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UCL SECReT is the new training centre for security and crime related research. UCL SECReT has been set up in 2009 following a £7m cash grant award by the EPSRC (the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and £10m of cash and in-kind support from industrial, academic and public sector partners to establish Europe’s largest centre for doctoral training in security science. The centre is a world-class interdisciplinary centre applying the latest techniques in a variety of disciplines to problems in the crime and security domain.

The centre has been set up to promote the new national standard in PhD training: the four-year degree programme.

Security science

Crime and terrorism are constantly evolving threats. National infrastructures such as transport, power and communications need to remain protected, and identity theft and credit card fraud continue to have a devastating impact on everyday life. UCL SECReT will produce the next generation of security scientists who will be ready for these challenges.

“UCL’s Security Science DTC will train and shape a generation of thought leaders in integrated and socially sensitive security; this will encompass not only future academics but also the policy makers and industrialists with whom they interact during and after their training. We aim to transform the way security is done.”

Professor Gloria Laycock OBE, former UCL SECReT Director

Research areas

SECReT has a broad research remit and the following list is not exhaustive. Before applying you must identify at least two academics at UCL who would be a suitable reviewer for your application. To improve your chances of being interviewed, we recommend that you identify some academics who carry out research in your field of interest.

To obtain a list of academics covering your areas of interest, click on the links in the bottom half of this page, or alternatively search individual departmental websites.

Please contact relevant academics directly by email or by phone in the first instance, and please bear in mind they are usually busy people!

UCL SECReT supports research in the below areas. This list is not exhaustive so please contact us if you are not sure whether your proposed research will be covered by our centre:


  • Information security and ICT: Computer and network security, cryptography, digital intellectual property, wireless sensor networks, cyber security, cyber terrorism


  • Forensic sciences: Forensic chemistry, soil forensics, electronic forensics, multimedia forensics, evidence, digital forensics
  • Language: Linguistics, speech, hearing, and phonetics sciences



  • Socio-human studies: Radicalisation, pathways into crime and terrorism, sociology of deviance and crime control

A new national standard

In December 2008, EPSRC, the largest research council in the UK, provided £250m of funding to establish 40 new doctoral training centres in the UK. All of these centres will promote the new vision for research degrees that RCUK (Research Councils UK) has agreed to implement following extensive study of the best doctoral training programmes around the world.

The core of this vision lies in promoting a new four-year PhD format for students taking research degrees in the UK.

The four-year format represents a leap forward for the international credibility of UK doctorates which have usually been three-year programmes, at least a year less than many other countries.

The four-year format also permits students to explore their research domain before settling on a thesis topic. This ensures both a more rewarding experience for the student and a more focused piece of research.

University College London

UCL is consistently ranked as one of the world's best universities. As one of Europe's largest multi-faculty universities and recognised as one of the best applied research facilities in the world, UCL has the academic resources to provide a terrific training environment for researchers aiming to achieve genuine excellence in their chosen field of crime or security research.

With over 20 departments from across UCL (the majority nationally rated in the top tier of their discipline in the recent UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2009)) involved in this new training centre, a truly interdisciplinary community has been catalysed at the university to create a unique experience for our students.

Management team

Name Role Tel UCL ext
Prof Richard Wortley
Director +44(0)20 3108 3112 53206
Dr Hervé Borrion
Deputy Director
+44(0)20 3108 3194 53194
Mr Vaseem Khan
Commercial Director
+44(0)20 3108 3039 53039
Ms Amy Clemens
+44(0)20 3108 3046 53046