Nicholai Lidow was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation in 2011-2012. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University in 2011. His research focuses on the creation of social order in the midst of state collapse and the organization of armed groups. His dissertation, "Violent Order: Rebel Organization and Liberia's Civil War," explains variation in rebel abusiveness and group factionalization by focusing on the principal agent relationships that exist between international financiers, rebel leaders, and their top commanders. He tests the theory through a variety of methods, including extensive fieldwork and an original dataset of changes in crop area derived through remote sensing. During his post-doc, Lidow focused on state-building and the economic costs of insecurity in Somalia. After leaving academia he started a business, FieldPulse Research, that aimed to conduct real-time surveys for program evaluations, market research, and humanitarian monitoring. Currently he is working for a startup called groundtruth.io, which aims to bring together data from developing countries into a unified, searchable database.