Universiteit Leiden

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Institute of Security and Global Affairs

The Hague is the international city of peace, justice and security – making it the logical place for the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) to reach partners from ministries, governments and NGOs with research into issues relating to security.


The academics from ISGA draw on a range of disciplines to develop an independent perspective on social questions. The institute has several different research groups:

  • Terrorism and Political Violence
  • Cyber Security Governance
  • Diplomacy and Global Affairs
  • Governance of Crises
  • Intelligence and Security
  • Physical Violence and Public Order


The researchers in the Terrorism and Political Violence group place an emphasis on academic work, but also devote their energies to studies with a greater focus on the practice. This helps them paint a more accurate picture of modern forms of terrorism and radicalisation. Such studies vary from home-grown jihadism to people who have gone to fight in Syria and, more recently, the rise of extreme-right violence. Whatever form the research takes, the top priority is maximising its social impact. The Institute achieves this not only through its teaching but also by producing publications for professionals, entering into the public debate about terrorism-related issues and providing courses through the Centre for Professional Learning.

Cyber Security Governance

Researchers from the Cyber Security Governance group study the influence of cyberspace on society. Cyber security deals not just with the security of networks and systems, but also with social values and legislation in the digital world, the impact of incidents and the integrity and reliability of content on the internet. The group’s major projects include The Hague Program for Cyber Norms and research into accidental errors.

Diplomacy and Global Affairs

The ‘Diplomacy and Global Affairs’ research group studies cross-border policy and administration, focusing in particular on the role of international organisations and institutions. The researchers analyse institutional interactions at a global, regional, national and local level, looking into the current shifts in geopolitical patterns and attitudes and studying regional integration and disintegration, and the impact of these on citizens.

Another important theme for this research group is war and peace. This includes issues such as diplomacy, negotiations, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, international law and the prevention of atrocities.

Crisis Governance

The Crisis Governance research group looks at how public administration, public and private organisations and political players function at moments of crisis. This research gives rise to important organisational issues such as central governance and accountability, as well as policy issues such as large-scale reform in response to crises. When is it beneficial to centralise the management of the emergency services? What helps organisations learn from crises? Do crises lead to policy change? 

Intelligence and Security Services

The Intelligence and Security research group studies intelligence and security services, at both a national and an international level. How do they operate? How are they embedded in political life and society? How does the system of oversight work? The academics use techniques including historical research into leadership in the sphere of intelligence and the role of intelligence work in counterterrorism efforts.

Physical Violence and Public Order

The Physical Violence and Public Order group studies violent behaviour and the influence of violence on public order in a range of spheres, ranging from gun violence and domestic abuse to organised crime. The Violence Research Initiative brings together expertise in research into violence, with the aim of sharing knowledge about violence prevention, social factors that increase violence and sentences for violent offenders.

Knowledge sharing and education

ISGA researchers publish articles in leading scientific journals by both academic and popular publishers, and they maintain an active presence in the media, on social media and in online education. The Institute takes every opportunity to engage students with its research, not least by offering them the opportunity to make their own active contribution to increasing academic knowledge.

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