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26 Research and Education Grants in 2020 for the Institute of Security and Global Affairs

Whilst 2020 has been an unusual and taxing year for colleagues at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), the Institute nevertheless can look back on an impressive range of successful grant applications during the previous year. This impressive result was achieved on top of excellent results in teaching despite the COVID-19 online teaching transitions.

Erwin Muller: 'The Faculty is proud of all the research teams who successfully submitted their grant proposals and societally relevant research ideas'.

A remarkable achievement

In 2020, ISGA researchers attracted a total of 26 research grants, from a wide range of second stream and third stream funding bodies. This includes the Institute’s and Faculty’s first successful acquisition of a Horizon 2020 consortium grant as Lead Institution – Tahir Abbas will lead as Principal Investigator the project “DRIVE” (Determining multi-level led causes and testing intervention designs to reduce radicalisation, extremism and political violence in north-western Europe through social inclusion). Other second stream funding includes a successful NWO-SIA Grant on Integrated Learning for Daan Weggemans, an ERC Starter Grant on Global Justice and Remittances by Mathew Hoye, a KNAW-NIAS individual fellowship on the CIA for Simon Willmetts and a successful award of a multimillion Euros award on deradicalization from the European Commission in cooperation with the ICCT.

Furthermore, ISGA researchers were once again extremely successful in attracting a wide range of smaller and substantial third-stream funding from Dutch Ministries or international third stream funding bodies, such as Bart Schuurman’s grant from the Canadian Federal government on terrorism.

In addition, it is also noteworthy that ISGA researchers were successful in attracting five major EU-funded education-related grants, one NWO education grant and a variety of education-related grants from third stream funding – underlining ISGA’s strong track-record in acquiring policy-relevant, fundamental research as well as education-related grants. 

Joachim Koops, Scientific Director of ISGA stressed that 'this is a remarkable achievement in times of enormous work pressure due to the COVID-19 disruption. My sincere thanks and admiration for the successful grant application teams.' Erwin Muller, Dean of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs remarked that 'this is an extraordinary range of highly relevant and innovative research projects. The Faculty is proud of all the research teams who successfully submitted their grant proposals and societally relevant research ideas'.

The outstanding year of grant acquisition was not only due to the excellent ideas and hard work of ISGA researchers, but also the excellent support of ISGA’s growing grant support unit (including Astrid de Vries, Alisa Kerschbaum, Audrey Vrolijk and led by Marc Bosma) as well as the excellent work of Marieke Liem, who has been the first post-holder of the newly created position of Institute Grant Coordinator.

The 26 Grants acquired during 2020 include: 

A: Second Stream Funding from National Scientific Bodies and EU grants

1. NWO Grant - Integrated Learning: From the Lecture Hall to Practice and Back Again,  Daan Weggemans 

Integrated Learning centres on the combination of knowledge obtained by students in the classroom - both methodological as theoretical - and 'real-life' cases provided by existing organisations that need to be solved. How can students contribute to stimulating behavioural changes that will benefit a safer society? This project focusses on the further development of an innovative form of education using this question as a starting point. Students learn important and relevant skills and the obtained insights and developed artefacts will be 'returned' to the relevant organisations so they can be integrated in the (local) security context.

2. NIAS Individual Fellowship (KNAW): A cultural History of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – Simon Willmetts

This project aims to explore the public life of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Though intelligence services are typically regarded as intrinsically secretive, largely absent from the public domain, the CIA has often found itself at the centre of major political and cultural debates.  Politicians, conspiracy theorists, novelists, filmmakers, journalists and other public actors have positioned the CIA as a lightning-rod for wider public anxieties regarding secrecy and US foreign policy.  These ideas about the CIA have had a profound impact.  They have helped determine Presidential elections, brought about major official enquiries, undermined public trust in government, and mobilized both left and right-wing political movements.  This project therefore seeks to understand the history of the CIA within its wider political and cultural context.

3. Horizon 2020 DRIVE - Determining multi-level led causes and testing intervention designs to reduce radicalisation, extremism and political violence in north-western Europe through social inclusion by Dr. Tahir Abbas (Principal Investigator) 

 In recent years, research on extremist identity politics and political violence in Europe has focused on patterns of violent radical Islamism and far-right radicalisation among young men. This research has brought to the fore problems of identity, belonging, inter-generational change, alienation, marginalisation, inequality, masculinity and miseducation. These findings point to matters of space and place that compound existing exclusionary discourses based on ethnicity, religious identity, socio-economic status and politics. Moreover, far right movements and violent Islamists not only have similar breeding grounds but they arguably also feed off each other’s rhetoric and activism in particular local urban areas. However, there are significant gaps in understanding the interplay between these different forms of local extremism, as no study has yet to investigate the synergies or reciprocity between Islamist and radical right extremism in a comparative European context. Moreover, there is no detailed understanding of the relationship between the individual and structural factors that also take into consideration the psychosocial circumstances affecting already vulnerable people. There remains a fundamental lack of appreciation of the wider struggles of social inclusion that affect the radicalisation experience in urban areas. It is a central concern for all vulnerable people concerning radicalisation, where questions of personal and political identity combined with issues of intergenerational change affect the paths individuals can take. DRIVE will produce a range of policy-orientated research findings to better understand how exactly social inclusion impacts on radicalisation for far right and Islamist groups in different parts of North-Western Europe, the targeted groups and geographical focus of this project. The findings from this project will help to determine European-wide policy solutions that concentrate on social inclusion in de-radicalisation initiatives. Leiden University will lead this project in partnership with the University of Cambridge, Aarhus University, University of Liverpool, Oslo University, Umea University, ConnectFutures, and Fryshuset 

4. ERC Starter Grant “Just Remit”- Global Justice and Remittances (Funded by ERC) by Matthew Hoye 

 Today, 1 billion people are directly involved in the global remittances economy, with migrants potentially remitting upwards of €1 trillion annually. That money directly and efficiently addresses ailments commonly associated with global injustice, such as poverty, malnutrition, and inadequate healthcare. But despite overwhelming evidence that remittances provide essential lifelines for the global poor, remittances are, strikingly, marginalia in liberal global justice debates. This project confronts what amounts to €1 trillion and 1-billion-person gaps in the literature. In doing so, this project reveals and overcomes various theoretical and empirical challenges. Theoretically, it reveals that liberal global justice theory is hindered by: (1) conceptual path dependencies and belief biases, (2) negativity biases regarding the values of remittances, and (3) a disregard for the agency of the global poor. It also exposes empirical limitations in how remittances are studied as either global economic flows or local sociological phenomenon. These two perspectives often foreclose considerations of the translocal ethics of care and interdependency that generate remittances. The project unfolds in three steps. First, it sets out to critically evaluate contemporary global justice theory from the perspective of remittances and the agency of the global poor. Second, it undertakes an ambitious and pioneering ethnographic study of the remitter/receiver relationship to uncover the ethical, moral, cultural, and religious practices hidden below the economic surface of remittances. Third, it theorizes global justice in a new way, one informed by ethnographic findings and non-liberal moral and political philosophies, including African political philosophy, Mouridism, care ethics, and neorepublicanism.

5. Technical Support to Prevent and Counter Radicalisation, for Policy Makers and Researchers: Support and Exchanges on Radicalisation” (European Commission – DG Home) in cooperation with ICCT; Tahir Abbas

This consortium includes 16 partners from 9 member states, ranging from public authorities to private companies, renowned academics, think-tanks and foundations active in preventing and fighting against violent radicalisation. The consortium is led by CIVIPOL and ISGA will cooperate closely with ICCT in this project.

B: Second Stream Education-related Research or Implementation Grants (EU)

6. European Union Strategic Partnership “Cybersecurity for Psychology” by Tommy van Steen (funded by the European Union Erasmus +)

The main objectives of the project are:

1. Establish cybersecurity as a career path for psychology graduates through awareness raising and training activities

2. Reduce skills gap in cybersecurity by creating ready-to-use teaching and training concepts as well as a research and training agenda

3. Develop a set of international state-of-the art modules, addressing educational and labour-market needs

4. As a long-term objective, a network of cybersecurity psychologists across Europe is initiated and keeps growing

This project will utilize approaches to create a comprehensive overview over the state of cybersecurity psychology, will generate teaching and training content targeted at attracting

psychology students towards cybersecurity, conduct transnational summer schools to train first batches of cybersecurity psychology experts and share knowledge on (inter-)national platforms.

7. Jean Monnet European Network on Cyber Diplomacy (CYBDIPLO) by Joachim Koops with Tatiana Tropina  (funded by the European Union Erasmus +)

CYBDIPLO aims to study cyberdiplomacy practices and cultures and build diplomatic knowledge and expertise in cyberdiplomacy within the EU and key partner countries. While the EU is developing its cyberdiplomacy culture and practices, these new aspects of the EU’s role have not been extensively studied or conceptualised. Existing projects (e.g. EUCyberDirect) have focused on bridging the gap between research and the policy world in this area, but there have been no sustained attempts to build education, courses, training and a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary cyberdiplomacy research agenda. In light of this, CYDIPLO will develop a research, teaching and learning network in the emerging field of cyberdiplomacy and bring together scholars, experts and practitioners in order to assess how

cyberdiplomatic initiatives and approaches are applied at the national, regional and global levels across major issue areas.

8. European Union Strategic Partnership on a “European Network of Teaching Excellence (E-NOTE) by Joachim Koops with Daan Weggemans and Clara Cotroneo (funded by the European Union Erasmus + )

Despite the Bologna process and the ambitious proposal of the creation of a European Education Area with the aim of strengthening teaching and mobility efforts, approaches to training and reward schemes of professors, higher education teachers and doctoral supervisors are still mostly confined to single institutions or national policies and lack international transparency and comparability. Whilst national approaches have made significant progress, higher education training remains fragmented and the recognition of higher education teaching qualifications schemes for universities lack consistency at the European level. What is needed in the long-term is a truly European approach to promoting and rewarding minimum standards of teaching excellence. Therefore, the overarching objective of the European Network on Teaching Excellence (E-note) is to contribute to more transparency, coherence and convergence in the field of the training, promotion and reward of higher education teaching skills by developing a blueprint for a common higher education teaching qualification scheme, including a comprehensive mapping exercise, best practice guide, elements of a common training curriculum and a self-assessment tool as well as evaluation guidelines. The network will examine best practices in BA and MA teaching as well as PhD supervision in both offline and online contexts.

9. European University Alliance on Wellbeing (EUniWell) by Joachim Koops and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn and Clara Cotroneo (Lead on the Research Area on Individual and Societal Wellbeing) 

ISGA’s Joachim Koops chaired the working and grant writing group for the research area on individual and societal well-being (Security, Safety and Human Rights) and worked together with Jeanine de Roy can Zuidewijn for Leiden University’s European University Alliance application. The bid, granted in 2020, brings together Leiden University and 6 university partners as well as more than 100 NGO, businesses and city representatives to create a European University of Well-being (EUniWell). Projects include innovations in international teaching, research on well-being and societal challenges and the aim of an integrated joint campus.

10. Jean Monnet Summer School on the European Union in Global Governance by Madeleine Hosli 

The Summer School, supported by the European Union’s Jean Monnet program, is titled ‘The European Union, the United Nations and Global Governance’. It will be offered at Leiden University in The Hague in June 2021, 2022 and 2023. The Summer School is open to talented Master-level and PhD students. It focuses on a range of topics that are relevant to interactions between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) and the EU’s role within current (changing) patterns of global governance. Among the themes covered are the EU and interactions with the UN and its various agencies, programs and funds; the EU and global security governance; the EU and the future of multilateralism; global climate governance; the EU and migration policy; and the EU and global economic, fiscal and tax governance. Seminars and lectures are given by a team of well-known scholars (from Leiden University and beyond) in European Integration, International Organization and Global Governance. The Summer School will consist of a blend of lectures, seminars, short presentations by the participating students, a simulation game and a visit to EU institutions in Brussels (‘live’ if possible, else remotely). Participants will be selected based on academic performance and motivation to attend the Summer School.  

C: Research or Education Grants from Third Stream Funding (Ministries or other national or international funding bodies)

11. Major grant from the National Police - Joery Matthys, Vlad Dinca-Niculescu

ISGA received a major grant from the Dutch National Police to establish research and teaching activities on policing and society. The funding will last for 4 years, will include funding for a PhD, Post-Doc and Professor in Police Studies.


12. Major grant from Canadian Federal Government on Terrorism Research – Bart Schuurman

At the end of March 2020, the ‘Community Resilience Fund’, a programme of the Canadian federal government, approved a research grant for Dr. Bart Schuurman of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The funds will be used to study why most people who radicalise do not actually become involved in terrorist violence. The grant was used to hire Sarah Louise Carthy as a Post-Doctoral research,  who will conduct 2,5 years of research on cases from North America. The Canadian funds complement the Veni-grant that Bart received in July 2019 [from NWO] and enables a larger study to be made of non-involvement in terrorist violence.

13. Detectie van Ondermijning met AI Technology (DETONATE) – Detection of Criminal Subversion through AI Technology – funded by the Dutch Institute for Technology, Safety and Security and Awarded the DITTS Security Atelier Award – Joery Matthys, Vlad Dinca-Niculescu and Pieter Tops

The project will assess the role of AI Technologies to tackle criminal subversion activities.

14. Toegang to Remote Access (CBS) by Bibi van den Berg 

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in the Netherlands is the largest data collector of the country. For the past decades, it has been CBS’s policy to provide access to (some of) the data it has collected for research purposes. The underlying idea is that these fine-grained, high-quality data can help researchers contribute to addressing important social, societal and economic challenges. For the past decade or so, CBS has offered a ‘Remote Access’ environment through which researchers can get access to its microdata. However, openness and remote access to microdata also leads to cybersecurity and privacy risks. Therefore, in the spring of 2020 CBS invited an external evaluation committee, consisting of six scientists from different disciplinary backgrounds, to investigate what the cybersecurity and privacy risks were surrounding this system, and what choices CBS could make to make this environment more secure, while at the same time continuing to offer this societally relevant service. The evaluation committee wrote a total of 5 reports in the period from 1 March until 31 October 2020. The results of this project will be sent to Parliament for review.

15. Evaluatieonderzoek Tijdelijke wet beraadslagen en besturen (BZK) by Bibi van den Berg

When the COVID-19 crisis hit the Netherlands in the spring of 2020, local governments (municipalities, provinces and water boards) could no longer have physical meetings and needed to find ways to ‘govern at a distance’. A temporary law was written that described how local governments could meet and govern for the duration of the crisis. It describes processes and procedures involving digital meetings and voting procedures. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (BZK) decided it wanted to evaluate the applicability and practical implementation of this temporary law during the time it was in force. An evaluation committee was formed to this end. It delivered a total of 3 reports, outlining the legal, cybersecurity and political impact of the Temporary law, and of governing at a distance at the local level during times of crisis more broadly. All three reports are/will be discussed in both the Senate and Parliament.

16. Education Grant for design and Delivery of a Course for Professionals on Cybersecurity for the Ministry of Infrastructure – led by Bibi van den Berg

This grant has been awarded to ISGA by the Ministry of Infrastructure in order to design and deliver a course for professionals on Cybersecurity – led by Bibi van den Berg.

17. State of the Art: assessing Crisis Management effectiveness (funded by WODC) Jeroen Wolbers 

In this report for the WODC the effectiveness of crisis management operations in the past 10 years are assessed. The project starts with a trend analysis of types of crises that are forecasted in Europe and translates this to the current risk profile of the Netherlands. This feeds into the case selection at the heart of the report, where a comparative case study of 27 crisis operations in the Netherlands features. In the comparative analysis processes that influence crisis management effectiveness are identified. Here the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge on these processes is contrasted to the lessons drawn in evaluation reports. This cumulates in a research agenda aimed to set the direction for policy-oriented research on crisis management in the coming years. This report is closely related to the NWO Veni research project of Jeroen Wolbers, focused on the effectiveness of command tactics in crisis management.  

18. With an open but critical view: a manual for ex ante evaluation of counterterrorist policy (WODC) by Joery Matthys 

The NCTV has expanded its services from mostly coordinating actions between partners in different fields, to directly supporting policy. One such support mechanism will consist of evaluating policies in the different NCTV domains both ex ante, ex nunc, and ex post. This project specifically looks at providing a manual/guidelines for ex ante evaluation in one domain, counterterrorism policy. 

19. Aggression and violence against public security actors (WODC) by Dr Joery Matthys & Dr. Pauline Aarten 

Violence against different kinds of security actors appears to be on the rise. This research project takes a critical look at the past and current numbers to test that narrative against reality and tries to put this into a broader societal perspective. It provides a state-of-the-art literature review on factors affecting the use of aggression and violence against public security actors. 

20. WODC Van Ouder op Kind by Marieke Liem and Daan Weggemans 

 This project focuses on inter-generational transmission of jihadist ideology. It provides a state-of-the-art overview of empirical research of such transmission. In order to shed light on the dynamics underlying intergenerational transmission, we also take a closer look at transmission in other realms, including – but not limited to – those involved in extremism, in closed sectarian communities, and transmission in the context of criminal behaviour. This project is commissioned and funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Justice. Preliminary findings are expected in early 2020.  

21. Security by Behavioural Design - Research Project for the National Cyber Centrum (Dutch Ministry of Justice) – Els de Busser and Tommy van Steen

Security by design is a process that aims to improve cybersecurity by developing software in which cybersecurity is embedded from the start. However, in many instances, this does not take into account the end-users who will interact with the software once it is released. Therefore, the currently project investigates the relevant insights from the behavioural sciences, to see which insights can be used to develop software that is more secure not only in a technical sense, but also in terms of the interaction of end-users with the software. We do this by conducting a rapid review and a sense check with experts in the field

 22. Comparative analysis of NATO member states’ national approaches to combating extremism within their ranks (funded by the Network for Research on Hateful Conduct and Right-Wing Extremism in the CAF) - Yannick Veilleux-Lepage (PI) with Co-Pi Joris Larik

This project examines and compares the legal frameworks, protocols and best practices of six NATO members (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and France) to counter radicalization and extremism within their ranks, and what DND/CAF can learn from the (in-)effective implementation of these provisions and procedures in other NATO members states.

 23. Surveying Expert Assumptions on Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the CT/CVE Field (Funded by the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society) –  Yannick Veilleux-Lepage (PI), Co-PI Tommy van Steen

This project ill provide an overview of expert consensus regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violent non-state actors, and will seek to answer the following research questions: (1) What is the expert assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on terrorist behaviour/practices? (2) What short-term and long-term security implications have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic? (3) What are the potential long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and CVE research, and security scholarship in general?


24.Cybermediation in the Middle East (funded by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva) – James Shires

James Shires was asked to advice the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on its Cybermeditation Programme in the Middle East on a variety of research-related and policy implementation issues.

D: Leiden University Fonds Grants

25. LUF Snouck Hurgronje Grant “Keeping the Powerful in Check: from small communities to large states” by Dr. Honorata Mazepus 

Under what conditions can checks and balances effectively restrain the power of political leaders? As both old and new democracies experience increasing democratic backsliding, there is a critical societal need to rethink the design and effectiveness of democratic institutions. This project highlights the scale of societies as a missing variable in the analysis of institutional development. Combining expertise and methods from three Leiden Faculties, it examines the performance of institutional checks across small and large societies in varying historical contexts.   The project consists of three subprojects led by Dr. Honorata Mazepus (PI, FGGA), Dr. Anne Heyer (FGW), and Dr. Wouter Veenendaal (FSW). Honorata’s research will focus on the mismatch between human political intuitions and modern checks and balances. In the first phase of the project, she will analyse ethnographic records of small communities of hunter gatherers to identify basic human intuitions about checking leaders. In the second phase, she will conduct experiments to test the contemporary citizens’ responses to violations of checks and balances in three countries: the Netherlands (old democracy, stable institutions), the United States (old democracy, endangered institutions) and Poland (young democracy, endangered institutions). This investigation aims to show under which circumstances citizens will restrict the power of leaders. 

26. LUF grant for international research at Peking University, Friso Stevens

This LUF grant will enable Friso Stevens to carry out international research at Beijing University, China.


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