PRIO awarded funding for a Nordic Centre of Excellence

Nordic Centre for Security Technologies and Societal Values will be financed by NordForsk


7 July 2014

​​The NordForsk board has decided to award one of the two new Nordic Centres of Excellence under the Nordic Societal Security Programme to PRIO. NOK 22 million have been allocated to the centre to be headed by J. Peter Burgess from the Dimensions of Security department at PRIO.

The Nordic Societal Security Programme is a multidisciplinary research program co-funded by Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and NordForsk. The aim of the programme is to develop new knowledge about and solutions for the many aspects of societal security affecting the Nordic countries. The research funded by the programme should add value to work already done in the Nordic countries within Societal Security and it will be aimed at the many aspects of societal security affecting the Nordic countries.  

The Nordic Centre for Security Technologies and Societal Values will start in January 2015 for a five year period. PRIO will coordinate the centre and work with 6 other Nordic partners:

Stockholm University / Graduate School of International Studies – Sweden
University of Copenhagen / Centre for Advanced Security Theory – Denmark
Lund University / Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety – Sweden
University of Stavanger / Senter for risiko og samfunnssikkerhet (SEROS) – Norway
Gjøvik University College / Norwegian Information Security Laboratory (NisLab) – Norway
University of Tampere – Finland

The essence of a society lies in its values. Securing a society means securing societal values. At the same time, rapidly emerging technologies are increasingly setting the agenda for security policy. How do societal values govern security technologies in order to assure societal security? How do evolving security technologies influence the value premises at the heart of societal security? The Nordic Centre for Security Technologies and Societal Values will advance research, education and training, industrial strategy and public policy in support of a wider and deeper understanding of the security technology/values interface. The centre will draw together and integrate diverse ideas, capabilities and experiences in order to generate new knowledge, approaches, and solutions in support of the enhancement of Nordic societal security. Societal security is the ability of a society to sustain vital societal functions and secure its populations life, health, needs and basic values under extraordinary stress. In short, societal security is society's ability to remain unchanged in its essence in the event of shock, crisis or catastrophe. The main premise of the Nordic Centre for Security Technologies and Societal Values is that societal security is particularly depending upon two components: security technologies and societal values. It is both a concentration of technologies, providing for human needs and a set of values, based on cultural traditions, religion, language, politics, and economics. Liberal values also play a crucial role in the Nordic self-understanding and the Nordic approach to societal security. These liberal values, which include basic principles such as freedom of expression, equality, privacy, transparency, rule of law, dignity of person, and many more, form the heart of Nordic social life. Society's resilience to unexpected crises is crucially dependent on the well-functioning interplay of these two domains. This proposed Centre of Excellence will gather documentation and analysis of the complex relation between technology and values in the management of threats to societal security, and develop concrete policies and tools to strengthen and enhance the resilience and security of Nordic societies.