From tracking the trajectory of Syrian bombers to detecting village burnings in Nigeria, technological advances offer researchers and policymakers a clearer picture of conflict dynamics in hard-to-access areas. Increasingly, researchers are melding satellite and open-source data with field data collection to inform conflict response and humanitarian assistance.

The diverse range of information gleaned from new technologies is reshaping how we understand the behaviour of conflict actors and the effects of armed violence on local communities. With these new approaches come both opportunities and fresh research challenges. XCEPT hosted technology experts, researchers and policymakers to discuss the tensions between rigour, ethics and policy relevance in technology-assisted conflict research.

Online Event: How Technology is Reshaping Conflict Research

This event was held on Thursday 20 January 2022

Panellists:

Dr Ruth Citrin

XCEPT Consortium Executive Director, Chemonics International

Ruth moderated the discussion.

Moazzam Malik

Director General, Africa, The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK Government

Moazzam reflected on what policymakers look for in evidence and analysis to inform decision-making in inaccessible, conflict-affected contexts.

Alexander Lee

Director and Lead Investigator, Vigil Monitor

Alexander demonstrated how satellite imagery and open-source research can shed light on conflict dynamics, drawing on examples from different conflict zones.

Nathaniel Raymond

Lecturer, Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

Nathaniel discussed how remote research technologies can impact the human rights and safety of vulnerable populations living amongst armed conflict.

Professor Heather Marquette

International Development Department, University of Birmingham

Heather discussed how academics interrogate the ethics and rigour of satellite and open-source data in research.

Professor Charlotte Watts

Chief Scientific Adviser and Director for Research and Evidence, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK Government

Charlotte provided closing remarks.

The Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme brings together world-leading experts to examine conflict-affected borderlands, how conflicts connect across borders, and the drivers of violent and peaceful behaviour. Funded by UK aid, XCEPT offers actionable research to inform policies and programmes that support peace.

To request additional information, please contact XCEPT at xcept@chemonics.com.