VeSPoTec is a regional research network that includes institutes from RWTH Aachen University, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), it brings together scientists from the natural and social sciences to make a contribution to peace and conflict research. Associated partners include the University of Vienna and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP). The research focus is on verification.

Our Mission

VeSPoTec addresses the topics of verification of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament commitments. At its heart lies what we consider the nature of verification: Technologies and technical analyses interact with the political nature of nuclear governance and form a social practice of confidence-building and compliance assessment.

VeSPoTec seeks to study these linkages through an interdisciplinary approach involving natural science, social constructivism, strategic studies, and the sociology of knowledge. By integrating these perspectives to uncover the various factors that underlay how verification functions, we seek to contribute to addressing challenges to verification regimes on the horizon.

The Consortium

Members of the VeSPoTec Consortium, December 2022.

To solve complex nuclear verification challenges, our project brings together experts from the natural, social and political sciences. Nuclear Verification and Disarmament (NVD) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) develop technical verification methods, The institutes of political sciences of RWTH Aachen University (IPW) and the University of Duisburg/Essen (UDE), as well as the Human Technology Center (HumTec) contribute political and social perspectives.

Our scientific partner, the University of Vienna, analyzes historical trust-building, while our practical partner, the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), conveys our findings to decision-makers and practitioners.

Together we strive for safe and effective verification strategies.

Why an interdisciplinary approach?

The uniqueness of the project lies in the collaboration between researchers with different focuses in the natural, social, political and cultural sciences as well as in practice, supported by an advisory board of international experts, the NGO VCDNP and the University of Vienna. This inter- and transdisciplinary work creates a synergy that enables a holistic view of the complex issues of verification and the development of sustainable solutions.

In VeSPoTec, five different work streams work together in an integrated manner. Regular workshops are used to collaborate and communicate effectively. This is a challenging undergoing, as it requires overcoming the barriers of disciplinary boundaries and terminologies.

Human Technology Center, RWTH Aachen University

Questioning the supposed unambiguosness of knowledge.

Institute of Political Science, RWTH Aachen University

Resilience of verification regimes and a critical perspective on the establishment of verification measures.

Institute of Political Science, University of Duisburg/Essen

Understanding verification and trust in political contexts.

Nuclear Waste Management (IEK-6), Forschungszentrum Jülich

Improve verification with system-based approaches.

Nuclear Verification and Disarmament, RWTH Aachen University

Focus on nuclear archaeology: How can nuclear archaeology be applied in a verification regime?