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).

Dr. Richard McNeil-Willson
Leiden University
Senior Researcher
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