The Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) has a growing research interest in conflicts, security and development issues in Southeast Asia.
Since 2007, ISDP has actively sought to develop closer ties with academic and research organizations throughout Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore. In September 2007, ISDP together with Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) organized a two-day conference gathering top scholars and senior practioners from Asia, Europe and the United States to discuss Asia's energy and security challenges. ISDP is also deepening its cooperation with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) based in Singapore, with the intention to initiate a new field of research. Constituent of this is an increasing focus on the domain of non-traditional security challenges, including the environment, and research into regional cooperation and mechanisms in countering transboundary threats. ISDP organized with ISEAS the conference entitled "Regional Cooperation in Environmental Protection: Lessons from Two Regions" in cooperation with ISEAS in February 2010 in Singapore. It is expected, furthermore, that the initiation grant applied for will facilitate the longer-term intention of establishing a new ISDP initiative on non-traditional security challenges in Asia, with the region of Southeast Asia forming a core component of this.
Presently, ISDP has an exchange relationship with the School of International Relations, Yunnan University, China's leading research institute for Southeast Asia studies. The ISDP Myanmar/Burma project has stimulated, and equally benefited from, international engagement. In 2008, ISDP held workshops in Stockholm and Kunming, drawing participants from Asia, Europe and North America. Issues discussed at these workshops ranged from the current state of the pro-democracy movement inside and outside Myanmar/Burma, and national reconciliation, to political development in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis and the adoption of the new Constitution; other issues discussed included the roles of regional players in promoting democratic change in Myanmar/Burma, and the sanctions policy favored by Western powers. In the autumn-winter of 2009, with financial support from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), ISDP hosted a guest researcher from Yangon who conducted research on informal economic practices in Myanmar/Burma with a focus on cross-border trade. The Myanmar/Burma project at ISDP is currently expanding to establish further contacts and widen its research scope.