While research into personal and professional networks has provided us with insight into everything from how individuals seek employment to 'how work really gets done' in organisations, Deakin University PhD candidate Morgan Burcher is extending its application to understanding crime and terror groups or 'dark networks'.
Morgan's presentation and map of the linkages between the London Bombers and a group who carried out a little known second bombing won Deakin University's Three Minute Thesis competition, in Burwood, today, Tuesday 12 August.
Jane Willcox, was the runner up with her presentation- Txtfortwo app promoting healthy weight gain in pregnancy while Michael Do took out the People's Choice award for his presentation on Transcranial magnetic stimulation and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The Three Minute Thesis competition is held to help higher degree research students improve their communication skills. The finals will be held in Western Australia.
The students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.
Morgan spoke on the application of Social Network Analysis to Crime Intelligence.
"Social Network Analysis is a specific analytical tool which examines the connections between individuals, including emails, text messages, face-to-face meetings, and a variety of other data" Mr Burcher explained.
"Although the initial reaction of many is to think of Facebook when they hear the term 'Social Network', generally an analysis will focus on many forms of data when examining the relationships between crime and terror groups."
Mr Burcher said researchers had looked extensively at the September 11 and Bali Bombings, but no one had looked at the London bombings.
"It was generally thought that there were only four direct perpetrators involved, but as I looked into it I thought I might find connections to other individuals and I did," he said.
Mr Burcher's analysis, which used publicly available information, found the bombers had connections to another group who tried to unsuccessfully bomb London's transport system again only two weeks after the original attacks.
"It was discussed at the time but as it was an unsuccessful attack it has been forgotten by many" he said.
"They went right to the end and the law enforcement and security services had no idea. The detonators went off but thankfully not the main charges".
"They are all in prison now."
Mr Burcher's PhD is still to be completed but he is hoping to interview analysts from law enforcement agencies about their use of social network analysis and to develop a framework to guide its use.
Watch Mr Burcher's presentation here
The other finalists were:
Sri Balaji Ponraj, Institute for Frontier Materials
Topic - Sterilization of Milk using Liquid Plasma.
Ben Whitburn, Arts and Education
Topic - Inclusive schooling, insider perspectives, students with disabilities.
Mohammad Shihab Khan, Business and Law
Topic - Electoral behaviour in Bangladesh.
Wayne Read, Business and Law
Topic - Consumer engagement with brands via social media (Twitter).
Rajas Kale, Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Topic - Biomarkers of the bipolar brain.
Bahareh Motamed, Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Topic - An inquiry into colour space and architectural choices.