilience against Violent Extremism and Polarisation (BRaVE) project, and Project Co-instigator for the Erasmus+ project Counterterrorism and Safeguarding in response to Islamic State (CASIS). He has also conducted research for the European Commission on several project-based collaborations between EU Member States. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter (UK), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (2019), additional degrees from the universities of Edinburgh, Durham, and Exeter (UK), and visiting fellowships from the universities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy).

Iris B. Segers was a researcher on the DRIVE project until March 2023. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Gender Research (STK) and the Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. She acquired her PhD in media and communication at the University of Oslo in 2020. In her PhD dissertation, she explores the role of local contextual drivers and practises of storytelling in mobilising asylum seekers in diverse urban spaces. The research outputs of her PhD have been published in the book Mobilisation against Asylum Seekers in Contemporary Urban Spaces, which is part of the Routledge Mobilisation Series on Social Movements, Protest, and Culture. Iris’ work combines research methods such as interviews and quantitative and qualitative analyses of digital media and explores far-right mobilisation through a variety of theoretical perspectives from the fields of media studies, sociology, gender studies, and political science.

Dr. Eolene Boyd-Macillan, PhD, is a social psychologist working within the framework of public mental health promotion to develop and test community-based interventions that increase self-regulation, resilience and social cohesion and reduce destructive social polarisation and inequalities. She is Senior Research Associate and Co-Director of IC Research, Cambridge Public Health, University of Cambridge. Her research includes populations living with legacies associated with historic migration events alongside opportunities and challenges linked to current migration and displacement due to political, economic and environmental crises. She is a lead expert on the EC Efus BRIDGE project seeking to address destructive social polarisation across thirteen municipalities in seven countries and supervisor of a new intervention for young people and those working with them in Sweden. She co-founded the IC-ADAPT Consortium with Prof Valerie DeMarinis, Dr Maria Nordendahl, Prof Derrick Silove, Dr Alvin Tay, hosted by Cambridge. Integrating two evidence-based models, IC-ADAPT bridges individuals/ family groups and structures/ systems through a community focus.

Dr. Maria Nordendahl, MD, PhD is a medical doctor practitioner with a specialty in general and family medicine. She is also a Senior Lecturer in general and family medicine and cultural issues in diagnoses and treatment at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine/ Med School, Umeå University, Sweden. She conducts clinical work at the Primary Health Care Centre, which has a specialised migrants’ care section. Together with Prof. Valerie DeMarinis and Dr. Eolene Boyd-MacMillan, she shares an interest in Public Mental Health Promotion and research related to this area, working in different research and clinical contexts to promote the integration of Mental Health into Public Health. In addition to considering the interaction of psychosocial and biomedical risk factors, Dr Nordendahl is active nationally in formulating primary care’s role for both identifying mental health aspects of, and coordinating resources for, addressing radicalisation and extremism. As a member of the Public Mental Health Team of Umeå and Cambridge, her contributions to the EC H2020 project DRIVE research project include investigating and targeting characteristics, behaviors, and processes present in individuals and groups within radicalisation and extremist contexts.

Prof Valerie DeMarinis, PhD (psychology) is Senior Professor in Public Mental Health at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University, Sweden; Professor of Public Mental Health Promotion at Innlandet Hospital Trust, Norway; and Emeritus Professor in Psychology of Religion and Cultural Psychology at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research areas include refugee mental health, cultural information in treatment, public mental health and violent extremism. Recent/current research programs include: Director of the Wellbeing and Health section of the nationally-funded IMPACT research programme/Centre of Excellence at Uppsala University; Primary Mental Health Analyst for the EU- Horizon 2020 project RESPOND: Governance of Migration; and, PI for both Swedish and Norwegian projects on medical communication efficacy of the Cultural Formulation Interview (DSM-5). Her applied research and clinical work includes a focus on radicalisation and preventing violent extremism as a public mental health concern, including with young people who have been involved with either white-power extremism or Islamist extremism.

Lianne Vostermans is a senior researcher in the field of terrorism and political violence, currently Senior Advisor at OpenHorizon and a senior researcher on the Drive project. Her research focuses on (violent) social and political mobilisation, paying particular attention to the interplay between emotions, identity, ideology, religion, organisational networks, and opportunity structures. Lianne has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, collecting, amongst others, the testimonies of militants. At Leiden University, Lianne works on the European Commission H2020-funded project DRIVE, looking at the dynamics behind the reciprocal radicalisation between Islamist and right-wing extremist movements in North-Western Europe.

Lianne obtained her PhD from the Durham Global Security Institute at Durham University (with an ESRC scholarship), holds a MSc in Defence, Development and Diplomacy at Durham University, a PCG in the Psychology of Religion at Cambridge University, and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Utrecht. Previously, Lianne was an affiliate at King’s College London.

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