First series of Security Network Seminars

CeSeR organised a series of idea-exchanging events on security broadly defined.

CeSeR global health, climate, and conflict security networking seminars

Andrew Neal, CeSeR Co-Director

The Centre for Security Research held three interdisciplinary academic networking seminars at Summerhall over May and June, supported by the Institute for Academic Development. Following our aims, the seminars connected researchers from across the university working on diverse aspects of ‘security’, in this case global health, climate, and international conflict.

We used a variety of unconventional networking activities, such as academic speed dating and Post-It note brainstorming. Coupled with the unusual venue, this helped us get talking and thinking. Each session ended with a mock grant writing exercise to spur ideas for future collaborations.

The first seminar on global health was co-organised with Liz Grant, Director of the Global Health Academy. It featured introductory talks on pandemics and anti-microbial resistance from Sue Welburn, Luciana Brondi, and Till Bachmann. Participants then moved to stations around the room to comment on various questions with Post-Its, such as the unintended consequences of health security policies, and alternative responses.

The second seminar on international conflict was co-organised with Niall Whelehan from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, and also featured several literature scholars including the organisers of Edinburgh ‘Spy Week’. Again, academic speed dating helped us get to know each other, and our Post-It note exercise prompted interesting discussions about the meaning of ‘international conflict’ and contrasting disciplinary approaches.

The third and final seminar on climate security was co-organised with Paul Palmer of Geosciences. Questions considered included: ‘What does climate security mean to you?’, ‘What are the main concepts my discipline uses to study climate security?’, and ‘What does my discipline need most from other disciplines in the study of climate security?’. Our mock grant-writing exercise threw out interesting ideas, such as on the relationship between population modelling and international regulation.

The seminars were a big step in our efforts to identify and connect security research across disciplines. They put the building blocks of future collaborations in place.