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Kanishka funding awarded to Prof. D. Ruths

The Kanishka initiative of the Government of Canada will invest up to $10M over the next 5 years in research on pressing questions for Canada on terrorism and counter-terrorism, such as preventing and countering violent extremism. The goal is to better understand what terrorism means in the Canadian context, how that is changing over time, and what we can do to support effective policies and programs to counter terrorism and violent extremism in Canada.

Prof. D. Ruths will lead one of the Kaniska funded projects at McGill. The goal is to develop a system for measuring population response to a crisis in online social networks. As part of this project, researchers will analyze real-time social responses to sudden or rapidly evolving social conditions in crisis or emergency situations, using data streams from the Twitter online social platform. Information gathered and measurements produced by the system being developed will provide insights into Canadians’ responses to both acts of terrorism and other emergencies, in part through comparison with responses to other crises.

The research is about understanding population-level patterns in crisis and emergency situations, rather than particular individuals, such as which topics are being discussed, how different populations feel about such topics, their demographics (gender, age, educational level), and their geographic distribution. In addition, this project aims to support improving the ways in which government organizations engage with communities in mitigating, preparing, responding and recovering from crises.

If you want to learn more, check out Prof. Ruth's website.