Policy & Research

Women and ISIS Research

As part of our Women and Extremism (WaE) programme, ISD manages a female migrant database run in partnership with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). This database has been expanding in breadth and depth since May 2014 and is considered the largest database on Western females joining ISIS.

The database tracks and archives social media material on over 100 female profiles across online platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Ask. fm, Kik and blog accounts and are all deemed to be Western female migrants disseminating messages, giving a unique lens into the daily lives of foreign women living in the so-called Islamic State. In order to grow and retain this sample of females within the database, researchers used a ‘snowball’ technique, where female ISIS migrants are identified among the networks of other known ISIS members. Women within this database are identified as coming from fifteen different countries, operating online primarily in English to disseminate propaganda.

Countering Lone Actor Terrorism

The Countering Lone Actor Terrorism (CLAT) initiative aims to improve the understanding of the profiles of lone-wolf terrorists in Europe. ISD has partnered with a consortium of leading research institutes, including Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institutes (RUSI) and the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University to collect all plots of ‘lone-wolf’ terrorism in Europe.

The initiative creates the first open-source database of ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist plots in the European Union; analyses profiles of perpetrators to inform future policy development; and trains frontline practitioners in countering the threat of potentially violent lone individuals. The Netherlands National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV); and the UK Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) are associate partners on the project.

Non-ISIS Foreign Fighters

ISD has developed the largest known database of anti-ISIS foreign fighters in the world, capturing information on hundreds of fighters from across groups and geographies.

Policy Planners Network

The Policy Planners Network on Countering Radicalisation and Polarisation (PPN) is an intergovernmental network that aims to improve policy and practice to counter extremism and radicalisation. Set up in 2008 and facilitated by ISD, the PPN works to upgrade and coordinate strategies of its members by streamlining and systematising the sharing of information on government approaches to countering extremism.

The PPN Network includes representation from 12 government agencies from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Norway and Victoria State (Australia). The network also cooperates with the European Commission and the Counter-terrorism Coordinator (CTC) at the Council of the EU.