The Global Security Programme (GSP), established in October 2021 under the leadership of Dr Annette Idler, is an academic programme conducting cutting-edge research on global security in the contemporary world. Taking a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to global security research, GSP focuses on questions related to security dynamics in the context of armed conflict and the global illicit economy, transitions from war to peace, and responses to insecurity. Emphasis is on understanding the connections between localized conflicts and insecurities and global shifts in power and order.

GSP tackles three core themes:

  1. Conflict/crime dynamics: Dr Idler set up the Conflict Platform, now in its 6th year. We bring together ethnographic fieldwork with quantitative analysis, complexity science, visualisation techniques, visual arts, and historical tracing back to the Thirty Years War to study change in conflict in ten cases internationally. We question the notions that armed conflicts are static, coincide with state borders and that there is a binary distinction between political and criminal violence.
  2. War/peace transitions: We host the research initiative “From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace” or: CONPEACE. CONPEACE challenges simplistic dichotomies of war and peace: typically, transitions from war to peace do not constitute linear progressions from violence to safety, but a nonlinear changing security landscape. Founded and directed by Dr Annette Idler, CONPEACE’s interdisciplinary research bridges the gap between marginalized communities, especially border regions, and political power centres, using bottom-up methodology based on intensive fieldwork, conceptual frameworks on non-state order and regular cross-stakeholder fora.
  3. Borders/illicit supply chain networks: We investigate how border regions are key hosts of strategic nodes of global illicit supply chain networks, which Dr Idler explores and examines extensively in her monograph Borderlands Battles (OUP, 2019) and the edited volume Transforming the War on Drugs (OUP, 2021).

GSP explicitly encourages thinking on global security and thus differs from other research programmes that centre on related concepts such as international, national, or human security. Global security research takes as starting point today’s globalized, interconnected world, which calls for an approach to studying security with three distinct features:

  1. Cutting across various levels of analysis, global security research necessitates an innovative theorization of security that accounts for the dynamic interaction of local, national, transnational, and global factors.
  2. Reflecting the world’s global interconnectedness requires considering perspectives from across the world, including both the so-called Global North and Global South. GSP therefore promotes truly global partnerships and networks that extend across the so-called Global North and South.
  3. Understanding global security requires embracing both political entities and people as referent objects of security; global security research thus should invite scholars to critically examine the interdependencies among the international, national, human, and related security concepts.

GSP promotes methodological innovation by moving beyond the qualitative/quantitative binary approach through mixed methods, and embracing arts- and humanities-inspired approaches such as visual methodologies and historical tracing. While grounded in Political Science and International Relations, GSP research draws on insights from other social science disciplines and is in dialogue with the humanities, the arts and STEM.


In 2020 Dr Idler was awarded the Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Innovation Award in the Early Career category and highly commended in the Inspiring Leadership category. Encouraged by this prestigious acknowledgement, Dr Idler and her team decided to integrate several acclaimed research projects on security-related issues under one umbrella with the establishment of GSP. GSP is hosted by Pembroke College and has affiliation with the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations, Department of International Development and Blavatnik School of Government.

How to get in touch:

If you are interested in supporting our mission or would like to explore opportunities to work with the GSP team, please contact globalsecurity@pmb.ox.ac.uk