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The CSG carries out and supports innovative, policy-oriented research aimed to inform policy-makers, practitioners, analysts and the general public. CSG research employs a variety of methodological tools—both quantitative and qualitative—and draws on the extensive and varied backgrounds of our staff and fellows.


Producing outstanding, policy-relevant research requires going beyond the headquarters to gain field-based, hands-on perspectives. Our staff and fellows have extensive field experience in conflict-affected and fragile states and come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines.


We take on research projects of any size from short-term desk-based assignments to long-term field-based projects. If you are interested in one of our initiatives or need advice on a research project, please contact us at:


We are inundated by images of global threats in the mass media, whether it is terrorism, transnational organized crime, mass migration, pandemic disease, cyberwar or climate change. In spite of this “culture of fear” that seems to dominate the Western media and political landscape, most evidence shows that we live in the safest period in human history. From 1945 to 2014, the death rate from conflict declined from 22 per 100,000 to 1.4, and the incidence of extreme poverty — often a driver of conflict — has declined by almost 75 percent since 1990. These statistics raise significant questions about how we assess international threats and tailor responses to them. For instance, there is a tendency to prioritize and inflate direct or proximate threats, specifically those perceived to be particularly “spectacular” in character, such as terrorism or the impacts of different forms of transnational organized crime. By contrast, more distant and creeping threats, such as climate change and pandemic disease, tend to receive less attention. This ongoing CSG project explores the politics of fear and the actors that drive it. It seeks to stimulate a broader discussion on how Canada and its allies should better assess and communicate threats to the public and tailor effective responses to them.

Security Sector Reform (SSR) is a model of security and governance assistance that endeavours to reconstruct and reform security and rule of law institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states. First articulated in the late 1990s, the model diverged from traditional forms of security assistance in its focus on the governance dimensions of the security sector in addition to the traditional focus on training and equipping the security forces. SSR is now a central pillar of global efforts to support peacebuilding and state-building processes in a wide array of unstable countries and regions. However, despite its rise to prominence, the SSR model has had a decidedly mixed record in the field. This initiative on Second Generation SSR seeks to understand the reasons why conventional SSR programs have faltered on the ground and identify lessons that can help to update and refine existing doctrines and best practices. The broader aim of the project is to contribute to the development and operationalization of a second-generation SSR approach better capable of (re)building stable, effective, accountable, and rights respecting security sectors that guarantee fair and equal access to justice and security services for communities and citizens in conflict-affected and fragile states.

The Waterloo Symposium on Technology & Society (WSTS) seeks to promote public discourse in Canada and beyond on the societal challenges and opportunities created by innovations in four primary areas: artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and social media. Whether in the economic, security or political sphere, rapid technological change is transforming the way our societies function, and this change will only accelerate in the decades ahead. How can the public and private sectors collectively to maximize the benefits of this technological revolution to drive prosperity, democracy and good governance, while mitigating its most adverse effects, such as social dislocation, wealth inequality and diminishing trust in public institutions? Some of the world’s most renowned thinkers on the societal impacts of technology will be featured in the series. The events are held in one of Canada’s premier tech hubs, the Waterloo Region.

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