About CeSeR

CeSeR is an interdisciplinary centre that aims to promote and link diverse forms of security research across disciplines. It connects the increasing number of University of Edinburgh researchers who work on security, from Social and Political Science, Law, Business, Psychology, Informatics, Divinity, History, Geoscience, Engineering, and elsewhere. CeSeR is based in Politics and International Relations in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh and was established in 2015.

Security was once a matter of war and international relations alone, but has become a pressing issue for potentially any area of research or policy.

CeSeR word cloud 2017

Security challenges have become multi-dimensional and crosscutting, ranging from ‘traditional’ security topics (such as war and other forms of organised violence, military alliances, and conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction) to ‘new’ insecurities (including human security, cyber security, environmental resource conflicts, pandemics, global terrorism, environmental crises, health threats, resource disruption and critical infrastructure breakdown). The multi-dimensional nature of security and insecurity demands the multi-disciplinary perspective that CeSeR provides.

Our aims

  • To promote general research to contribute to our understanding of security, broadly defined (read more about our research themes and publications)
  • To provide leadership to enhance research synergies through collaborative projects around a security research agenda
  • To foster and sustain multi-disciplinary research across the University of Edinburgh and through international networks
  • To engage with policymakers and practitioners to create mutually beneficial knowledge exchange activities

Research themes

Our research on security is broad ranging, but it can be grouped into three core themes:

1. Critical Security

including critical theory, poststructuralism, postcolonialism, the relationship between citizenship, identity and security, and feminist and gender research on security issues;

2. Security Policy

including analysis of decision making on security policy generally and a focus on policies of multi-national peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, human security, civil-military crisis management, government surveillance, and military and humanitarian interventions; and

3. Security Actors and Organizations

in the developed and developing world, including the role of democratic political institutions, social movements and transnational corporations in private security governance, gender security issues in the United Nations, and militaries.


Our research is notable for its methodological and theoretical breadth and pluralism, with qualitative and quantitative research, field research on security practices, interpretative approaches and constructivist, sociological, historical-sociological, institutionalist, feminist, and political psychological approaches.

We are also particularly strong in research on the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.