Criminology lecturer wins prestigious Fulbright Award to analyse social media use by far-right groups

Dr Lella Nouri, a Lecturer of Criminology at Swansea University’s College of Law and Criminology, has received a Fulbright Award to enable her to further her work on analysing the use of social media by extreme far-right groups across the US and UK.

Dr Nouri has been awarded a Cyber Security Scholar Award by the Fulbright Commission to spend six months at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At the Orfalae Center, she will be analysing the use of social media by extreme far-right groups across the US and UK, examining the processes by which online communities are constructed and maintained. The purpose of this is to align academic research to the needs of practitioners in this understudied area of research. As such, she will be identifying key messages and communicative devices to reveal how the different profile types interact and which users are most influential. 

Dr Lella Nouri

Dr Nouri’s background is interdisciplinary in nature; she studied for her PhD in Politics and her MA in International Relations. Her recent research has focused on the growing use of the internet by far-right extremist groups; currently she is leading an interdisciplinary team examining extreme far-right groups’ usage and influence on popular social media sites.

Commenting on receiving the Award, Dr Nouri said: “I am very excited to have been selected for a Fulbright Cyber Security Scholar Award 2017/ 2018. The work undertaken during the six months will help advance my research project on far-right extremist use of social media and will provide insight into an understudied research area. I hope that I will be able to disseminate these findings in the US as well as bring back what I have learnt to Wales to help local practitioners working on counter-extremism”.

The Fulbright Commission provides the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship programme, offering Awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK university.

The Commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to the UK upon returning.

Typical grants include a maintenance allowance and/or a contribution towards tuition fees. Fulbright scholars receive administrative support and a cultural education programme including: visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in the USA, a re-entry session and access to a global alumni network.

Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission, said: “The impact of the Fulbright programme can change the world. Our Fulbrighters will return to the UK having been exposed to different cultures, value systems and schools of thought. They will have the capacity to be more empathetic global citizens and be better prepared for collaboration across borders, between the US and the UK, and beyond.”