A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Policy & Practice


Policy & Practice

Real-world problems rarely fit within any one academic discipline and cannot be addressed without insight from the field. START leverages theory and methodology from criminology, psychology, sociology, political science, and geography, and pairs them with practitioner input and expertise to design research projects that will be of use in the real-world while advancing the social-scientific understanding of terrorism, counterterrorism and community resilience.  Similarly, START frequently pairs its "human factors" expertise with technical experts in the hard sciences to better understand the threat posed by unconventional weapons and technology.

START research and education is valuable to the national security community in several ways:

  • START provides rigorous factual baselines upon which practitioners can build for their specific purposes without having to "start from scratch;"
  • START is an apolitical organization that studies any and all manifestations of terrorism and related illicit behavior irrespective of ideology;
  • START researchers seek input from counterterrorism professionals at every phase of their research to help design and deliver impactful research;
  • START seeks innovative ways to package research so that it can be put to use in the real-world prior to authoring the peer-reviewed journal articles that evidence the academic rigor underpinning the research.

START also provides the following resources: