Nordic Societal Security initiative

The objective of the multidisciplinary research area 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.

In 2023, the Nordic Societal Security initiative had been active for 10 years.

We marked this by making an overview of results and effects from 10 years of research on societal security.


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

  • Bengt Sundelius (Chair)
  • Marianne Jensen, Research Council of Norway
  • Marjo Kuronen, Research Council of Finland
  • Tine Weiss Thorøe, The Danish Emergency Management Agency
  • Jacob Kringen, Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection
  • Elísabet María Andrésdóttir, Icelandic Centre for Research – Rannís
  • Anna Dubaric Norling, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
  • Hanna-Miina Sihvonen, Ministry of Interior, Finland
  • Sampsa Kaataja, Academy of Finland (Observer)


The Nordic Societal Security research area is funded by the Research Council 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 and NordForsk.

In addition, Dutch Research Council (NWO), Economic and Social Research Council (UK) were part of funding the call on society, integrity and cyber‐security (2016). The Swedish Research Council, Innovation Fund Denmark and the Nordic Council of Ministers were funding partners to the call on Societal Security Beyond COVID-19 (2022). The Nordic Council of Ministers also funded the call on Societal Security and Antimicrobial Resistance (2022).

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

Funded projects


Thomas Jacobsson

Thomas Jacobsson

Senior Adviser