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Terrorism‑focused research at Dalhousie receives funding

Posted by Faculty of Management on March 6, 2013 in Research, News

A research proposal titled Understanding and responding to terrorist threats to critical infrastructure has received $104,000 over three years from the Government of Canada’s Kanishka Project. Professor Kevin Quigley, Director of the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management, will be the lead investigator for the research project.

The Kanishka Project is named after the Air India Flight 182 plane that was bombed on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people, most of them Canadians.

The project will examine how owners and operators of critical infrastructure understand terrorist threats, what issues influence the manner in which they respond, how they manage threats related to distinct but interdependent infrastructure sectors, and what lessons can be drawn in terms of resilience and cooperation. The approach pays particular attention to differences between complex regular risks (such as recurring natural disasters) and uncertain, potentially catastrophic risks (such as terrorism or rare and unpredictable natural disasters).

The project builds on a previous SSHRC-funded research project which interviewed owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and which suggests critical infrastructure sectors focus much more on complex regular risks. This project proposes to conduct new interviews and further analyze data from the previous research, to explore how owners and operators understand and manage uncertain risks, looking at terrorism in particular, and how these processes can be improved. The sectors to be examined are transport (marine, air and surface), agriculture, and dangerous chemicals.

Government of Canada News Release:

Ottawa, February 28, 2013 — The Honourable Vic Toews, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, today announced the successful recipients of the second round of funding, worth over $700,000, awarded under the Kanishka Project, a multi-year investment in terrorism-focused research.

“The Government remains unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians against terrorism and violent extremism. The Kanishka Project complements our efforts to build the resilience of our communities against the threats we face today,” said Minister Toews. “Research supported by the Kanishka Project will not only expand our knowledge of terrorism, conflict and security, but will also help to inform the creation of concrete tools for those on the front lines.”

The five projects receiving funding under this second round stand to provide valuable contributions towards improving our understanding of terrorism. These projects will look at a range of issues, including threats to critical infrastructure, measuring online reactions to crises, cultural competency training as a response to radicalization leading to violence, right wing extremism in Canada, and online recruitment by terrorist and extremist organizations.

On June 23, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the Kanishka Project, an initiative which will invest in research on pressing questions for Canada on terrorism and counter-terrorism, such as preventing and countering violent extremism. The Kanishka Project is named after the Air India Flight 182 plane that was bombed on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people, most of them Canadians. The Harper Government has committed a total of $10 million over five years to the Project as a way to honour the memory of the victims.

Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy sets out how the Government as a whole organizes its efforts to prevent, detect, deny and respond to the threat of terrorism, and provides a framework to guide future efforts. The success of the Strategy relies on strong partnerships with experts in different fields, including the academic community. In support of the Government of Canada’s efforts under the element of the Strategy that seeks to prevent individuals from engaging in terrorism, the Kanishka Project strives to create a vibrant network of scholars that will inform more effective policies for preventing and countering terrorism.