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:
- Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values (NordSTEVA) – J. Peter Burgess, Centre for Advanced Security Theory (CAST), University of Copenhagen
- Nordic Centre of Excellence on Resilience and Societal Security (NORDRESS) – Guðrún Gísladóttir, Institute for Sustainability Studies (ISS), University of Iceland
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 nvestigatory 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
The third call for proposals resulted in three projects:
- Nordic Multiagency Approaches to Handling Extremism: Policies, Perceptions and Practices
- Gender equality, Diversity and Societal Security
- The challenge from terrorism in the Nordic countries: An analysis of citizens' reactions, policy responses and legitimacy
NordForsk administers the programme in cooperation with a programme committee comprised of representatives from the funding partners:
- Bengt Sundelius (Chair)
- Berit Berg Tjørhom, Research Council of Norway
- Timo Kolu, Academy of Finland
- Tine Weiss Thorøe, The Danish Emergency Management Agency
- Marit Endresen, Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection
- Egill Þór Níelsson, Icelandic Centre for Research – Rannís
- Åsa Fritzon, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
- Hanna-Miina Sihvonen, Ministry of Interior, Finland
The Nordic Societal Security Programme is currently being funded by the Academy of Finland, Ministry of the Interior in Finland, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, the Research Council of Norway, the Icelandic Centre for Research – RANNIS, The Danish Emergency Management Agency, Dutch Research Council (NWO), Economic and Social Research Council (UK) 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.