Externally funded research projects – University of Copenhagen

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External Funding


On-going CAST research projects with external funding.


NordSTEVA, a Nordic Centre of Excellence financed by NordForsk (NOK 22m)
Karen Lund Petersen (team leader), Ole Wæver, Anna Leander, Grahame Thompson, Trine Villumsen Berling, Kristoffer Kjærgaard Christensen
The security of society means society’s ability to remain unchanged in its core values in the event of shock, crisis or catastrophe. Paradoxically however, even though most would agree that societal values are at the core of societal security, it is security technologies that increasingly set the agenda for societal security policies. It is necessary to investigate how emerging security technologies influence the value premises at the heart of societal security. The main objective of NordSTEVA is to map and critically analyse the relationship between security technologies and societal values. This implies exploring, on the one hand, the concentration of technologies that promise to provide for human needs and, on the other, to link these to the cultural traditions – including religion, language, politics, and economics – that make up the societal values that we deem most worthy of protection. 

NordSTEVA has by the beginning of 2016 been transferred from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) to CAST. Professor James Peter Burgess will continue as the project leader. The Centre has been awarded NOK 22 million over a five-year period. 

CAST researchers contribute to NordSTEVA under the heading "Politics of Security". In addition to CAST, the partners in NordSTEVA are:

Please click here for more information about NordSTEVA.


Politics of Postcoloniality and Sustainability in the Arctic (POSUSA)                     Ulrik Pram Gad
The project analyzes the diverse political consequences of 'sustainability' becoming pivotal for politics in the Arctic - without a consensus on what the concept should refer to. Changes to the climate, global power balances, demands for natural resources, and aspirations for self-determination set the stage for new political struggles - in Greenland and across the Arctic. Central to the struggles is the notion of the Arctic as a special place characterized by a nature at once hostile and fragile. Key questions are: How do Arctic sustainability strategies link and prioritize global, regional, national and local scales? What should be made sustainable - in relation to what? How should sustainability be realized - and who should be responsible for realizing the right kind of change? How are struggles over rights and resources reconfigured when the concept of sustainability redefines concepts of identity and development? Funded 2016-19 by the VELUX Foundation.Til toppen


What NATO Knows: Expertise between Technoscience and Practical Experience
Trine Villumsen Berling
The project investigates which types of expertise are valued at the NATO Defence College and how this affects the decision-making processes in NATO as a whole. The project uses participant observation, analysis of course curricula and interviews. The project is funded by the Carlberg Foundation and runs from 2014-2016. 

In 2016 Trine Villumsen Berling has published the article "Tacit Expertise: How the NATO Defense College nurtures an international hub of security knowledge through education". To access the article please click hereTil toppen


Migrants, Minorities, and Muslims in Security Organizations
Ulrik Pram Gad
Muslims with migrant background working in security organizations (police, intelligence, armed forces, MFA) are identified in a series of potentially conflicting ways: First, they are constructed an functional necessity (language skills etc.) in relation to the tasks of the organizations. At the same time they - due to the configuration of present discourses on identity and civilization - occupy doubly charged positions as both emblems of integration and (according to some) potential fifth column agents. The project analyses the identificatory cross-pressures on the individual Muslim minority members working in: What are the pressures to stress, downplay, change, eliminate, or uphold specific identifications? How do the pressures work? And what are the reactions to these pressures, as recounted in qualitative interviews?

This post.doc. project was undertaken by PhD Ulrik Pram Gad, and financed by CAST. Publications in 2015-16.

Til toppen


Greenland as a case of Postcolonialism
Ulrik Pram Gad
While the Arctic seems to gradually open up in regards to commerce,
minerals extraction and possible international conflict, Greenland continues to
be decolonizing only in slow-motion. By analysing how Greenland is different as
a case of post-colonialism, this project will contribute both to our
understanding of Greenland's approach to new possibilities and to the
development of postcolonial theory. The project analyses the interplay between
arctic materiality, varying versions of the Danish imperial project as well as
Greenlandic resistance, by zooming in on shifting linkages between space, time
and agency.

The post.doc. project is financed by Carlsbergfondet. Publications in
2016-18.

Til toppen


Security Communication: Between Secrets and Speech
Karen Lund Petersen, Myriam Dunn Cavelty, Vibeke Schou Tjalve and Rens van Munster
This project, financed by the Danish Research Counsil (1,8 mio Dkr), is a particular bureaucratic practice that must increasingly balance the aim of information sharing against the need for secrecy. By comparing the organization of security communication in Danish, Swiss, British and U.S. intelligence agencies, the study aims to show how and why communication capabilities and thus opportunities for citizen involvement vary.Til toppen


Images and International Security 
Lene Hansen, Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Megan MacKenzie and Michael C. Williams
The research project ‘Images and International Security’ examines the role images play in world politics. Images circulate rapidly, reaching audiences across the globe. Images can help create conflicts, they document atrocities, but they also show how former enemies can be reunited. Images “speak” security, but governments, diplomats, journalists and activists compete to define what exactly images “say”. ‘Images and International Security’ is devoted to building new theory and empirical insights on why and how images influence international relations. 

The project is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (Grant ID: DFF – 1327 – 00056B). 

For further information see www.images.ku.dkTil toppen


Cyber Security in Practice: Public-Private Partnership in the Danish Cyber Defense
Karen Lund Petersen, Kristoffer Kjærgaard Christensen
The purpose of the project is to explore the possibilities and challenges for public-private partnerships (PPPs) with regard to cyber security and, based on this, develop recommendations for a best practice for the development of PPPs as part of the Danish cyber defence. The strength of partnerships lies in that they can quickly and flexibly adapt to new demands and requirements. This is important, especially regarding new and changing threats such as cyber threats. The demand for flexibility, prompt action and the inclusion of private companies is difficult to incorporate in the traditional bureaucratic procedures for democratic control of security politics. It is, however, vital to a democratic society, like Denmark, that partnerships regarding security politics takes the general public  seriously and hence that the shape and structure of the partnerships are as transparent as possible. The project will thus focus how a new practice for partnerships may take both the effectiveness of the partnerships and the democratic concerns into account.