UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Sneha Dawda - Research Assistant

I recently started working at STEaPP as a Research Assistant on a project led by Professor Madeline Carr, working alongside Dr Alex Chung on delivering a map of the UK cybersecurity policy community. The focus of the ECSEPA project is really understanding why policy makers formulate cybersecurity policy in the way they do. When we think about what the project is unearthing, it quickly becomes apparent we have to define what the cybersecurity policy landscape actually looks like in the first place. The mapping project, the focus of my research, is doing exactly this.

By using innovative software and visual graphics I've been creating the map of the UK cybersecurity policy community, consulting policymakers and academics on the accuracy, utility, and core concept. Two months into the map, it's definitely as complex and mind-boggling as you can imagine! However, the genuinely exciting aspect of this project is the potential to facilitate more efficient collaboration across Government and bring cybersecurity policymaking to an audience as an invaluable visual tool.

My background in research and education made this project a perfect fit for my interests, and it helps that I get to talk to some incredible people working in and outside of government. I have a BScEcon(Hons) in International Politics from Aberystwyth University and an MA in Global Security from the University of Sheffield. Whilst both my degrees sound broad, my desire to shape my research towards cyber politics is reflected in both of my theses.

For my Bachelor's thesis, I wrote on the Foucauldian construction of the US Surveillance State using the Edward Snowden's revelations as the catalyst for the privacy versus security debate. At Master's level, I wrote a genealogy of the internet to highlight the militaristic undertones it was created in that are currently shaping our concepts of warfare and espionage today. My areas of cyber politics research are embedded in securitisation, militarisation, warfare, and espionage. In the future, I hope to continue my research in cybersecurity and pursue the constant challenges that cyberspace is presenting to Government and society.