Research Hub for Scandinavian Intelligence Studies, INTELHUB

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Kira Vrist Rønn


University of Southern Denmark


DKK 4,980,800




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


INTELHUB will be an innovative, multi-disciplinary research community on intelligence studies. We will focus on the crucial question: How can legitimacy of intelligence services be built, maintained, and restored? The question concerning the legitimacy of intelligence services has been increasingly posed after a long series of intelligence scandals in the Western world over the last decades. In response, INTELHUB will investigate ways to ensure the legitimacy of intelligence services with a focus on the Scandinavian intelligence communities. INTELHUB will focus on topics such as the feasibility of increased transparency and enhanced accountability mechanisms.


Scandinavian intelligence services have faced a range of scandals and intelligence failures during the last decades. Revelations on such scandals raise questions about the core legitimacy of the intelligence services vis-à-vis the public. Intelligence studies have so far been dominated by American and British perspectives. With INTELHUB I will pave the way for studies on how intelligence services can set about obtaining, maintaining, or restoring legitimacy under conditions of confidentiality in the Scandinavian culture characterized by a high degree of social cohesion and trust. Furthermore, INTELHUB will challenge and enhance the scholarly literature on legitimacy by applying intelligence services as an extreme case of building institutional legitimacy under conditions of secrecy.


I have gathered a team of experienced researchers who all have considerable experience in collaborating with governmental institutions such as the police and the military. Methodologically, INTELHUB will focus on publicly available sources such as legal frameworks and the control mechanisms of each of the Scandinavian countries, along with qualitative interviews and conceptual analysis. The research question of INTELHUB will be unfolded via four distinct, yet interrelated, and multidisciplinary studies, with a specific focus on the constituting concepts of institutional legitimacy: Legality, accountability, transparency, and consent. Furthermore, INTELHUB will engage with a range of international partners, who will become crucial actors and close companions.

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