Professor Maura Conway starts her new position as part of the recent £5.6million investment into the School’s Legal Innovation Lab Wales.
Professor Conway is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on terrorists’ online activities, and is the co-ordinator of the EU’s flagship academic network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of violent online political extremism; VOX-Pol.
Her principal research interests are in the area of terrorism and the Internet, including cyberterrorism, the functioning and effectiveness of violent political extremist online content, including terrorists’ use of social media, and violent online radicalisation.
She has authored over 40 articles and chapters in her areas of expertise, and has presented her findings before the United Nations in New York, the Commission of the European Union in Brussels, and the UK House of Lords. She is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Europol’s Counter-terrorism Centre and a member of the Editorial Board of the flagship academic journal Terrorism and Political Violence.
Maura’s appointment will aid the Legal Innovation Lab in achieving its main objectives. The Lab is backed by funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, and is a unique research and innovation facility. Its main objectives are to create:
• A cyber-threats research suite, with data research laboratories that support collaboration with key partners
• A “Legal AI” laboratory where researchers in Law and Computer Science can develop, test and apply new techniques in artificial intelligence, machine learning, legal design and natural language processing
• A Legal Innovation Centre where law firms and technology companies can develop innovative products and services.
• A Law Clinic where LegalTech innovation and collaboration can be piloted, leading to the deployment of applications and platforms that support access to justice.
Professor Conway will also build on the work of the Law School’s Cyber Threats Research Centre (CYTREC), which has an international reputation for its applied research on cyberterrorism and terrorists’ use of the internet.
Speaking on Professor Conway’s appointment, Professor Stuart Macdonald, Director of the Cyber Threats Research Centre said: “For many years now Professor Conway’s work has led the way in advancing understanding of terrorists’ online activities and carefully considering and assessing legislative and policy responses. As Co-ordinator of the VOX-Pol network, she has also been influential in mentoring early career researchers and establishing links between academia and policymakers and practitioners. We are delighted to welcome her to the School of Law”.
On joining the School of Law, Professor Conway said: “I have worked closely for almost a decade with Swansea colleagues, initially on the Cyberterrorism Project and later the TASM (Terrorism and Social Media) Conference and other initiatives. I’m therefore incredibly pleased to be formalising my relationship with Swansea University and greatly look forward to contributing to the work of the Legal Innovation Lab and CYTREC.”
Prof. Conway’s Swansea University post will be held conjointly with her post in the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University.