About ISDC

ISDC – International Security and Development Center is a non-profit academic institute based in Berlin, Germany. We conduct research to improve lives and livelihoods shaped by violent conflict, fragility, and humanitarian emergencies. We believe in the power of data and evidence for understanding and alleviating suffering around the world.

Our Approach

  • We collect and analyse data, derive evidence-based policy advice, and build capacity.
  • We draw on theory, data, and statistics to inform policies that are evidence-based, ethical, equitable, and effective.
  • We focus our analysis at the micro level, studying how individuals, households, groups, and firms react to and cope with extreme adversity – and how policies can best support people and institutions under such conditions.
  • We combine quantitative and qualitative methods and work with international partners from multiple disciplines and sectors.

Our Story

Tilman Brück founded ISDC in 2014 to bridge the two themes of security and development and their respective communities in academia, policy, and practice, which often discuss and act in isolation from each other. To overcome these divides, Tilman assembled a starting team which shares a commitment to rigorous methodological analysis coupled with varied topical research backgrounds.

ISDC’s core research team shares a graduate education in economics, but different undergraduate backgrounds, including in mathematics, physics and political economy. We continue to be defined by the rigorous analytical skills and microeconomic thinking honed in our education and apply this knowledge to questions connecting security and development.

ISDC is based in Berlin, where two world wars were initiated. We live and work in a city which reminds us on a daily basis of the horrors of political violence and the dangers of weak political institutions. We are privileged to experience freedom, peace, and prosperity today. We hence conduct our research to improve people’s lives and living conditions in less developed and less secure contexts, so that one day every one anywhere in the world can live as securely and comfortably as we do today.

Our Partnerships

While based in Berlin, the global relevance of our work leads us to engage in research and advisory projects around the world. The quality of our research and impact is critically shaped by engaging with strong partners in the countries where we work, including national and local governments, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and international organizations.

We enjoy collaborating with researchers from around the world, exchanging ideas and experiences. It is through our partners that we are able to study human behavior and policy impacts in challenging contexts defined by low levels of stability, development and statistical capacity.

Bringing together expertise from academia, policy, and practice, we support policy-makers, practitioners and other stakeholders to develop, test and implement evidence-based policies and programs for stability and development.


  • EADI, the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes
  • International Data Alliance for Children on the Move (IDAC)
  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), associate member
  • Global Labor Organization (GLO)
  • Households in Conflict Network (HiCN)


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Our Initiatives