A wide road with people and cars on it, surrounded by mountains

Building Evidence on Cross-Border Conflict to Inform Effective Responses .

Peace, Stability, and Transition | Violence Prevention | Peacebuilding and Reconciliation | Countering Violent Extremism
Africa | Asia | Middle East and North Africa

Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT)

Project Dates: April 2020 - March 2025
The Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research program examines conflict-affected borderlands, how conflicts connect across borders, and the factors that shape violent and peaceful behavior to inform effective policy responses.

Conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are rarely confined within state borders. Instead, they extend through the transnational flows of people, weapons, and resources, creating intricate cross-border conflict systems that span the formal and informal, licit, and illicit. These systems empower armed actors, enmesh conflict in crime and violent extremism, and ensnare local communities.

As a result, protracted conflicts become even more difficult to resolve. International conflict response must innovate to address the transnational dimensions of conflict and support communities coping with prolonged instability and crisis. Responding to these complex challenges requires multi-layered approaches that work at local, state, and regional levels and enable integrated and coordinated international responses.

Funded by UK aid from the UK government, the XCEPT research program brings together world-leading institutions and local research organizations. XCEPT research employs a powerful combination of research methods, melding field data collection with satellite data and open-source investigations to deepen insight into hard-to-access and conflict-affected areas. Our approach includes a cross-border local research network dedicated to building the capacity of local researchers and a flexible and responsive research fund.

For more information, watch the video below and visit xcept-research.org.

Project Goals


  • Examine the transnational nature of conflict
  • Investigate what drives violent and peaceful behavior
  • Understand the causes and implications of conflict in border areas
  • Provide evidence-based options for innovating in policy and adapting to support peace more effectively

XCEPT research partners

  • The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House)
  • King’s College London
  • The Asia Foundation
  • Rift Valley Institute
  • The Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
  • Conciliation Resources
  • Satellite Applications Catapult