Nordic Societal Security Programme

Nordic Societal Security Programme

The Nordic Societal Security Programme is a multidisciplinary research programme designed to generate new knowledge about what is required to ensure the safety and security of the Nordic countries' inhabitants.


The objective of the multidisciplinary research programme on societal security is to develop new knowledge about and solutions for the many aspects of societal security affecting the Nordic countries. Given that today's societal security challenges are transboundary by nature, there is much to be gained from Nordic and international collaboration.


Societal security comprises the ability of a society to sustain vital societal functions and secure its population’s life, health, needs and basic values under extraordinary stresses, known as crises. This research programme addresses questions of vulnerabilities, resilience and capabilities for crisis management related to prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

The Nordic countries have cooperated closely in the area of societal security for decades. In recent years, this tradition of practical and problem-focused cooperation across national borders has been strengthened through several political initiatives, e.g. the Haga Declaration in 2009 and the 2011 Nordic Declaration of Solidarity.

A Nordic expert group appointed by NordForsk in 2012 was assigned the task of exploring the prospects for Nordic research cooperation in the field of societal security. Based on the recommendations of that group, the Nordic Societal Security Programme was established in April 2013. 


Following the programme's first call for proposals with deadline in January 2014, two Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) were granted a total of NOK 45 million:

The second call for proposals is a collaboration between NordForsk, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – one of seven research councils in the UK, providing a broad international focus. Deadline was in March 2016. Researchers based at institutions located in Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were eligible to apply for funding for collaborative research projects on society, integrity and cyber‐security.

Four projects were awarded a total of 4.2 million Euro.

  • Police Detectives on the TOR-network (A Study on Tensions Between Privacy and Crime Fighting), Project Leader: Wouter Stol, Open University, The Netherlands
  • Taking Surveillance Apart?: Accountability and Legitimacy of Internet Surveillance and Expanded Investigatory Powers, Project Leader: Megan O’Neill, University of Dundee, UK
  • Enablement Besides Constraints: Human Security and a Cyber Multi-disciplinary Framework in the European High North (ECoHuCy), Project Leader: Kamrul Hossain, University of Lapland, Finland
  • Governance of Health Data in Cyberspace, Project Leader: Jane Kaye, University of Oxford, UK

Programme Committee

NordForsk administers the programme in cooperation with a programme committee comprised of representatives from the funding partners:

  • Bengt Sundelius, Professor, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Sweden)
  • Ane Marte Rasmussen, The Research Council of Norway (Chair)
  • Berit Berg Tjørhom, Special Adviser, The Research Council of Norway (Norway)
  • Timo Kolu - Senior Adviser - Academy of Finland (Finland)
  • Ivar Johannes Knai, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (Norway)
  • Kristmundur Þór Ólafsson, Senior Adviser, Icelandic Centre for Research - Rannís (Iceland)
  • Åsa Fritzon, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Observer, Sweden)
  • Gabriela Nava, ESRC (UK) (society, integrity and cyber‐security call)
  • Beate Volker, Professor, NWO (The Netherlands) (society, integrity and cyber‐security call)


The Nordic Societal Security Programme is currently being funded by the Academy of Finland, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, the Research Council of Norway, the Icelandic Centre for Research – RANNIS, and NordForsk.

In addition to the Nordic funders, ESRC and NWO are cofounding the call on society, integrity and cyber‐security, and are represented in the Programme Committee when matters regarding this call are addressed.

Financing is contributed to a common pot to ensure that it is the best research, independent of nationality, that is awarded funding.


Nordic Centre of Excellence on Resilience and Societal Security (NORDRESS)
Governance of Health Data in Cyberspace
Police Detectives on the TOR-network (A Study on Tensions Between Privacy and Crime Fighting)
Taking surveillance apart?: Accountability and Legitimacy of Internet Surveillance and Expanded Investigatory Powers
Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values (NordSTEVA)
Enablement besides Constraints: Human security and a Cyber Multi-disciplinary framework in the European High North (ECoHuCy)
Contact person
Lone Jessen - Senior Adviser
Contact person Lone Jessen
Senior Adviser
Work +47 901 98 037
Anna Herou - Senior Adviser
Contact person Anna Herou
Senior Adviser
Work +47 480 63 139