The GDPO was recently part of a successful interdisciplinary application to the CHERISH-DE (Challenging Human Environments and Research Impact for a Sustainable and Healthy Digital Economy) Escalator Fund. The pilot project, (Principal Investigator: Prof Nuria Lorenzo-Dus (Arts and Humanities), Co-Investigators: Prof David Bewley-Taylor, (Arts and Humanities), Dr Bob Laramee (Computer Science), Dr Matteo Di Cristofaro (Arts and Humanities), is part of the ongoing process of developing the Observatory into a hub for research into crypto-drug markets
Specifically, this project addresses two themes of CHERISH-DE: health and social care and safety and security. The project maximises impact of the unique Challenging Human Environment DE work grown within Swansea, acts as a beacon for an innovative impact-led way of working and develops a generation of ambassadors who will be the sustaining dynamic of DE working. The objectives pursued by this project are: first, to generate the first large-scale communicative and social profiling of transactional behaviour in crypto-drug markets and secondly, to inform policy- making relating to better understanding of drivers of illicit behaviours and effectiveness of law enforcements approaches to crypto-drug market disruptions.
The rationale of this research is the increasing number of drug consumers that are purchasing a variety of psychoactive substances via crypto-drug markets that are estimated to generate US$100 million worth of annual sales worldwide. This proposal takes advantage of improved accessibility of hitherto untapped digital dataset of Dark Net transactions, conducted within approximately 89 crypto-drug markets, including more than 37 forums in which issues of trust are implicitly and explicitly discussed by drug users and sellers.
This research will be the first to integrate methods and theories from: Linguistics, Public Policy, Visual Analytics and Data Visualisation. By undertaking the first interdisciplinary analysis of transactional behaviour in crypto-drug markets, the research will generate findings of direct relevance to units within International Organizations and governments responsible for countering crypto- drug markets.
The significant outcomes of this project are: two journal articles to be submitted, two conference presentations and a networking event with key stakeholders.
The total work plan will take over four months and the total project cost will be £8497.80