How should businesses plan for regional disruptions arising from future geopolitical risks? Which areas of the world are most likely to flare up in the next decade? Is there potential for an upsurge in global terrorism or social unrest, and how might political regimes change unexpectedly? What might conflicts of the future look like? How should businesses ensure that their supply chains and regional operations are resilient against geopolitical risks?

At a Glance: The Decade in Geopolitical and Security Risk

2010: A series of anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa nicknamed ‘The Arab Spring’ ousts presidents and triggers constitutional reforms and civil uprisings across the region.

2011: Multiple countries intervene in the Syrian Civil War, setting up a proxy battlefield.

2013: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant emerges onto the world stage, carrying out deadly acts of terror from the US to Australia.

2014: In the aftermath of the Ukrainian Revolution, Russia annexes the Crimean Peninsula, threatening other areas of Eastern Europe.

2016: The outcomes of the United Kingdom European Union Membership referendum and US Presidential Election occur amidst a new context of right-wing political movements, social unrest, and distrust in established global institutions.

2017: North Korea claims to have successfully tested weapons of mass destruction.

2019: Skirmishes on the border of Pakistan and India raise tensions worldwide.

2019: The gilet jaunes protests spark violence in France, while extradition riots in Hong Kong and uprisings in Venezuela demonstrate global unrest over issues of economic and political equality.



Daniel Ralph

Academic Director, Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and Professor of Operations Research, Cambridge Judge Business School

Professor Daniel Ralph is a Founder and Academic Director of the Centre for Risk Studies, Professor of Operations Research at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, and a Fellow of Churchill College. Daniel’s research interests include identification and management of systemic risk, risk aversion in investment, economic equilibria models and optimisation methods. Management stress test, via selection and construction of catastrophe scenarios, is one focus of his work in the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies. Another is the role and expression of risk management within organisations. Daniel engages across scientific and social science academia, a variety of commercial and industrial sectors, and government policy making. He was Editor-in-Chief of Mathematical Programming (Series B) from 2007-2013.

Visit Daniel Ralph’s faculty profile


Marianne Schneider-Petsinger

Geoeconomics Fellow, Chatham House

Marianne Schneider-Petsinger is Geoeconomics Fellow in the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House, responsible for analysis at the nexus of political and economic issues.

She writes and speaks on global trade, transatlantic economic cooperation, and the United States’ use of geoeconomic strategies and tools. Marianne is a regular speaker and panellist at events and conferences as well as guest commentator on broadcast news.

Before joining Chatham House in 2016, she managed the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, an international membership body representing consumer organizations in the EU and US.

She also worked for a think-tank on transatlantic affairs in the US and an economics ministry in Germany.

Marianne holds a BA in International Affairs and Economics from the University of Maine. She completed her master’s degree, focusing on international trade and finance, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Tamara Evan

Geopolitical Risk Research Lead, Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies

Tamara Evan is the Geopolitical Risk Research Lead at the Centre for Risk Studies. She also works as the Editorial Associate at the Centre and oversees the completion, production and final delivery of the Centre’s research publications and risk scenario reports.

Geopolitical and Security Risks – Centre for Risk Studies Risk Outlook

View Tamara’s presentation

An overview of the research work carried out by Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies for the risk class of Geopolitical and Security Risk, and description of a possible landscape of the risk over the next decade.

Jim Maltby

Principal Scientist, Defence, Science & Technology Laboratory

Jim Maltby is a Principal Scientist at the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl, part of MOD). After 6 years as British Army Officer, serving in Northern Ireland and Iraq, he spent 4 years in a number of Government departments looking at Emergency Response and Counter Terrorism, before joining Dstl 10 years ago.

He is a Biologist and Social Scientist; now providing research on long-term planning, science and technology, and strategy and policy advice to senior decision makers in National Security. His interests research focuses identify future changes in society, how this is shaped by adoption of technology, and how we can improve performance in our reasoning and decision making within complex problems and situations of high uncertainty.

Jim works closely with our partners across government and academia within the UK and abroad, and also collaborates with a number of other industrial sectors in the UK: primarily the Creative Industries (design and innovation), Insurance, Energy and Humanitarian sectors.

He is currently a RSA Fellow and a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM). A member of the Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty and the Analysis Under Uncertainty for Decision-Makers Network (AU4DM). He sits on the Advisory Board to the Humanitarian Innovation Fund and has been a technical advisor to the Virgin Earth Challenge.

Conflicts of the Future

View Jim’s presentation

A core function of the MOD is to be able to anticipate the type, nature and loci of future conflict. There are numerous technological, societal, political, economic and environmental factors that initiate conflicts. Although, the number of deaths resulting from conflicts and the incidences of large conflicts are in decline, the frequency and variation in the types and forms of conflicts has been increasing since 1946. This poses considerable dilemma about how to prepare for future conflict.

Traditionally the Defence Community has tended to make predictions or intuitively know where future conflict will be, this approach is both struggling to understand what future conflict might be – due to the complexity and uncertainty of the modern world – and is being increasingly scrutinised and questioned.

In this presentation we highlight some of the more varied and complex set of risks and challenges we face. In trying to tackle these risks, the challenge not only lies in the understanding and prioritising future conflict risk, but – that within a highly conservative institution – one of the most fundamental barriers is engaging with senior decisions makers to adopt new ways of thinking so that they can understand.  The need to adopt to this new culture is set against the backdrop of defence capability development which is becoming increasingly expensive.

Nick Wildgoose

Independent Supply Chain Risk Consultant, Supplien Consulting

Nick is a qualified accountant and supply chain professional and has held a variety of global financial, procurement and commercial positions in several industry sectors, working for companies such as PWC, BOC Group, The Virgin Group, and Zurich Insurance Group.

He has spoken and written on several topics related to business intelligence and supply chain management. He served on the Board of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply which is the biggest procurement professional body in the world with over 100,000 members. He also served as a specialist advisor to the World Economic Forum on the topic of systemic supply chain risk and was Chairman of the Supply Chain Risk Leadership Council and still serves on their Board.

From 2008 he led the development and rollout of innovative and multi award winning supply chain risk products for Zurich Insurance Group, which gave him the opportunity to interact with many global companies and understand how they are addressing the real risk issues they are facing in terms of their supply chains and driving business performance.

He set up his own consultancy in 2018, advising in all areas related to procurement and supply chain performance with a focus on supply chain

Managing Future Risk in International Supply Chains

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What are the current technologies for managing supply changes, and challenges come with adopting new these methods in post-rationalisation to disruptive events? This presentation will discuss some of the new supply chain threats that will emerge and need to be evaluated in terms of the geopolitical issues and the disruption and reputational impacts that could arise. It will also outline the future solutions that will exist in the agile and evolving supply chains of the future, often referred to as Supply Chain 4.0 and the new risk landscape.