ISDC is a Berlin-based, non-for-profit research center conducting research, providing policy advice and building capacity on international security and socio-economic development. We are unique in the global research scene for being dedicated to work exclusively on the security-development nexus.


Recent events in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also developments as far apart as in Mexico, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and Thailand indicate that the world has not yet found reliable ways to build peace and prosperity. In some countries and years, per capita incomes rise substantially. In other periods or countries, people live free from physical threats. Occasionally, both lives and livelihoods are being destroyed in an instant.

While it is increasingly being recognised that security and development are interdependent, there remain significant gaps of knowledge and best practice concerning how to strengthen either and what their relation is to each other. Our lack of knowledge concerns the global, the national, the local and the individual levels.

What are the costs of conflict? Does poverty breed instability? How to maintain basic human needs in fragile environments? Which institutions build peace and/or prosperity? Can we build peace – and change people’s attitudes to past or potential foes?

ISDC draws on data to seek answers to these questions – and thereby to help design better policies for both peace and prosperity.

How we work

ISDC was set up in 2014 to connect the two themes security and development and their respective communities, which often act in isolation from each other. ISDC is a charitable company acting as a physical hub in a large virtual network of experts and expertise involving researchers, policy makers, practitioners and journalists. While based in Berlin, the global relevance of our work means we engage in research and advisory projects around the world.

Partners and donors

ISDC is a member of these organisations and initiatives:

  • Households in Conflict Network (HiCN), co-host
  • Life in Kyrgyzstan Study (LiK Study), co-host  
  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), associate member
  • Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet)
  • European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI).  
  • Global Labor Organization (GLO)

In addition, ISDC and its work have been supported by these partners and donors:

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises – (Elrha)
  • Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
  • Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • MDF Afrique Central (MDF-AC)
  • World Bank Group (WBG)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)
  • World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)