European Projects


Since its inception in 2001, the Institute for European Studies has been involved in a multitude of projects funded and/or endorsed by the European Union. Today, the IES still runs one research project under the 7th Framework Programme and a number of other research projects linked to Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ (Jean Monnet). Between 2017-2019, the IES also hosted two postdoctoral fellows funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme.

Over the years, the IES has expanded its network and has received funding from, amongst others, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO), the European Climate Foundation (ECF), the Korea Foundation, Innovriris, and many other international research foundations.

Please find below links to the various EU-endorsed projects in which the IES plays a substantive role:

Running Projects

Funded by: Korea Foundation

Project description: The KF-VUB Korea Chair at the Institute for European Studies is the primary contact point in Europe on policy issues related to Korea and the Korean Peninsula. A joint initiative between the Korea Foundation and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Chair plays a strategic role in furthering Europe-Korea relations. It builds links between Europe and Korea through a number of activities and partnerships, and contributes actively to increasing the possibilities for their future cooperation on bilateral, regional and global levels. The KF-VUB Korea Chair advances academically rigorous and informed discussions on foreign policy questions that are of relevance to the Republic of Korea and Europe. To that end, the Chair conducts three main research activities, namely: 1) the publications of academic and policy relevant output; 2) the organisation of public conferences and expert workshops for in-depth discussions and the dissemination of research findings; and 3) the organisation of a training programme aimed at the next generation of European academic and policy experts working on South Korea and East Asia.

Duration: September 2017 – October 2024

IES Staff: Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Luis Simón, Tongfi Kim, Maximilian Ernst, Linde Desmaele, Paula Cantero Diéguez, Jacintha Liem

  • JP-COOPS: Judicial and Police cooperation preventing radicalisation towards terrorism

Funded by: European Commission, DG JUST

Project description:JP-COOPS, funded by DG JUST, focuses on the expansion of the network of trainers, national contact points, e-contents, and platforms established by previous projects. Its main contribution will be the establishment of one network of networks comprising 26 Multiagency National Contact Points, all using an up-scalable and modular Toolkit of all available Toolkits, which expands the knowledge on counter-radicalisation strategies and practices through the use of judiciary and police cooperation as part of new situational prevention strategies.

Duration: January 2019 - June 2021

IES Staff: Irina Van der VetAlice Vervaeke

Funded by: European Commission, FP7

Project description: The BFSJ project aims at advancing technical and legal research in order to enable extensive use of biofuels in the aviation sector. Bio-jet fuel currently constitutes the most viable solution for drastically reducing GHG emissions from the aviation sector in the medium to long-terms, as it constitutes a drop-in replacement to fossil-based kerosene and does not require any major infrastructural modifications to current jet engines or fuel supply to airport systems.

Duration: January 2015 - December 2019

IES Staff: Harri Kalimo, Ólöf Söebech

Funded by: European Commission - Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Project description: MINDb4ACT has the objective to improve the current EU counter-violent extremism policies and to generate new ones. It focuses on five kind of interventions: research actions, exchanges among law enforcement agencies, strategic-policy exercises, training courses and pilot projects. All actions are developed within collaborative ecosystems - the so-called living labs - to facilitate stable collaborations that will enhance current law enforcement techniques. These interventions are carried out in five specific domains: prisons and judiciary systems; immigration hotspots and asylum centres, schools, cities and the Internet and media. The project is undertaken by a consortium of seven law enforcement agencies, research centres, universities, industry associations and NGOs based in ten member states (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom).

Duration: September 2017 - August 2020

IES Staff:  Florian Trauner, Irina Van der Vet, Alice Vervaeke

Funded by: European Commission - Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Project description: Running for three years and coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in Paris, the project will provide interdisciplinary analysis of the conditions of EU climate policy in the new strategic context of the Paris climate change agreement concluded in 2015.

Duration: December 2016 - November 2019

IES Staff:  Sebastian Oberthür, Gauri Khandekar

  • GREMLIN: The Contribution of ‘regional’ multistakeholders mechanisms in improving global governance

Funded by: UNU-CRIS

Project description: The GREMLIN project aims to investigate multistakeholderism in regional and global governance. It examines two different policy areas where multistakeholderism has become a defining norm: internet and trade governance. Questions of legitimacy and effectiveness are key to debates on multistakeholderism and thus are also central to the theoretical framework of the project. GREMLIN brings together researchers from the IES and the Centre for European Union Studies (CEUS) at the University of Ghent in a project that will produce two PhDs, several policy briefs and a workshop on ‘building better multistakeholderism’ at its end.

Duration: October 2017 – September 2022

IES Staff: Jamal Shahin, Trisha Meyer, Ferran DavesaDiāna Potjomkina

  • Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence: VOWED - Virtually Excellent: Opening Europe to the World through Innovative Education 

Funded by: European Commission – Erasmus+ Jean Monnet (Centre of Excellence)

Project description: The "Virtually Excellent: Opening Europe to the World through Innovative Education" (VOWED) Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence aims to 1) ensure that students benefit from high-quality research-based teaching on a wide variety of EU integration and foreign affairs issues; 2) provide a foundation by which academics and students are influenced via a series of distance learning formats on a range of multidisciplinary themes; and 3) offer a series of outputs by which civil society can be viably informed of contemporary EU developments.

Duration: September 2017 - August 2020

IES Staff: Luk Van Langenhove, Silviu Piros

Funded by: European Commission - Erasmus+ Jean Monnet (Chair)

Project description: The IES will host for the next three years a new Jean Monnet Chair, as IES professor Harri Kalimo was nominated for the post on the theme of “rECOnciliation”.  rECOncile contributes to EU Studies in two intertwined policy areas that remain fundamental to the success of the Union: the internal market and the environment. Strategic initiatives in both fields have been re-launched by the Juncker Commission, and their futures are intriguingly intertwined, as the initiatives on e.g. a deeper and fairer Single Market, Circular Economy and renewable energy illustrate. The market activities are becoming greener, while green policies can be supported by an economic logic. The ensuing reconciliation of ECOnomic and ECOlogical values is therefore of vital importance.

Duration: September 2016 - August 2019

IES Staff: Harri Kalimo, Trisha Meyer

Funded by: European Commission – Erasmus+ Jean Monnet (Chair)

Project description: The "Explaining EU Action in Counter Terrorism" (EXACT) Jean Monnet Chair provides research-led teaching and learning at the intersection of two fundamental areas of EU policy: the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and EU counter-terrorism policy and law - through an international cross-section of doctoral, postgraduate and graduate students. The objective is pursued by advancing cutting-edge blended learning formats, distance learning, strong interdisciplinarity, and policy relevance.

Duration: September 2017 – August 2020

IES Staff: Florian Trauner, Silviu Piros

  • Jean Monnet Module: Europe Explained - Inter-University Summer School on EU Policy-making

Funded by: European Commission - Erasmus+ Jean Monnet (Module)

Project description: The IES Summer School is an intensive two-week programme and is held one week in Brussels and one week in Vienna during the first two weeks of July. The IES joins forces with the Diplomatische Academie and the University of Vienna to bring you this ‘crash course’ in European Policy Making. Packed with lectures, study visits and simulation games, this programme attracts students and young professionals who wish to broaden their knowledge of the European institutions, European law and the European decision-making process in general. The Summer School is also part of the Postgraduate Certificate in EU Policy-Making. This certificate is equivalent to 25 ECTS credits and provides an even better insight in the different EU policy areas.

Duration: September 2016 - August 2019

IES Staff: Trisha Meyer

Funded by: European Commission - Erasmus+ Jean Monnet (Network)

Project description: The overarching aim of GOVTRAN is to provide a platform to bring together the European and global community of senior and early career scholars in this field, and to actively foster this community’s engagement with policymakers and the broader public.

Duration: September 2018 - August 2021

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür, Ólöf Soebech, Lisanne Groen

Funded by: European Commission (JPI Urban Europe) - Innoviris Brussels

Project description: The project’s main goal is to upgrade and validate an innovative Participatory Energy Management Platform, targeting – as a case-study – home energy usage. The platform, built on an existing software-based solution, developed by project partner ENERBYTE, will be enhanced into an open, extensible and reusable platform, incorporating novel gaming and other reward mechanisms to achieve energy efficiency through behavioural change. The project will take into account and adapt to the local specificity, demographic make-up and capacities of four targeted cities - Amsterdam, Bergen, Barcelona and Brussels - via the PARENT Urban Living Lab. The VUB will be the project coordinator of and will be involved in most of the WPs.

Duration: March 2016 - June 2019

IES Staff: Jamal Shahin, Ólöf Soebech, Trisha Meyer, Lisanne Groen

Funded by: Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO)

Project description: The aim of the FCGG research network is to foster international scientific exchanges and dialogues on regime complexes and institutional fragmentation. Due the growing proliferation of international institutions and regimes, many issues in world politics today fall under the authority of multiple institutions, both private and public. Such a composite galaxy of international institutions and regimes that are valid or active in a particular area has been dubbed a ‘regime complex’. Regime complexes have attracted the attention of a growing number of scholars of world politics as they beg important theoretical questions pertaining to their origins, consequences, and management. The aim of the research network is to sustain and expand inter-disciplinary research into regime complexes. 

Duration: January 2015 - December 2019

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür and others

  • Political Warfare

Funded by: Institute for Statecraft

Project description:The Institute for Statecraft provides a donation for research and organise activities related to EU-Neighbourhood policy. In more specific terms, research and activities will be devoted to the relations between the EU and its eastern partners (i.e. countries of the former Soviet Union).

Duration: March 2016 - May 2019 (ext.)

IES Staff: Luis Simón, Antonios Nestoras

  • EMPOWER-YOUTH: Obstacles et leviers à la participation sociétale et citoyenne des jeunes Bruxellois défavorisés 

Funded by: Innoviris - Anticipate

Project description: The EMPOWER-YOUTH project analyses societal and citizen participation of disadvantaged young people and young adults in the Brussels Region. The main objective is to identify, from the perspective of young people (14-30 years old), the factors that stimulate or, on the contrary, hinder the use of structures that aim to develop their capacity for societal and civic participation. The project also seeks to identify and test existing devices that are effective in creating opportunities for citizen participation of disadvantaged youth, not only to explain the reasons for their success, but also to design possibilities for generalization.

Duration: November 2017 – October 2021

IES Staff: Ilke AdamGéraldine André 

Funded by: EDGE funding programme, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Project description: The work conducted during the next phase of the SRP will be organized in three work packages. Each focuses on big challenges that democracies face today. The three work packages are not mutually exclusive, i.e. there are obvious overlaps across work packages, allowing us to consciously and actively develop cross-fertilisation and collaboration (see also sections 4 and 8). The first work package will deal with time and sustainability, the second with gender and diversity and the third with contestation.

Duration: November 2017 - October 2022

IES Staff: Sebastian OberthürFerran DavesaSerena D'Agostino, Ingmar von Homeyer

  • CONNECT - Understanding the international context for Noway's low-emission economy transition

Funded by: Cicero

Project description: CONNECT will provide policymakers with insights into how the framework Paris Agreement will develop into more detailed rules and procedures for global climate cooperation and national policy approaches in the years leading up to 2018. It further examines how international climate policy changes influence EU climate policies in the period from 2015 to 2018, and the consequences for EU-level decision-making processes. The project will also look at how changes in the international context impact Norway's climate policy development up to 2018, and what the implications may be for a long-term low-carbon transition in Norway.

Duration: September 2017 - August 2021

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür

  • FWO - Who wins the legislative battle? Tracing legislative change and policy ideas in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

Funded by: Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen

Project description: This FWO project aims to understand the balance of powers between the main European institutional actors in context of legislative decision-making in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). First, it investigates what changes legislative acts undergo during the legislative process from the text proposed by the European Commission to the final version published in the Official Journal of the European Union and which policy ideas, defined as policy provisions contained in the law, end up in the adopted document. Second, it accounts for the mechanisms and causal factors behind the influence of certain institutional actors and ideas on the development of legislation adopted in the AFSJ field. To do so the project relies on an application prototype of data mining and data processing, which allows a large-N systematic approach to track, visualize and analyze all legislative activity in AFSJ between May 1999 and December 2016. By tracing who ‘wins’ in the ‘legislative battle’, the project does not only fill an important gap in the literature on the AFSJ decision-making dominated by small-N and qualitative studies, but it also fuels the ongoing theoretical debates on the influence of institutional actors and on the impact of ideas on the European legislative outcomes. Moreover, the application of data mining and data processing techniques to legal text can contribute to test the efficiency of different computational modeling methods.

Duration: October 2018 - September 2021

IES Staff: Angela Tacea

  • FWO - Policy integration: decarbonisation and security of supply in the European Union's external energy policy

Funded by: Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen

Project description:  This FWO-funded project aims to examine levels of policy integration and to identify related main drivers and barriers as a contribution to a general theory of (climate) policy integration. It specifically explores varying levels of integration of the key policy objectives of decarbonization and security of supply into the European Union’s external energy policy toward third countries. Based on existing literature on policy coherence and (environmental/climate) policy integration, it develops a novel framework for assessing the level of policy integration of the two aforementioned policy objectives and applies this framework to the EU’s external energy policy towards three partner countries (Russia, Norway, Algeria or Azerbaijan).

Duration: January 2019 - December 2022

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür

  • PLATON - PLATform for Open and Nationally accessible climate policy knowledge

Funded by: Research Council of Norway

PLATON will gain and disperse knowledge about how the policy system works and can be adjusted in feasible and effective ways to satisfy the reporting commitments and meet the 2030 and 2050 emission targets of Norway. Knowledge-building in the platform includes new insight that fill knowledge gaps in the international research frontier and domestic policymaking, overviews that assess and establish the status quo knowledge, applied analyses/assessments, accessible data and tools for public agencies, analysts and researchers outside and within the platform, and communication activities.

Duration: January 2019 - December 2022

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür

  • Beton naar hoogwaardig beton

Funded by: European Regional Development Fund - Interreg Europe

In this project, concrete is recycled through a crushing process, where the concrete rubble is separated into its original components – cement stone, sand and gravel. After a dehydration process, the cement stone can be used as a new binder in new high-quality concrete products, with very low environmental impact. In the project, the IES conducts an economic analysis and assesses the business model(s) arising from the new value chain. Project partners are the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (coordinator), VITO, MEAM, CBS Beton, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, SCC, SGS INTRON, Concrete Valley Group B.V. and Innovatie Centrum Duurzaam Bouwen.

Duration: March 2018 - February 2021

IES Staff: Sebastian Oberthür, Matilda Axelson

  • MAXIPAC - Maximizing Previously Acquired Competences

Funded by: ESF-AMIF

Project description: The MAXIPAC project strives to promote the acknowledgement of previously acquired competences of third-country nationals in Flemish higher education institutions. The main goal of this project is to establish one standard procedure to validate non-European diplomas in universities and higher education aiming a professional Bachelor degree. Furthermore, a digital platform where third-country nationals will receive support and guidance for free will be developed.

Duration: July 2018 - December 2019

IES Staff: Mohammad Salman

Completed Projects