Anne Stenersen

Dr Philos Anne Stenersen is a research fellow with FFI’s Terrorism Research Group and currently the head of FFI's Terrorism Research Group. With an academic background in Middle Eastern studies, Arabic and Russian, she has conducted research on militant Islamism, with a focus on CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) terrorism, al-Qaeda’s use of the Internet, and the Taliban insurgency. Dr Stenersen’s recent publications include: "Bomb-Making for Beginners: Inside al Al-Qaeda E-Learning Course," Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 7, No.1, 2013; Al-Qaida’s quest for weapons of mass destruction: The history behind the hype (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag, February 2009); “The Internet: A virtual training camp?” Terrorism and Political Violence (April 2008); “Chem-bio cyber class: Assessing jihadist chemical and biological manuals”;  Jane’s Intelligence Review (September 2007); "Are the Afghan Taliban Involved in International Terrorism?"CTC Sentinel, (September 2009); and "The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan: organization, leadership and worldview"FFI Research Report, No.2010/00359. Dr. Stenersen has a B.A. in Cultural and Social Sciences from the University of Bergen, and an M.Phil in Asian and African Studies from the University of Oslo. She completed her doctoral dissertation in 2012 on the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaeda-Taliban relations.

Office phone: +47 6380 7745

Thomas Hegghammer

Dr Thomas Hegghammer is a senior research fellow at FFI and headed FFI's Terrorism Research Group between 2011 and 2015. He holds a PhD in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University. Dr. Hegghammer specialises in the study of Islamist ideology, Islamism in Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim foreign fighter phenomenon. He is the author of Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and the co-author of al-Qaida in its own words (Harvard University Press, 2008). He is currently writing a book about the ideologue Abdallah Azzam and the Arab fighters in the 1980s Afghanistan war, also for Cambridge University Press.

Email: /
Office phone: +47 6380 7770
Personal webpage:


Brynjar Lia

Dr Philos Brynjar Lia is an Adjunct Research Professor (Professor II) at the Norwegian Defense Research Est. (FFI). Trained in Russian, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, Dr Lia obtained his PhD in contemporary Middle Eastern history at the University of Oslo. He was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University from 2001-2, has spent many years in the Middle East, and has been interviewed and/or cited on terrorism issues by the BBCThe New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time Magazine,, and a number of other international media outlets. Dr Lia is the author of a number of acclaimed books on terrorism, Islamism and the Middle East. They include: The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt 1928-42 (Ithaca Press, 1998); Globalisation and the Future of Terrorism: Patterns and Preditions (Routledge, 2005); A Police Force without a State: A History of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank and Gaza (Ithaca Press, 2006); Building Arafat’s Police: The Politics of International Police Assistance in the Palestinian Territories After the Oslo Agreement (Ithaca Press, 2007), and Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of al-Qaida Strategist Abu Mus'ab al-Suri (London and NY: Hurst & Oxford Univ. Press, 2007/8).
Office phone: +47 6380 7739
Personal website:



Petter Nesser

Dr Philos Petter Nesser is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). He is trained in the areas of Social Science, Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at the University of Oslo (UiO) and The American University in Cairo (AUC). Dr Nesser has conducted extensive research on militant Islamism (jihadism) in Europe for more than a decade while focusing on motivational factors, recruitment and radicalization processes. His work includes well-known research reports such as Jihad in Europe and The Slaying of the Dutch Filmmaker, which have been widely read and cited. Mr Nesser’s recent publications include: "Single Actor Terrorism: Scope, Characteristics and Explanations." Perspectives on Terrorism, 6, no. 6 (2012); "Individual Jihadist Operations in Europe: Patterns and Challenges," CTC Sentinel, 5, no. 1 (2012); 15-18; "Ideologies of Jihad in Europe," Terrorism and Political Violence, 23, no. 2 (2011): 173-200; "Chronology of Jihadism in Western Europe 1994-2007: Planned, Prepared, and Executed Terrorist Attacks"Studies in Conflict & Terrorism,  October 2008; "How Did Europe's Global Jihadis Obtain Training for their Militant Causes?" Terrorism and Political Violence, April 2008; and "Jihadism in Western Europe after the invasion of Iraq", Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, June 2006, Mr Nesser is currently working on a book project dealing with Sunni Islamist militancy in Europe, 1994-2009. Dr Nesser has communicated research findings in Norway and internationally, through academic conferences, speeches before public sector and NGOs and the media.
Office phone: +47 6380 7754

Truls Hallberg Tønnessen

Dr Truls Hallberg Tønnessen is a historian and research fellow at FFI’s Terrorism Research Group. He is currently a visiting scholar at Georgetown University. His key research area includes the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with a special focus on al-Qaida affiliated groups. Dr. Tønnessen wrote his PhD dissertation on the Iraqi insurgency, and defended his thesis entitled "Al-Qaida in Iraq: The Rise, The Fall and the Comeback" at University of Oslo in 2015. He has also conducted research on al-Qaida’s use of the Internet, and on terrorism against aviation and maritime terrorism. Prior to this, Dr. Tønnessen studied History and Arabic at the University of Oslo. His Cand Philol-dissertation, entitled “Islamisation of the Egyptian Student Movement 1970 – 1981,” dealt with the rise of the Egyptian al-Gama`a al-Islamiyya.

Office phone: + 47 6380 7707

Jacob Aasland Ravndal

Mr Jacob Aasland Ravndal is a doctoral candidate with FFIs Terrorism Research Group. He studies far-right extremism with an emphasis on counterjihad ideology and movements. Previously he has conducted research on risk- and vulnerability assessment methodologies related to strategic cybersecurity, intelligence analysis in international peace operations and the protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping. Ravndal holds an M.Phil in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Oslo. 

Office phone: +47 63 80 77 66