Dr Levi West wins top terrorism research award

VU alumni Dr Levi West has been awarded the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) Best Doctoral Dissertation on Terrorism and Counterterrorism.
Monday 2 October 2023

Victoria University (VU) alumni Dr Levi West has been awarded the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) Best Doctoral Dissertation on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, for his thesis: Violent Propaganda: Violence, Communication and Technology—The Strategic Logic of Terrorism.

The dissertation provides an explanatory framework on how terrorism achieves strategic effect, while also emphasising the enduring nature of the phenomena.  

VU supervisors Professor Debra Smith (Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities) and Professor Ramon Spaaij (College of Sport, Health and Engineering) said they were proud and delighted that Dr West’s work had been recognised, adding “Dr West’s intellectual curiosity and strong work ethic made him a joy to work with. It’s a credit to him that he has been awarded the premier international award for a doctoral thesis in our field.” 

Dr West is an Adjunct Fellow, Special Operations and Irregular Warfare, UNSW Canberra, and currently a lecturer in terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, and is the former director of the terrorism and security studies program at CSU.  

On hearing news of the announcement, Dr West said "I am humbled and honoured to receive such a prestigious international award. The support and guidance of Professor Debra Smith and Professor Ramon Spaaij was fundamental in getting the thesis completed.” 

Dr West praised the supportive terrorism research community that Prof Smith has created. “VU is world class and I can't speak highly enough of it. Working closely with practitioners and policy makers has always been part of what I do and it’s reflected in the approach that Prof Smith takes in terms of the outstanding research work done by her and the team." 

The official award announcement took take place on the 27th September,when the winning abstracts were published in the open access journal, Perspectives on TerrorismAlong with a cash prize of $1,000 USD, Dr West will present part of his thesis in an article in the December publication and the editors will assist with finding an appropriate book publisher for his thesis.   


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