A7) War and Law Lab

NOVA War & Law Lab

About Us

NOVA War & Law Lab is a knowledge centre for applied research. The NOVA War & Law Lab is a multidisciplinary academic centre within NOVA School of Law that analyses and studies the phenomenon of armed conflict, its causes and consequences, and its legal regulation from various disciplinary perspectives including Law, Political Science and International Relations. The LAB conducts research projects and seminars and also offers bespoke policy and legal advice.

Through its research and dissemination activities, the War and Law Lab aims to address the objectives set by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, by SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).



NOVA War & Law Lab aims to analyse the change in armed conflict and its consequences for policies, governments institutions and civil society. Clausewitz told us that war is a chameleon. It may change colour, but it is constant in essence. Motivations, technological changes, and tactical or strategic innovations do not change the nature of war – the form that war takes is constantly evolving. In this regard, warfare’s legal or geopolitical dimensions are just one of the many aspects that comprise the state of war. These, naturally, undergo processes of mutation and adaptation.

NOVA War & Law Lab addresses current armed conflict trends and the challenges they represent for policies, governments, and institutions. It considers the main aspects that can help to understand the future of conflict related to the possibilities of creating conditions for peace.

The LAB focuses on 4 main lines of research:

  • Digital technologies and hybrid warfare;
  • Climate change and resource competition;
  • Non-state armed groups and privatisation of conflict;
  • Identities, radicalisation, and violent extremism.


Main Outputs

To achieve its objectives, NOVA War & Law Lab is based on three vectors: research, awareness, and engagement.


  • Research is focused on war and the future of armed conflict, engaging with other scientific areas to improve the quality and depth of understanding. NOVA War & Law Lab will conduct applied academic research addressing significant themes and challenges produced by war, analysing the dynamics of change, its causes and consequences, and how international law responds to these threats and challenges.


  • The Lab will raise awareness in two ways: through academic events and by producing an annual policy paper. We intend to carry out a series of events where, in a free and uncompromising way, changes in the character of war and the various forms that armed conflicts take will be discussed. We will do this through three specific quarterly seminars, an annual international conference and open classes with invited professors/experts. At the end of each calendar year, a report will be produced, with policy recommendations, on one or more conflicts challenging the application of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).


  • Engagement will take two forms: dissemination of scientific knowledge through media activities, such as a bimonthly publication in a national daily newspaper, and short courses open to the non-academic community.



It’s about to happen…

  • 17 October 2024 – 2nd International Conference “War and Law. The Future of Conflict: From the Spear to the Drone”

…already happened

Contact: war.lawlab@novalaw.unl.pt



Scientific Board

Research Fellows

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