RISCS Associate Fellows

Amel Attatfa, Abertay University,
RISCS Associate Fellow

Amel Attatfa is a postgraduate research student (PGRS), nearing the finalisation of her PhD thesis in Cybersecurity, which explores the emerging field of cyber diplomacy. Her research focuses on the potential development of cyber diplomacy for regulating cyberspace through the establishment of norms to facilitate multistakeholder behaviours. Cyber diplomacy is crucial for maintaining peace, security, and trust in cyberspace, considering its significance in countries' foreign policies and the interdisciplinary nature of the domain.

With a deep understanding of both cybersecurity and diplomatic principles, Amel brings a unique perspective to the sociotechnical cybersecurity community. Her expertise in cyber diplomacy positions her as a rising star in the field, contributing valuable insights to discussions on international cooperation, conflict resolution, and cyber governance. Furthermore, her research addresses fundamental questions about the role of cyber diplomacy in mitigating cybersecurity challenges in the digital age, highlighting the need for integrating diplomatic and cyber considerations.

Amel served as a Graduate School Representative for the School of Design and Informatics (SDI), a Postgraduate Research Student Representative at the Senate, and a member of the Security Research Group and Athena Swan Committee at Abertay University. She has also been a member of SPRITE+ and Graduate Women of Scotland (GWS), as well as a representative in the UK PhD Cyber Network. Her diverse experiences include speaking engagements, serving as a research panelist, symposium chair, forum moderator, reviewer, module tutor, seminar lead, and contributor to digital inclusion report. She has made significant contributions to the field of cyber diplomacy through her publications and is working on prospective projects in this area.

As a RISCS Associate Fellow, Amel looks forward to contributing thought leadership to the RISCS community and helping shape the research agenda in alignment with her expertise in cyber diplomacy.

Andrew Dwyer, Royal Holloway University, London,
RISCS Associate Fellow

Dr Andrew Dwyer is a Lecturer in Information Security at Royal Holloway, University of London, where his research is arranged across three themes: 1) Digital Decisions; 2) Contested (Geo)Political Economies of Cyber Policy; and 3) ‘Critical’ Approaches to Cyber Security. Andrew is Co-I on the EPSRC-funded project ‘Equitable Privacy’ and also leads the UK Offensive Cyber Working Group, examining the evolving practices of cyber operations by states.. Previously, he has been an Addison Wheeler Fellow at Durham University and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol after completing his PhD at the University of Oxford in 2019
Partha Das Chowdhury, University of Bristol,
RISCS Associate Fellow

Dr Partha Das Chowdhury is a senior research associate at the National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online (REPHRAIN) at the University of Bristol. Partha investigates the realism of the assumptions made while building systems. He takes interdisciplinary paths in his study. He leads the strand of research on REPHRAIN privacy testbed operating system to interrogate system design assumptions.

He conceived and leads the strand of research to investigate the assumptions made by system designers about their users. He draws from theories of justice, social choice, and welfare economics to understand systematic exclusion in the digital world. To that end he was the first to propose Amartya Sen’s capability approach as a foundation to build protection mechanisms against online harms. These diverse strands aim to identify redressable manifest insecurities and exclusions.

He was involved in the evaluation of six safety technologies to detect child sexually abusive material (CSAM) commissioned by GCHQ and the Home Office, UK. Partha was part of the scoping team for the £11 M node projects that were funded by REPHRAIN. He has published in New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW), Usenix PePR, IEEE SecDev, Security Protocols Workshop held annually at Cambridge, among others.
Sophie James, Lancaster University,
RISCS Associate Fellow

Sophie James is a Doctoral Researcher and Lecturer in Security and Protection Science: Marketing, from Lancaster University. She specialises in qualitative interpretive research methodologies including online ethnography – referred to as ‘netnography’ – to explore virtual communities, their social-emotional communications, and their relationships with dissident ideas (e.g. witchcraft and magical thinking). Sophie’s critical socio-cultural approach will bring a fresh perspective to the predominantly positivist discipline of human-computer interaction, in-keeping with RISCS’s imperative for interdisciplinarity. Her work relates to digital anthropology, providing important contextualisation for digital transformation, socio-digital futures, and security challenges. Sophie’s future research will seek to provide in-depth insights on how individuals and groups engage with web-based communication platforms for a variety of ideological reasons. Sophie plans to contribute to RISCS’s agenda to enhance an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research in cyber security.  Sophie’s future research will draw from theories on consumer identity-making and socio-historic patterning, exploring how extreme or subversive content on social media networks and ‘dark’ corners of the web can erode trust in expert systems and have wider moral, ethical, social implications. Sophie is further interested in identifying the ideological deadlocks of dissident political opinions and how these may inform policy interventions on curbing the spread of misinformation.
Rebecca Owens, Newcastle University,
RISCS Associate Fellow

Rebecca Owens is a Legal Research Associate at Newcastle University, working on the AGENCY project (Assuring Citizen Agency in a World with Complex Online Harms). In which she collaborates with a cross-disciplinary team to design responsible technology that enhances citizen empowerment. Her research also spearheads the development of innovative policy frameworks that integrate core principles like trust, privacy, safety, and security throughout the entire digital technology lifecycle, from design to implementation.

Rebecca’s PhD was fully funded by the Sir Joseph Rotblat Alumni Scholarship from the University of Liverpool, along with an FFWG grant. She also holds a master's degree from the University of Liverpool, fully funded by the John Lennon Memorial Scholarship, and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the same University. Through her fellowship with RISCS, Rebecca is excited to explore how policy can be used holistically to empower the citizen-centric design of emerging technologies.