The independent resource on global security

Founding SIPRI Director Robert Neild—in memoriam

Founding SIPRI Director Robert Neild—in memoriam
Robert Neild. Photo: SIPRI at 40

SIPRI mourns the passing of the Institute’s founding Director Robert Neild (United Kingdom), who died on 18 December 2018 at the age of 94.

Dan Smith, SIPRI Director said, ‘Robert Neild was a fine man and an inspiration. He and I had neighbouring offices for a while in a small New England college and I benefitted greatly from his knowledge, his wisdom, and his friendship. He showed it is possible to be both passionate about peace and dispassionate about facts.’

Economist Robert Neild was the Founding Director of SIPRI from 1966 until 1971. Educated at Charterhouse School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he served as economic advisor to Her Majesty’s Treasury in the early 1960s and held other important posts before returning to Trinity College as a Professor of Economics from 1971 until 1984. Neild served on the Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and worked as a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies.

During his mandate as SIPRI Director, Robert Neild founded a number of programmes, including research on the arms trade and on chemical and biological warfare. He also established the SIPRI Yearbook, and wrote in the first edition ‘until now there has been no authoritative international source which provided—in one place—an account of recent trends in world military expenditure, the state of the technological arms race, and the success or failure of recent attempts at arms limitation or disarmament’. To this day Robert Neild’s creation—the SIPRI Yearbook—is acknowledged worldwide as an authoritative source on issues of peace and security.

In honour of his memory, Trinity College has published a tribute to Robert Neild and  Mary Kaldor, former SIPRI Governing Board member, published an obituary.


The SIPRI Yearbook

The SIPRI Yearbook is a compendium of cutting-edge information and analysis on developments in armaments, disarmament and international security. The first edition of the SIPRI Yearbook was published in 1969, with the aim of producing ‘a factual and balanced account of a controversial subject-the arms race and attempts to stop it’.

The 49th edition of the SIPRI Yearbook was launched in June 2018. This year, SIPRI will celebrate the release of the 50th edition of the SIPRI Yearbook. The SIPRI Yearbook is published by Oxford University Press. Learn more at