The research programme

Societies at Risk (SaR) takes a risk-analysis perspective, seeing the expected impact of armed conflict as a function of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, and consider effects at both the macro and micro level on economies, health, water security, political institutions, human rights, forced migration, and gender equality.

It has six key objectives:

  1. To assess the impact of armed conflict for a population of a given combination of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability across a set of outcome metrics, such as mortality, malnutrition, and economic growth, explicitly taking how these effects interact and reinforce each other into account.
  2. To estimate the hazard of conflict by applying the insights of research on the causes of war.
  1. To research the extent to which populations are exposed to conflict as a function of distance to it in terms of time and space.
  2. To assess the vulnerability of exposed populations to adverse impacts, conflict and climate-related and natural disasters.
  3. To forumlate scenario simulations and cost-benefit analyses based on the results of the research. This will make use of a forward-looking, live, risk-assessment system that will produce regularly updated evaluations of expected impacts globally across locations.  This system will draw on the established efforts of the Uppsala Conflict Data programme (UCDP) and the Violence Early-Warning System (ViEWS) developed in Uppsala with funding from an ERC Advanced Grant.
  4. To produce free-standing estimates of conflict exposure and an index of vulnerability to shocks.

To coordinate the programme and to keep it coherent, the programme will combine a set of cross-cutting activities that bind the various efforts together (called CCs) and a set of outcome-specific work packages (referred to as WPs), centering on a specific academic discipline and directed by a specialist. More about these can be found on the dedicated pages. 


  1. Ghobarah, H. A., Huth, P. K. & Russett, B. M. Civil wars kill and maim people–Long after the shooting stops. American Political Science Review 97, 189–202 (2003).
  2. Collier, P. et al. Breaking the Conflict Trap. Civil War and Development Policy (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003).
  3. World Bank Group & United Nations. Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Prevent- ing Violent Conflict. Main Messages and Emerging Policy Directions (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2017).
  4. Altare, C. & Guha-Sapir, D. The Complex Emergency Database: A Global Repository of Small-Scale Surveys on Nutrition, Health and Mortality. PLoS ONE 9 (ed Welte, A.) e109022 (Oct. 21, 2014).
  5. IPCC. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability 2014.
  6. Joint Research Centre. INFORM Severity Index JRC Technical Report. Ispra: European Commission, Joint Research Centre. 2020.
  7. IPCC (eds Field, C. et al.) (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Last modified: 2022-04-13