The impact of solid Earth on the human habitat is nowhere else felt as strongly as at Earth’s plate boundary systems where the formation of resources and the exposure to hazards are focused. In order to accurately assess the hazard and resource potential of the Earth’s plate boundary system, the development of quantitative process models is fundamental. Research Unit 2 aims to elucidate the cross-time-scale evolution of plate boundaries through observations from terrestrial and shoreline-crossing instrument networks at selected sites, studies on their long-term evolution, and numerical as well as analog modeling. With an approach that integrates these different techniques, we aim to lay the foundations for a new generation of hazard assessment strategies in plate-boundary systems. With this approach, Research Unit 2 contributes to Topic 2 of the program “Geosystem: The Changing Earth”.