MICROCON, or ‘A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict’ is a five-year research programme funded by the European Commission, which takes an innovative micro level, multidisciplinary approach to the study of the conflict cycle.

Almost one third of the world’s population lives in conflict-affected low-income countries. At a fundamental level, conflict originates from people’s behaviour and how they interact with society and their environment – from its ‘micro’ foundations. Yet most conflict research and policy focuses on ‘macro’ perspectives. MICROCON seeks to redress this balance.


The programme aims to promote understanding of individual and group interactions leading to and resulting from violent mass conflicts, with the purpose of uncovering much-needed fundamentals for better informed domestic, regional and international conflict policy, which places individuals and groups at the centre of their interventions.

It takes an innovative micro level, multidisciplinary approach to conflict, and aims to go beyond merely reactive theorisations of conflict to look at the complete dynamics (across intensities, actors, triggers and effects) of violent mass conflicts.


The main outputs of MICROCON will come from 28 different research projects working in over 40 countries, covering eight main themes:

  • Group Formation, Identities and Mobilisation;
  • Contemporary Conflicts and Ethnic-Religious Tensions;
  • Gender Aspects of Violent Conflicts;
  • Migration, Displacement and Refugees;
  • Risk, Security and Coping Mechanisms;
  • Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion;
  • Violent Conflict and Health Outcomes;
  • Governance and Institutions.

These research themes will be complemented by two policy research projects entitled ‘Conflict in the European Neighbourhood’ and ‘Evaluating Conflict Interventions’. The project will be implemented by a team of 60 researchers in 22 partner institutions in 16 different countries.