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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Security, risk, culture, anthropology, ethnography, defence, business continuity, resilience, behavioural science, qualitative research, applied social science

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Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr Mils Hills is senior lecturer in Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security at the University of Northampton's Faculty of Business and Law, alongside his role as head of the MBA defence pathway ('top-up'), the leading product in the UK for serving and veteran members of the UK armed forces. 

Mils graduated with a PhD (1998) and MA (Hons) (1995) in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. He was the first anthropologist to work in government. He joined the research agency of the Ministry of Defence in 1998. Within a couple of years, he rose from being a contributing researcher in the area of Information Warfare to leading the national research capability in targeting / defending decision-making and business processes (Information Operations). Mils led the first social network analysis (SNA) and open source exploitation activities in the UK. He was later seconded to the Cabinet Office for several years, helping establish the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, building the resilience and security of UK plc. as well as supporting the development of foreign policy, legislation and operational interventions in civilian, defence, intelligence and other activities. Notable firsts included designing new capabilities, testing the COBR national crisis management facility and delivering support to Prime Ministerial Special Representatives.

Using proprietary methods informed by his academic and applied research, Mils worked in sensitive and highly classified commissions to management boards and Permanent Secretaries across all Departments, but notably:

  • 10 Downing Street
  • the intelligence agencies
  • the Governor of the Bank of England
  • the Houses of Parliament, and
  • the Royal Household.

Increasingly, this work also involved co-ordination with private sector partners. During much of this period, he remained the UK research capability head for Information Operations research.

Believing in the market value of his approach, he co-founded the consultancy Analytic Red LLP which worked with both government and commercial clients between 2005-10. Returning to academia in November 2010, he took an interim post at the University of Leicester (reviving a multi-million pound distance-learning MSc) and then a senior lectureship at Coventry University (Global Strategy), before joining Northampton Business School in 2012 as Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management.

At Northampton, Mils has led bids and delivered consultancy.  In September 2013, he was appointed Associate Professor in Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security whilst also being Programme Leader for the distance-learning MBAplus and leader of the Critical Issues module on the MBAplus programme. 

Mils is an external Assessor and examiner for several qualifications and research programmes, as well as leading his own research through secondment via the Institute for Logistics, Infrastructure, Supply and Transport (LIST). Mils is passionate about opening direct access to higher education for the UK armed forces and others, as well as working with media, political, advisory and strategic bodies to deliver distinctive commentary, analysis and services.

Research Interests

Mils has been involved in a wide range of research projects during his civil service, consultancy and academic career, with his main focus in the following subject areas:

  • Information Warfare (IW) / Information Operations (IO)
  • Open Source Intelligence exploitation
  • Cyber-warfare
  • Targeting & defending decision-makers
  • Scenario-planning and scenario-testing for policy, operational and strategic decision-takers


Jacquie Bridgman; Economics, International Development, International Relations and Politics

Doctoral Research Project.


Graham Flood-Hunt; Economics, International Development, International Relations and Politics

Enhancing security risk management training for humanitarian workers, developers and peacekeepers.


Gary Latta; Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour

Developing a sustainable and adaptable model for the process of nationalisation within a business context in a post-conflict environment: Evolving a model from South Iraq.

Teaching Interests

Mils currently teaches across a wide range of Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in Northampton Business School: ranging from BUS1005 (Business in Context) through strategic Management BUS3005 to the Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Mils leads the Programme for the Online MBA.​

External positions

Visiting Professor

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Hills, M.

Project: ResearchUK Government


Hills, M., Atkinson, L. & Teasdale Brown, T.


Project: Internal FundBig Ideas Fund 2019

Research Output

Cyber Attacks on ROK & US

Hills, M., 2019, Hybrid Threats : A Strategic Communications Perspective. Latvia: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence , p. 104-105 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter

  • Hybrid Threats A Strategic Communications Perspective: 2007 Cyber Attacks on Estonia

    Hills, M., 2019, Hybrid Threats: A Strategic Communications Perspective. Heap, B. (ed.). NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence , Vol. 2. p. 52-53 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter

    Open Access
  • Parasites, Energy and Complex Systems: Generating Novel Intervention Options to Counter Recruitment to Suicide Terrorism

    Hills, M. & Mehta, A., 17 Oct 2019, Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application. Lawson, G. & Stedmon, A. (eds.). 1 ed. CRC Press, p. 225-232 8 p. (Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism).

    Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter

  • Social Exclusion, Transport & Austerity Measures: When Policy Meets Reality

    Bridgman, J., Fassam, L. & Hills, M., 28 May 2019, (Accepted/In press). 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper

  • Asymmetric thinking: anthropology and its potential for career development

    Hills, M., 23 Apr 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper

  • Enhancing evidence-based research within law-enforcement intelligence practice

    Hills, M., 2 Mar 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper

  • Improving incident detection through capturing new behaviour analytics

    Hills, M., 20 Feb 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper

  • Activities

    NMiTE - New Model in Technology Education university (External organisation)

    Mils Hills (Chair)

    1 May 20191 May 2022

    Activity: Membership of a Board, Committee, Council or NetworkMembership of boardResearch

    EPSRC fellow (secondment) Connected Places Catapult (formerly Transport Systems Catapult): cybersecurity in the transport sector

    Mils Hills (Consultant)

    1 Mar 20181 Sep 2019

    Activity: ConsultancyInnovation/Business/Enterprise

    Houses of Parliament (Publisher)

    Mils Hills (Reviewer)

    13 Nov 2017

    Activity: Publication Peer-review and Editorial WorkPublication Peer-reviewResearch


    Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats - reviewer of bids

    Mils Hills (Consultant)

    2017 → …

    Activity: ConsultancyWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-governmental organisationInnovation/Business/Enterprise

    Subject Matter Expert - behavioural science

    Mils Hills (Consultant)


    Activity: ConsultancyWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-governmental organisationInnovation/Business/Enterprise

    Upstream operations: resilience to malign intent – ‘Analogical reasoning’ for new options to detect and engage

    Mils Hills (Speaker)

    9 Dec 2015

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


    Supply Chain Food Crime & Fraud: A Systematic Literature Review of Food Criminality

    Liam Fassam (Author), Samir Dani (Author) & Mils Hills (Author)

    5 Jul 20158 Jul 2015

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsSymposiumResearch