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Security and Counter Terrorism Science Business Plan

These programmes seek to address the Government’s strategic counter-


terrorism objective:
To reduce the risk to the United Kingdom and its interests overseas
from international terrorism so that people can go about their daily lives
freely and with confidence.

The Government strategy to achieve this objective was established in 2003


and is known as CONTEST. The Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
(OSCT) is responsible for the continued development of this strategy, and its
implementation and governance.

CONTEST was refreshed in March 2009 and continues to be based around


four workstreams (‘the four Ps’), each with a specific objective:
• PURSUE To stop terrorist attacks.
• PREVENT To stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent
extremism.
• PROTECT To strengthen our protection against terrorist attack.
• PREPARE Where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact.

Science and technology plays a role in underpinning all four Ps.

1. Cross-cutting CONTEST Science and Technology Programme

Objectives of the science


The programme coordinates the identification of requirements and the
ongoing activities of cross-Government science and technology relating to
counter-terrorism. Led by the OSCT existing work is shared as appropriate
with Government partners in order to identify opportunities for burden sharing
and alignment of work programmes. Where a requirement is identified that is
not being appropriately addressed by existing work within Government, OSCT
endeavours to allocate funds to projects to meet it.

Policy priorities it addresses


The programme addresses the aims set out in the United Kingdom’s Science
& Technology Strategy for Countering International Terrorism 2009-2012:

• To use horizon scanning to understand future scientific and technical


threats and opportunities and inform our decision making on counter-
terrorism.
• To ensure the development and delivery of effective counter-terrorism
solutions by identifying and sharing priority science and technology
requirements.
• To enhance international collaboration on counter-terrorism related
science and technology.
Brief outline of the approach
Research for the programme is prioritised and endorsed through a cross-
Government CONTEST Science and Technology Board, supported by a
range of cross-Government Working Groups themed around priority areas.

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Independent scrutiny is provided by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser,
supported by his Counter-Terrorism Core Interest Group.

The programme covers a diverse range of requirements, customers and


research disciplines contributing to the cross-Government key challenges
identified in the HM Government publication ‘Countering the terrorist threat:
Ideas and innovation’. These key challenges include:
• Reducing the vulnerability of crowded places.
• Protecting the national infrastructure.
• Protecting against cyber terrorism.
• Improving analytical tools.

We have identified some of the key technologies of critical importance to


solving the challenges we face. These technologies are not only useful in
addressing the key challenges mentioned above, but also in responding to
others across counter-terrorism:
• Knowledge management
• Biometrics
• Screening
• Physical protection
• Countering Improvised Explosive Devices

Further details of these technologies and the key challenges identified in the
above mentioned document are available from the OSCT internet pages on
the Home Office website.

The following information on CONTEST S&T Programme is grouped under


the headings of the cross-Government Working Groups that support delivery
of the programme. Note that the stated costs below describe direct Home
Office funding for projects and excludes that funded by OGDs. The projects
are delivered by Government Departments and agencies commissioned by
the Home Office.

Electronic and Imaging Systems

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally 1.0 (£m) – 1.5(£m)

Science discipline о Physical/Social Science

Explosives

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally > 1.5 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

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Information Communication Technology

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally > 1.5 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Social Behavioural Science

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally 1.0 (£m) – 1.5(£m)

Science disciplineº Social Science

CONTEST Portfolio Office


A number of activities contribute to more than one Working Group, or support
the broader S&T Programme. These activities are managed within the
CONTEST Portfolio Office as apposed to a specific Working Group.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally > 1.5 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical/Social Science

CONTEST INSTINCT Programme


In addition part of the OSCT budget for the cross-cutting CONTEST S&T
Programme funds an innovation programme. INSTINCT (INnovative Science
& Technology IN Counter-Terrorism) seeks innovative solutions to address
CONTEST objectives and aims to improve our ability to move at pace and
intelligently manage risk to make Government an effective customer of
innovation.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally > 1.5 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical/Social Science

2. CBRN Science and Technology Programme

Objectives of the science


The programme aims to use science and technology to enhance UK’s
capability to deal with the use, or threatened use, of CBRN materials by
terrorists. Capabilities addressed cover both cross-Government requirements
and those specific to the Home Office. Initial work was primarily focussed on
filling gaps in our preparedness to deal with such an attack, but as it develops
the programme increasingly addresses requirements across all 4 Ps.

Policy priorities it addresses


The programme addresses the Government counter-terrorist strategy, as
defined in CONTEST II.

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Fit with the Science and Innovation Strategy
The programme is managed and directed in line with the CONTEST S&I
strategy 2007 and the Home Office S&I strategy 2008.

Brief outline of the approach


Work in this programme addresses both cross-Government requirements led
by the OSCT CBRN S&T programme and Home Office specific requirements
developed by OSCT CBRN policy leads and supported by research,
development and evaluation undertaken by HOSDB.

The OSCT led CBRN S&T programme has been running for 5 years and
there are well established governance and procedures to manage it. These
include a cross Government CBRN S&T Delivery board to set and prioritise
research requirements and an independent and external CBRN S&T Advisory
board to quality assure the research.

The CBRN S&T programme is a rolling programme and encompasses around


50 – 70 individual research projects each year with a total budget for FY 09/10
of £11m. The projects cover a wide range of capability gaps. Around eighty
percent of the work is commissioned against ‘targeted’ research requirements
to address specific identified needs, while the remainder is against broader
generic requirements to encourage innovation. Outputs include scientific
knowledge to inform policy, operational tactics/doctrine, or analytic
procedures; and the development new technology or evaluation of existing
COTS equipment.

The following details the CBRN research themes within the CBRN S&T
programme. The figures in the tables below refer to the current contracted
commitments for research based on cross-Government prioritisation for the
OSCT CBRN S&T programme. Subject to decisions on funding available for
2010 onwards spending in this year may be increased up to the maximum of
£11m. The actual figures for each area are likely to fluctuate during the year
as some research projects conclude and new contracts are let. In addition, to
research, the programme also funds specialist support staff to provide
scientific advice across the programme, and project management of the
various external suppliers contracted to carry out research work.

Laboratory Analysis
Research on the efficacy of conventional forensic recovery techniques
(fingerprints and DNA) on CBR contaminated evidence. Development of
methods for safe handling of contaminated evidence Research into methods
for rapid identification of CBR agents in food and water.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 40 (k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

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CBRN Protection
Reducing the physiological burden for first responders wearing Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) and increasing operational time. Development of
standards for assessing the performance of PPE.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 214(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Detection
Development of technology and systems to identify a release, the extent and
level of concentration of materials in a large area for both fixed point and hand
held applications. Development of technology and systems to detect
concealed materials or devices. Development of methodologies for routinely
monitoring the background level of toxic materials and interferents in the
environment.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 1.7 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Medical Countermeasures
Identification of prophylaxis and treatments to counter effects of exposure to
C, B, and R material. This includes determination of the efficacy of early/pre-
symptomatic diagnosis, antidotes, therapies and antibiotics.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 1.2 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Decontamination (Hazard management)


Research to develop technologies that measure the extent and level of CBRN
contamination on surfaces. The development of technology to contain CBRN
materials and enhanced technologies or methods for decontamination.
Technology/methods for the disposal of CBRN contaminated materials.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 1.5 (£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Assessment and Studies


Development of realistic CBRN scenarios, risk assessment methodologies
and decision tools. Characterisation of background levels and devices.
Studies of sampling approaches.

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09/10 Research 09/10 Cost
Conducted externally ≈ 800 (£k)

Science disciplineº Physical/Social Science

Models
Validation of dispersion models for movement of CBR material in the urban
environment, transport networks, and other public areas. Linkage of
dispersion models to decision models.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 383(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Support to Programme & Academia


The provision of specialist scientific advice to the Programme and project
management of programme, working closely with academia and external
suppliers.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally ≈ 785(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical/Social Science

Supporting first line responders (HOSDB)


Conducting performance and usability testing, leading to the development of a
Manual of Search and Detection Part 2 (CBRN for CBRN equipment for first
responders) in publication and disc format and moving towards an interactive
website accessible via the government extranets and to authorised Critical
National Infrastructure clients.

Working closely with the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism RN
Mitigation project team to develop enhanced capabilities to provide future
technical options to mitigate risks and enhance operational effectiveness.

Continuing to technically manage a number of CBRN S&T detection projects


within the cross-government portfolio, actively seeking exploitation of project
outputs.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research
Conducted externally* 250(£k) – 500(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science, Engineering


and Operational Research
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

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3. Social and Behavioural Science Programme

Objectives of the science


The PREVENT OSCT social and behavioural science research programme is
aimed at improving the evidence base of how to stop people becoming
terrorists or supporting violent extremism. In developing the evidence base to
support policy initiatives it is focussed on two areas:

• Understanding the radicalisation process that leads to violent


extremism.
• Evaluating the effectiveness of Prevent interventions.

Policy priorities it addresses


The research programme specifically addresses and supports the PREVENT
policy agenda, outlined in the PREVENT strategy, and embedded within the
revised CONTEST strategy. The PREVENT strategy is based on the
fundamental importance of the radicalisation process as a driver of terrorism
and has the following specific aims

• Undermine extremist ideology and support mainstream voices.


• Disrupt those who promote violent extremism and strengthen
vulnerable institutions in the UK.
• Support individuals who are vulnerable to recruitment by violent
extremists.
• Increase the capacity of communities to engage with and resist violent
extremists.
• Effectively address grievances.

In addition to managing its own research programme, the OSCT social and
behavioural science research team (SBRT) is part of a larger cross
government group of researchers and analysts working on the PREVENT
agenda. SBRT has a coordinating role in this endeavour, ensuring appropriate
prioritisation and avoidance of duplication of research projects. Together with
other Government departments and agencies, the SBRT is increasingly
working with, and contributing to, the Pursue, Protect and Prepare policy and
research programmes for the CONTEST II strategy.

Fit with the Science and Innovation Strategy


The SBRT research programme fits with the current priorities identified for
social sciences in the Home Office Science and Innovation Strategy for 2009-
2011. The key strategic priorities being increased understanding of
radicalisation, development of robust radicalisation models and measurement
of the impact of government PREVENT programmes. The S and I strategy
also identified the importance of social science applications in other areas of
counter terrorism - an objective shared by the SBRT and manifest in the
team’s increasing interactions with researchers across the 4 P’s. The SBRT
also works with colleagues in the cross-cutting Science and Technology
Programme to Understand and Influence Human Behaviour – aiding the
prioritisation, selection and oversight of social science projects funded by this
programme.

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Brief outline of the approach
The radicalisation process is imperfectly understood, multifactorial and
research subjects may be difficult to study. Our understanding of
radicalisation has improved considerably in recent years although much more
needs to be done to understand the relative importance of political, economic,
social and psychological factors and how they interact in individual cases.

Causal factors conventionally considered to be relevant in the radicalisation


process include exposure to a violent extremist ideology, exposure to
radicalising individuals and institutions, perceived and real local, national and
international grievances, ‘cognitive’ vulnerability of individuals, community
resilience and small group dynamics. Our research is aimed at understanding
the relative importance of these factors, how and when they operate in
individuals or groups and which factors may be amenable to policy
interventions. Thus, research methods range from small scale qualitative
studies (e.g. case histories, focus groups) to large scale quantitative
approaches (e.g. surveys) including theoretical approaches (e.g. quantitative
models of radicalisation processes). There is an emphasis on the acquisition
of new primary data, despite the problems of gaining access to difficult to
reach populations.

In addition to work on radicalisation, the team will also focus on developing


process and outcome evaluations of Prevent policy interventions being
implemented at a local level with statutory and community stakeholders.
Subject to prioritisation and resource constraints, policy initiatives to be
assessed include identification, risk assessment, referral and diversionary,
counter radicalisation and de-radicalisation programmes.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally 1.5 (£m) – 2(£m)

Science disciplineº Social Science

RICU research programme

Objectives of the research


The objectives of RICU’s research programme are to:

a) answer the questions:


- to whom are we talking? (our audiences)
- what should we say to them? (the content of our messages)
- how should we say it? (what channels we use)
- and what is the effect of what we say? (evaluating our communication)

b) inform communications at three levels:


- primary (communications to everyone, usually from central government
as ministerial speeches and departmental statements);

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- secondary (targeted communications, usually delivered locally, to
specific audience segments) designed to change attitudes and shape
behaviour;
- tertiary (targeted at particularly vulnerable groups and individuals,
probably by specialist practitioners) designed to change behaviour.

Policy priorities it addresses


This research programme is to support RICU’s work. RICU is the
Government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications Unit and is jointly
owned by the Home Office, FCO and CLG. RICU operates across CONTEST
to deliver effects through communications. Whilst it works across the whole of
CONTEST, RICU’s focus is on the PREVENT strand, to which it devotes
around 80% of its resource.
The purpose of RICU is to ensure that the UK Government communicates
effectively to reduce the risk of terrorism, by:

• Advising CONTEST partners on their counter-terrorism related


communications;
• Exposing the weaknesses of violent extremist ideologies and brands;
and
• Supporting credible alternatives to violent extremism using
communications.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally 1.0 (£m) – 1.5(£0m)

Science disciplineº Social Science

4. Weapons and Explosives


Research into explosives and weapons is a cross-department activity
coordinated through the CONTEST framework. Research is prioritised from
across the capability requirements of Prepare, Protect, Pursue and Prevent
with Home Office funded research focused primarily on improving the UK’s
detection capability for novel and improvised explosive threats, and in
mitigating vulnerability in the ground and maritime environments. The
following details some of the examples of projects directly managed or led by
the Home Office. It should be noted that the actual figures might change due
to re-prioritisation in light of CONTEST requirements.

• Research into the detection and characterisation of new explosive


threats. This will include the production of an upgraded ‘Blue Book’ –
the Manual of Search and Detection (released annually) provides up to
date advice on detection technology to operational and policy staff
across government and Critical National Infrastructure.
• Conducting the next phase of standoff threat detection trials and
standards development in support of the cross-government standoff
threat detection (SOTD) programme – while joining up our work with
key programme objectives within the US Department of Homeland
Security S&T Division.

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• Management of a portfolio of 17 projects across a range of innovation
providers across academia and industry. The projects are aimed at
improving the state of the art in explosives and weapons detection
technology, and are jointly funded by four government departments.
• Investigating less-lethal weaponry options for deployment in terrorist
situations.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research
Conducted externally* 1.0 (£m) – 1.5(£m)

Science disciplineº Physical Science and


Operational Research
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

Explosive and Ballistic Protection


Research on ways to mitigate the effects of IEDs and Person Borne IEDs
(including suicide bombers). ,The Explosion and Ballistic Protection
programme, in partnership with CPNI, undertakes trials of materials and
structures to assess the effects of, or resistance to, blast and fragmentation
effects; develops equipments; and provides advisory capability (including
modelling) to support the protection of UK government buildings, assets and
critical national infrastructure (CNI) against the effects of explosive and
ballistic attack. The team also supports OSCT, and the Police (including
provision of advice on Explosive Methods of Entry (EMOE)).

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research
Conducted externally* 250(£k) –500(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science and


Engineering
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

Explosives Forensics
Research to enhance existing methods and develop new forensic techniques
to maintain the operational capability of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted externally 500(£k) – 750(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

Maritime Protection
The development of less lethal interception systems for small and medium
vessels and the research into the protection of vessels in port and installations
with a maritime boundary.

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09/10 Research 09/10 Cost
Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research/science
Conducted externally* < 100 (£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science and


Engineering
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

5. Vision Based Security Systems


In partnership with CPNI evaluate the effectiveness of intelligent video
systems against a standard library of images, known as i-LIDS, which is
representative of key counter-terrorist applications.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research/science
Conducted externally* < 100 (£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science and


Engineering
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

6. Barriers and Detection Systems


In partnership with CPNI, this work comprises development of standards,
product evaluations and provision of advice on physical security products
(such as doors, fences, glazing) and perimeter intruder detection systems.
HOSDB is evaluating Perimeter Intruder Detection Systems (buried, barrier-
mounted and free standing) against performance standards.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research/science
Conducted externally* < 100 (£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science and


Engineering
* Supported by additional funding from Other Government Departments

7. Security Review and Training


The Security Review Programme assesses the security at locations most
critical to the UK and makes recommendations for improving security
provision for them.
he Security Training Programme provides targeted training to key security
personnel in government, police, military and vital industries in physical
security.
09/10 Research 09/10 Cost
Conducted internally Supported by additional
internal HO research/science
Conducted externally 250(£k) – 500(£k)

Science disciplineº Physical Science

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8. ERA Security & Intelligence Analysis Team (SIAT)
The Security and Intelligence Analysis Team provides analytical support to
OSCT; its activities contribute to the evidence base underpinning the Home
Office’s work to “Protect the public from terrorism”. In addition to work
supporting each of the four Ps, the team also undertakes analysis aimed at
strengthening the evidence base generally and supporting CONTEST.

Prevent
During 2008/2009, we developed and promulgated cutting-edge techniques
for the analysis of covert social networks, and analysed two specific networks
in detail, producing suggestive early results on both structural features of
covert networks and mechanisms of recruitment into such networks. During
2009/2010 and beyond, we plan to develop these approaches further, and to
build up a library of real-world covert networks drawn from a variety of
sources, which can be used as a dataset in its own right in order to investigate
the effects of network structures and behaviour on radicalisation and de-
radicalisation.

We also plan to continue work on drivers of radicalisation at an individual


level, with a particular focus on un- and under-employment and any possible
effects of the economic downturn on the Prevent agenda – our lack of detailed
understanding of these drivers is a worrying gap in the Prevent evidence
base. One key plank of this work will be to drive the development of the
relevant Rich Picture dataset to create a consistent resource which can be
used with more confidence than is presently the case.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally

Science disciplineº Economic/Operational


Research

Protect
During 2008/2009, we supported policy development and PSA target
development for the Crowded Places strand of the Protect agenda, and were
able to help develop a much more strongly evidence-based target. During
2009/2010, we intend to continue this work with a focus on the trajectory
towards the target and on the development of the policy beyond the current
PSA period. We will also work closely with colleagues in TRANSEC to
develop a strong evidence base for the Transport strand of this agenda, and
to ensure that our analytical approaches within the different strands are
consistent.

One key gap in the Protect evidence base concerns the extent to which
Protect (and to some extent Pursue) measures deter terrorists, rather than
simply displacing their activities to softer targets. During 2009/10, we will
initiate a programme of research to fill this gap (jointly with TRANSEC); the
first stages will use a war-gaming approach.

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09/10 Research 09/10 Cost
Conducted internally

Science disciplineº Economic/Operational


Science

Prepare
During 2008/2009, we have had relatively little involvement in the construction
of the social science evidence base for Prepare; during 2009/10, we will seek
to establish the key evidence gaps in this area, and develop a programme of
work to begin to fill them, as we have done for the other Ps.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally

Science disciplineº Economic/Operational


Science

Pursue
During 2008/2009, we initiated a programme of work to establish the detailed
evidence base for links between terrorist finance and organised fraud; in
2009/2010, we plan to continue this work, and to extend it to other areas of
organised crime.

During 2009/2010, we will provide analysis to support UKBA in evaluating


guidance to immigration officers on spotting possible terrorism suspects, as
the guidance is rolled out across the UK. This will provide a valuable
opportunity to make continuous improvements to the guidance package, as
well as producing detailed evidence as to the effectiveness of this
programme.

Finally, we will continue work begun in 2009/2010, in conjunction with OCJR,


to begin to evaluate the downstream costs of different approaches to terrorism
suspects, and in particular the possible trade-offs between Prevent and
Pursue.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally

Science disciplineº Economic/Operational


Science

Cross-cutting and underpinning work


Several of the most crucial gaps in the CONTEST evidence base are common
to all the Ps, or relate to decisions on resource allocation across them.

There is no commonly accepted gold-standard dataset for terrorism incidents;


there are four different commonly-used sets, all based on analysis of publicly
available news reports, and with surprisingly little commonality between them.
During 2008/2009, we initiated work to explore the reasons for the striking
differences between datasets. During 2009/2010, we will continue this work to

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establish a definition of “a terrorist incident” which is accepted by the relevant
stakeholders. This can then be used to establish a baseline dataset for more
detailed analysis of numbers and types of terrorist incidents over time.

Cost-benefit analysis of any CT measures requires some estimate of the


probability that an event of a given magnitude will occur within some time
period; however, the statistics of these low-probability, high-impact events are
not easily understood. During 2008/2009, we initiated work to investigate
possible approaches to solving this problem; during 2009/2010 we will
develop the most promising approaches further.

A second necessity for almost any analysis is an understanding of how the


public values a reduction of its exposure to the risk of a terrorist incident.
During 2009/2010, we will initiate research to establish this understanding.

Finally, the rationale for CT activity depends strongly upon the cost that the
fear of terrorism imposes upon all of us; at present there is no good estimate
of the magnitude of these costs for the UK, and we will initiate work to
estimate them during 2009/2010.

In addition to our work to plug specific gaps, we will also continue the detailed
mapping and summarising of the evidence base which we began in
2008/2009, in order to contribute to a shared understanding of the evidence
base and its weaknesses among the many CONTEST stakeholders.

09/10 Research 09/10 Cost


Conducted internally

Science disciplineº Economic/Operational


Science

о
Physical/natural sciences, social sciences, statistics, engineering, economics and
operational research.

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