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Thesis title

Modelling Spatial Dynamics of Lethal Terrorism

Supervisors: Dr Janine Illian (School of Mathematics and Statistics) and Dr Javier Argomaniz (CSTPV)


The objective of my research is to systematically examine fine-scale spatial dynamics of lethal terrorism across the world, including hotspot, diffusion and escalation processes. Spatio-temporal point process models combined with computationally efficient approaches are used to accurately quantify uncertainty and therefore give valuable insight into the spatial dynamics of lethal terrorism. My approach highlights the spatial and temporal patterns and underlying factors involved in the process of terrorist attack across the world at high spatial resolution [illustration below: probability of lethal terrorist attack 2002–2013]. The models provide a genuine decision-support tool intended to help urban officials and emergency managers to prevent terrorist attacks. Additionally, the models combined with observed data are used to assess current theories of diffusion of terrorism on a local scale.

Study area: World

Methods: Space-Time Point Processes, Stochastic Partial Differential Equation (SPDE), Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation in R (R-INLA)

Software programs: R, ArcGIS


André holds a BSc and an MSc from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In 2013, he received a Certificate in Terrorism Studies from the University of St Andrews, UK. Andre has previous experience as a research fellow at HEC, University of Lausanne, Switzerland and visiting fellow at Imperial College London, UK.