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New European Voices on Existential Risk

The New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) project aims to attract, nurture and sustain new talent and ideas from wider Europe on nuclear issues, climate change, biosecurity and emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs), and to connect this talent pipeline with wider debates on existential risks facing humanity.

Check out the NEVER podcast – Ok, Doomer!

What will the project do?

Attract new talent to work on nuclear issues as part of a broader approach to existential risk, i.e. threats that could lead to human or planetary extinction.

Nurture this talent by convening a network dedicated to existential risk, integrating it with other ELN networks and providing connections to policymakers, developing skills through seminars and mentoring.

Sustain interest and ideas on nuclear topics, by building lasting links with expert and policy ecosystems, drawing on mid-career and late-career role-models and mentors to help identify career paths, and integrating nuclear work with other relevant fields.

How will we carry out the project?

  • We have recruited a network of 39 diverse new European voices on existential risk. Our members come from all over Europe and beyond, with a geographic range spanning from Brazil to China.
  • We will convene roundtables and seminars with a broader ecosystem of partners.
  • Co-create recommendations for decision-makers to translate long-term risk into steps that can be taken now.
  • Publish commentaries from new and emerging voices.
  • Share resources with accessible language and creative multimedia formats.


Why is this important?

Nuclear war has the potential to end human life as we know it – through mass casualties and through cascading effects on the world’s economies and societies. Yet the nuclear policy field has been shrinking in recent years and much of the thinking is stuck in 20th century paradigms.

We believe that more talent and fresh thinking from the field of existential risk needs to be applied to the problems of nuclear policy to prevent possible catastrophe.

Nuclear policy could benefit from new and more diverse talent, and from linkages with thinkers, doers, scholars, activists and entrepreneurs who are seeking to address other existential risks to humanity, such as those from climate change, biological threats, or AI.

It is not only about developing the nuclear field specifically, but developing expertise on nuclear issues among a wider set of people working for a safer future – so that this expertise is not siloed and is integrated with wider thinking about protecting our shared future.


How are we measuring progress?

  • Feedback from participants and other stakeholders.
  • Measuring the reach of the project to university students.
  • Number of recommendations produced and feedback from decision makers.

Ok, Doomer! – The NEVER Podcast

“Okay, Doomer!” the podcast by NEVER, is a 6-part series by the European Leadership Network and the New European Voices on Existential Risk network, embarking on an exploration into the heart of the manmade existential risks threatening humanity, our planet, and life as we know it.



Unstable systems: Why geoengineering will solve neither climate change nor climate geopolitics

As more attention is paid to geoengineering technologies that claim to mitigate the existential risks posed by climate change, Jakob Gomolka, from our New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network, argues that policymakers needs to understand the geopolitical implications of these technologies, let alone their climatic side-effects, and calls for more alignment in the international governance of geoengineering technologies.

6 June 2024 | Jakob Gomolka

Sounding the alarm on AI-enhanced bioweapons

In our latest commentary produced from our New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network, Rebecca Donaldson explores the potential of new technologies for security whilst minimising their potential for harm in the realms of AI and the life sciences. She proposes that more funds go towards the biological weapons convention, the creation of an Emerging Technology Utilisation and Response Unit (ETURU) and the fostering of a culture of AI assurance and responsible democratisation of biotechnologies.

26 February 2024 | Rebecca Donaldson

3D printing and WMD terrorism: a threat in the making?

In our latest commentary from the ELN’s New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network, Nicolò Miotto examines developments in 3D printing technology and how these advances in its efficacy and accessibility, as well as its relationship to other emerging and disruptive technologies, have changed the threat landscape in regard to terrorists potentially obtaining WMDs, as well as what governments and the private sector need to do to tackle these emerging threats.

10 January 2024 | Nicolò Miotto

Nuclear disarmament verification and the NPT: De-politicising the political

In our latest commentary from the ELN’s New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network, Kim Westerich-Fellner explores how focusing on technical issues such as nuclear arms verification, can be used as a means of sidestepping the political disputes between States Parties that have more often than not inhibited progress and cooperation within the structures of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

9 January 2024 | Kim Westerich-Fellner

Existential threats beyond the bomb: emerging disruptive technologies in the age of AI

To better understand emerging technologies, NEVER members Konrad, Anemone, Emil, Arthur, and Joel outline the evolution of the risk landscape around emerging disruptive technologies and draw parallels between the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and those posed by novel biotechnologies. They explore the broader challenge of governing emerging technologies and suggest potential ways forward.


Beyond nuclear deterrence: New approaches for tackling non-nuclear strategic threats

In our latest commentary from the ELN’s New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network, Shane Ward and Eva Siegmann, explore how the emergence of non-nuclear strategic threats (NNST) has undermined the normative taboo surrounding the use of nuclear weapons, and why new methods extending beyond deterrence are needed to ensure international stability.

23 October 2023 | Shane Ward and Eva Siegmann



NEVER: Climate politics and great power competition

Members of the NEVER network convened on Thursday, the 24th of August, to discuss climate change, climate change governance, and the role of great power competition in aggravating this existential risk, with NEVER coordinator, Edan Simpson, chairing the meeting.

8 September 2023
Who's involved? - The NEVER members
Who's involved? - Staff