Alliance Partner Institutions in North-Rhine Westphalia:

The regional research consortium VeSPoTec – Verification in a complex and unpredictable world: social, political and technical processes is a cooperation between the RWTH Aachen University (Institute of Physics/Prof. Malte Göttsche, Human Technology Center/Prof. Stefan Böschen, and Institute for Political Science/Prof. Ralph Rotte), the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Institute for Nuclear Waste Management/Dr. Irmgard Niemeyer) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (Institute for Political Science/Dr. Carmen Wunderlich).
Associated partners include the University of Vienna and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP).
VeSPoTec is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

VeSPoTec’s mission is to build bridges between the natural and social sciences to strengthen and advance the knowledge on verification in the context of peace and conflict research. The consortium will be the starting point of a new centre for peace research in the metropolitan region of the Rhineland. The centre aims to further advance the research field by taking an integrated interdisciplinary approach to nuclear verification processes in the context of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament.

The consortium will also develop specific approaches to current verification challenges. The practicability of the results will be ensured by concrete verification exercises in cooperation with practice partners. The results will be communicated to decision makers, international organizations, and the public.

What is Verification?

Verification is the process of gathering and analysing information to assess whether other parties comply with their commitments. This way, it allows to build confidence and ensures an effective implementation of international agreements.

Establishing credible verification mechanisms can, in addition, create incentives for countries to join international, regional, plurilateral, or bilateral non-proliferation or disarmament regimes. This, however, requires the verification measures to be fine-tuned to the party’s preferences – since too intrusive verification measures could also deter states from joining those regimes. Addressing both concerns is a core challenge of current and future nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament institutions. In addition to this inherent tension, future verification is complicated by the global situation: further difficulties are added by an increasing multipolarity, great power rivalry, rapid change, and mistrust between states.  

 Along with these political issues, technological questions remain to be answered. Future arms control verification will much likely include fissile material or nuclear weapon arsenals, for which no established procedures exist. Another example is the continuous evolution of military and dual-use technology. Future verification mechanisms need continued adaptation and flexibility to address current and future scenarios and challenges. Understanding verification in all those aspects requires broad, cooperative, and inclusive efforts, involving interdisciplinary dialogue.


At the Young Researchers‘ Conference of the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies (AFK), Julian Schäfer and Linda Ostermann were elected as two of four new spokespersons of the AFK’s Young Researchers for the next two years (2023-2025). Congratulations from the whole VeSPoTec team!

In addition, Linda Ostermann and Julian Schäfer each gave a presentation on interdisciplinarity in peace and conflict studies. In his contribution, Julian Schäfer highlighted the boundary object as an enabler or framework for interdisciplinary knowledge production in peace and conflict research, while Linda Ostermann dealt with the opportunities and challenges of integrating social and natural science peace and conflict research, both referring to their previous experiences in the VeSPoTec project.

Dr. Kretzschmar presented VeSPoTec with its integrated-interdisciplinary approach at the  86th Annual Conference of the DPG (DPG Spring Meeting, SMuK) in Dresden. The presentation was given in the Physics and Disarmament group. 

The abstract of the talk can be found here.

Julian Schäfer and Linda Ostermann gave a presentation at the Joint Technical Meeting oft the ESARDA VTM and INMM OSGI working groups. They presented their first thoughts on the analysis of knowledge infrastructures within verification regimes to a diverse audience of technical experts.

The team discussed former and future verification regimes and scenarios, as well as an evaluation of the first year of VeSPoTec.

Members of the VeSPoTec team attended the 2020 NPT RevCon. They participated in discussions about the role of verification on global non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

The team discussed former and current verification cases and analysed them in the context of potential future verification scenarios. 

Members of the VeSPoTec team attended the first TPNW MSP. They participated in discussions about the role of verification for a global non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

The first meeting was the official launching of VeSPoTec with an in-person meeting in Aachen, where participants of the project introduced the topic and discussed initial considerations regarding its implementation.

Media Appearances

Dr. Wunderlich got interviewed for NDR Info. There, she gives an overview of the nuclear weapons treaties and the criticisms of them.

The full recording can be found here in German.

Dr. Carmen Wunderlich appeared on the German podcast Streitkräfte und Strategien, where she was interviewed about the threats of nuclear weapons and the possibilities of disarmament.

The full podcast episode can be found here in German.

Prof. Göttsche got awarded with the Nuclear-Free Future Award (NFF) 2022 in the category Solutions.
The NFF is honoring people worldwide who are working for a future free of nuclear power and nuclear weapons since 1998.
The official NFF announcement can be found here.

“The nuclear governance multiverse in a nutshell: The 2022 conferences on the prohibition and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons”,
by Dr. Leonardo Bandarra and Dr. Carmen Wunderlich. INEF-Blog.

The article can be found here in English.

Dr. Carmen Wunderlich appeared on the German podcast The Pioneer Briefing, where she was interviewed about the „Risk of nuclear weapon use“.

The full interview recording can be found here in German.

“Analysis: The First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”,
by Dr. Leonardo Bandarra and Dr. Carmen Wunderlich, El Espectador.

The article can be found here in Spanish.

Dr. Carmen Wunderlich for akduell,  student magazine of the University of Duisburg-Essen, “Putin has proven that he cannot be trusted”.

“Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying entire cities and killing thousands of people within seconds. To prevent this, nuclear weapon states must cooperate and build trust among themselves. Dr Carmen Wunderlich from the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) is researching whether and how this is possible. […]”

The full article can be found here in German.

“A new research consortium in peace research. The RWTH is coordinating an interdisciplinary research project with the aim of building trust in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation […].”

You can find the full press release here in German and English.


Principal Investigators

Dr. Irmgard Niemeyer
Nuclear Waste Management (IEK-6)
Forschungszentrum Jülich

Prof. Dr. Ralph Rotte
International Relations
RWTH Aachen

Dr. Carmen Wunderlich
Institute of Political Science
University Duisburg-Essen

Managing Director

Scientific Staff

Student Assistants

Lena Herholz, B.A.
Institute of Political Science
University Duisburg-Essen

Pia Stickeler, B.A.
Nuclear Verification and Disarmament
RWTH Aachen

Further Partners

Dr. Anna Weichselbraun
Scientific Partner
University Vienna

Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
Practical Partner
Contact: Elena Sokova


Feel free to contact us at for questions and further information about the project.