In December 2010, Mary Kaldor, leading a team of junior and senior researchers, was awarded a large grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a five-year research programme entitled Security in Transition: An Interdisciplinary Investigation into the Security Gap.
The twentieth century model of security, based on the rule of law and policing within nation-states and conventional military forces externally, is no longer applicable to twenty-first century global security risks. The security gap refers to the fact that millions of people live in situations of intolerable insecurity as a consequence of armed conflict, organised crime, terrorism, financial crisis, poverty and inequality, environmental degradation, vulnerability to natural disasters to name but some of these risks, and yet current public security provision is not designed to address these sources of insecurity and, indeed, as recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, sometimes makes things worse.
'Security in transition' is about investigating and identifying the nature of the security gap and tracking the ways in which public and private agents are adapting. It has five components: narratives; indicators; rules; tools; and geographies. The programme is ground-breaking in that it puts forward a new analytical frame for understanding contemporary security challenges and will use an innovative interdisciplinary methodology. It also has considerable public significance because security is so closely bound up with legitimacy and and because its findings, including a database of indicators of insecurity, are expected to have great relevance for policy-makers.