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ICC team

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Julia Davidson PhD(LSE),OBE is Professor of Criminology in the Department of Law and Criminology and Director of the Institute of Connected Communities. She is an internationally recognised expert on policy, practice and offending in the area of cybercrime and online harms.

Prof Davidson is Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety Evidence Group and Chairs the Research Ethics Committee for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. She is a member of the Europol EC3 Expert Academic Advisory Group. She has 30 years experience of directing national and international research.

Prof Davidson has also acted as an expert advisor on online safety  to governments and practitioners in the UK, EU, South America , Africa and the MENA region since 2009. Professor Davidson has worked  with the media since 2003 working on live and recorded interviews for the BBC News, BBC World News, ITV, C4, BBC R4 News , BBC R4 Woman’s Hour.

She has also worked on documentaries and has published widely in the cybercrime and child Internet safety area. She was made Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway University of London in May 2010 and has been Adjunct Professor in the School of Law at QUT, Australia. She is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.  

Dr Sarah Jane Fox is the Director of the Centre of Professional Policing and the Deputy Director of the Institute of Connected Communities. Sarah specialises in law, policing, movement/transport and cyber research having begun her early career in transport before moving into policing and Law enforcement. She holds a PhD in law, her research focused on cross border enforcement and the implications (challenges) of the movement of people across set boundaries into other jurisdictions.

This has now been extended into the area of cyberspace. Sarah has also, academically and in practice, specialised in the areas of transport/travel; equality/rights; serious and organised crime (including terrorism – across borders), sexual offences and domestic abuse. Sarah has also worked in senior management roles, as a legal and practice consultant and adviser to several government departments and advisory boards relating to policing, transport and security (both in the UK; Europe and International). She holds numerous professional, management and academic memberships and qualifications across these fields.

Sarah is currently a member/expert adviser of a few (UK/EU) law enforcement bodies, she also sits as a Trustee on the Lloyd’s Tercentenary Research Foundation Board (as of 2017) and remains a Fellow of the University of Liverpool (law). Additionally, she is a consultant-adviser to MAVCOM and a listed expert with the EU/UK Parliament. She also sits as a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Commission on Cyber Security Law. 

Mary Aiken PhD is a Professor of Forensic Cyberpsychology in the Department of Law and Criminology and is attached to the Institute for Connected Communities at the University of East London and Adjunct Professor at the Geary Institute for Public Policy University College Dublin, Ireland.

She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). Professor Aiken is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine, Global Fellow at the Washington DC Wilson Center,  member of the Medico-Legal Society of Ireland, International Affiliate Member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Fellow of the Society for Chartered IT Professionals. Her research interests include Online Harms, SafetyTech, child protection online, Internet psychology, AI, human factors in cybersecurity, juvenile cyber delinquency and criminality, organised cybercrime, online behavioural profiling, personal cybersecurity and safety. 

Gopal’s background is in natural and clinical sciences with research interests in epidemiology, public health, health services, social epidemiology and social policy. He is a co-investigator on the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Health and Society. His research tends to assume a life course perspective with a focus on healthy ageing and use longitudinal data.

Gail leads on the Well Communities programme and development of evidenced based health improvement approaches linked to the IHHD research agenda. She is recognised nationally and internationally for her expertise is in the field of community development. She was Director of Camden and Islington Health Action Zone and worked for the Health Development Agency and then NICE as Regional Associate Director for London.

Allan Brimicombe is Professor Emeritus at the University of East London where he was Head of the Centre for Geo-Information Studies for 20 years.

He is a Chartered Geographer, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical, Royal Geographical and Geological Societies, a Director of the British Society of Criminology, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Allan has worked in both the private sector and academia and gained his higher degrees at the University of Hong Kong whilst 19 years abroad in the Far East where he pioneered spatial decision-support systems using numerical simulation techniques.

His other research interests include data quality issues, spatial data mining and machine learning, quantitative and mixed methods. These have been applied to crime, health, education, natural hazards, utilities and business. Allan has been a member of Crime and Criminal Justice Transparency Sector Panel which provided advice to the transparency delivery teams for crime data in the Home Office, and criminal justice data in the Ministry of Justice.

He was a non-executive member and Deputy Chair of the National Statistician’s Crime Statistics Advisory Committee which advised the Home Secretary, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Office of National Statistics on all matters relating to the collection and publication of crime statistics. Allan has been a Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy.

This followed work from 2009 to 2015 on the Olympic Games Impact Studies commissioned by the Economic & Social Research Council on behalf of the International Olympic Committee. Allan spearheaded the founding of the MSc and Professional Doctorate in Data Science at UEL where he taught research methods, quantitative data analysis, computer-assisted qualitative analysis and algorithmic machine learning. He has been appointed as a Justice of the Peace and is a serving Magistrate. 

Professor of Community and Family Health. She is currently leading work on new models of antenatal care, addressing low birth weight and community centred approaches to promoting health and well-being. Angela is also an internationally recognised expert on systematic reviews and evidence synthesis. 

Marcello is a board member of The Social Prescribing Network and leads a large-scale evaluation of social prescribing in collaboration with City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group and Queen Mary University of London.

He also leads research on homelessness and mental health pathways and alternative community currencies (e.g. Time Banks), all of which focus on developing asset-based approaches to health and wellbeing.

Darren is a Sociologist and Consultant in the public care sector and leads a NIHR North Thames CLHARC study modelling community-based diabetes services for children and young people.

He is recognised nationally and internationally for his participatory research with children and young people and has undertaken work on behalf of UK Research Councils, Central Government Departments, and NGOs to support the involvement of patients and the public in service design, research and policy development

Dr William Dugdale is a Research Fellow at the University of East London and the Horizon 2020 funded CC-Driver project and is attached to the Institute for Connected Communities.

William recently completed his PhD which explored interprofessional collaboration of front-line staff in the Norwegian prison system as part of a European consortium entitled COLAB. He also holds a BSc (Hons) in Criminology and a Master of Research in Social Science Research Methods.

Prior to his PhD, William undertook research at Associazione Antigone in Rome, Italy focusing on prison de-radicalisation for the European Prison Observatory. He has also worked as a front-line professional in the England and Wales prison system at HMP Bure and HMP Norwich, where he was responsible for and developed expertise on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.

Caroline is a steering group member of the National Social Prescribing Network (NSPN) and her research interests include the evaluation of alternative treatment pathways for improving mental wellbeing and the promotion of mental health recovery. She has an MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy and has worked as a counsellor in a primary school and with a South London based charity for women experiencing post-natal depression.
Ainul is a psychologist and global mental health expert with specific interests in improving mental health across the life course as well as strengthen mental health policies and systems.
Ruby works on the delivery of the Well Communities Programme with a specific interest in the role of civic engagement in activating health and wellbeing in local residents. Ruby is also undertaking a PHD.

Kirsty Phillips is currently employed by University of East London (UEL) as a Research Assistant on the H2020 project and is attached to the ICC.

She recently worked on a project, funded by End Violence Against Children, to deliver a child online protection policy and implementation plan to the Government of Rwanda, in partnership 5Rights Foundation ( led by Prof Davidson)  and University of Rwanda.

Kirsty is also enrolled as PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London. Her PhD themes and current research involve Judgement and Decision Making, Bayesian Inference, Rationality and Evaluation of Eyewitness Testimony.

Work undertaken as part of this PhD has been presented at and published by the Cognitive Science Society. Kirsty has previously worked as Research Assistant at Birkbeck and Honorary Assistant Psychologist in the NHS.

Kirsty graduated University College London with a Distinction in Research Methods in Psychology MSc and Warwick University with a First Class degree in Psychology, BSc (with Honours).  

Nora is evaluating the Communities Driving Change programme, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets resident through capacity building in local communities.

Her background is Psychology and Public Health and her research interests include system change approaches in public health, and the links between ecosystem and human health, with specific focus on health- and environmental behaviour change. She is currently writing her PhD about recreational walking in the UK.

Administration team

Michelle  has worked for the Institute for 10 years. She oversees the financial, HR and grant bidding processes and records for the Institute, maintaining procedures that dovetail with those of the wider University.

Trained as an artist with an MA from the RCA, Michelle is a practicing performance artist, singer and Morris dancer with experience of teaching art at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is also a member of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators. 

Austine is the Administrative Officer (Health & Safety Officer/Diary Manager) responsible for the day-to-day running of the institute administratively. A member of the University of East London, Environmental Sustainability Board, and an EMS Internal auditor. Skilled in facilitating sexual health training with a background in community engagement. A member of the Association of University Administrators.

PhD students

  • Caroline Frostick
  • Theeba Krishnamoorthy
  • Ifeoma Dan-Ogosi
  • Cathryn Salisbury
  • Laila Surani
  • Michaela Otis
  • Mark Tsagas