Research Focus

Our research design acknowledges that the literature (whether academic or practitioner-based) on violent extremism is vast, richly populated and broadly conceived. The purpose of GNET is not to replicate this. Whilst we build on this body of work, the goal of GNET is to empower experts to probe and explore contentious issues of broad social relevance as they relate to violent extremist behaviours and technology. To be clear, GNET is only concerned with violent extremist behaviours and not with ‘extremism’ per se. Our objective is to produce actionable outcomes based on rigorous evidence-based research and robust academic methods.

Our research agenda is focused around the following overarching question:

How do online violent extremist behaviours and content relate to offline, real-world harms, and how do mitigation activities responding to those behaviours and content interact with normative social concerns including freedom of expression and conscience, privacy, and human rights?

Our policy-focused research design means that the overarching question will be interrogated through six broadly intersectional fields of inquiry. These are:


The nexus between online behaviours and offline harms


Balancing user privacy, state security and human rights


Emergent and/or less intensively studied forms of violent extremism


Optimising academic-practitioner cooperation and data-sharing


File-sharing and communication platform migration


Exploring and explaining the limitations of algorithmic measures