Vacature Doctoral Fellow in Network Criminology

(17-06-2022) UGent zoekt een PhD Fellow in Network Criminology voor de vakgroep Criminologie, Strafrecht en Sociaal Recht.


Your tasks

We are recruiting one full-time PhD student with an interest in applying network theory and agent based modeling for the FWO research project “Interdependencies of Serial and Co-Offending Networks in Space and Time”.

You will be expected to complete a PhD study on the topic of “Interdependencies of Serial and Co-Offending Networks in Space and Time”. The main goal is to develop an understanding of how serial and co-offending behaviors are interdependent in space and time. To do so, you will apply network theory and agent based modeling on an integrated dataset of police recorded crime data and forensic biometric data. You will take primary responsibility for the scientific preparation, follow-up, implementation, and completion of this project. This includes the collection, processing, and analysis of police recorded crime data and forensic biometric data, as well as presenting intermediate results at international conferences and publishing findings in academic journals.

As a PhD student, you will be supervised by Prof. Christophe Vandeviver (Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy, Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law) and Prof. Luis Enrique Correa da Rocha (Complex Systems Institute, Department of Economics and Department of Physics and Astronomy). You will be based at the Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law, and will be also member of the Complex Systems Institute. Ultimately, this should allow you to complete an interdisciplinary PhD and obtain the combined degree of Doctor in Criminological Sciences and Doctor in Applied Economics.

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project;
  • To collect and analyze data for the project;
  • To write peer-reviewed articles in English and merge them into a PhD dissertation;
  • To disseminate your research results by presenting intermediate results at scientific conferences and publish findings in academic journals;
  • To participate in a PhD training program.

In addition, you will participate in the activities of Prof. Christophe Vandeviver’s research team (see below, About Prof. Vandeviver and the research team). As part of your supporting the research team, you may occasionally be asked to support teaching activities and contribute to commissioned research.

English will be your main working language.

About the project

Serial offending and co-offending are two of the most prevalent offending behaviors in society. Evidence increasingly suggests that serial offending and co-offending are interdependent. However, extant research has generally studied both offending behaviors separately, misrepresenting the nature and extent of serial and co-offending and their potential interdependencies.

To resolve this, we leverage the recent availability of forensic biometric data to crime researchers. This allows us to uniquely distinguish offenders and link offences and co-offenders across space and time, without the need for offenders having been identified by the police. By integrating police data and forensic biometric data into a single robust crime dataset we are able to study the serial and co-offending behaviors of identified and unidentified offenders—which is not possible when only using police data.

Network theory offers a holistic perspective of offending behavior by representing serial offending and cooffending in a single dynamic network that evolves in space and time. Agent based modeling is a computational method that allows to simulate interactions between offenders and within offender groups via simple behavioral rules that are rooted in real-world observations obtained from our integrated dataset. Combining the outcomes from the network analysis and agent based modeling, we generate a quantitative behavioral framework on serial and co-offending behaviors.

In the project, you will closely collaborate with Prof. Christophe Vandeviver and Prof. Luis Enrique Correa da Rocha, as well as other scholars as appropriate. The project benefits from proximity to ongoing network criminology research supervised by Prof. Vandeviver and Prof. Rocha (see, e.g., here and here).
Deadline for applications: 31 August 2022