ARENA granted H2020 project on Europe's political future
A research group at ARENA Centre for European Studies headed by Prof. John Erik Fossum has succeeded in a highly competitive bid for international research funding. ARENA is celebrating the success.
Part of the team behind the successful H2020 application. From left: Geir Kværk, Ragnhild Grønning, Prof. John Erik Fossum, Prof. Erik O. Eriksen and Marit Eldholm. Photo: Mads A. Danielsen
Horizon 2020 is the EU's research and innovation programme and considered the world's largest. The objective of the programme is to promote outstanding research, economic growth and increased employment in Europe. Norway participates as a full member.
We are very pleased that a relatively small research centre like ours has once again succeeded on the international research arena
This summer, the EU’s research programme Horizon 2020 announced that ARENA has been awarded funding for the research project ‘EU Differentiation, Dominance and Democracy’ (EU3D). ARENA will coordinate a research consortium of eight universities and two think tanks based in ten countries. These are among the world’s most prominent institutions in European Studies.
This is the third research project within the H2020 programme that ARENA has obtained within a two-year period.
- We are very pleased that a relatively small research centre like ours has once again succeeded on the international research arena, says ARENA director Erik Oddvar Eriksen.
EU3D was granted 3 million Euros over a four-year period. The project is due to start in February 2019.
In line with the University strategy
- We congratulate ARENA on the success, says Rector Svein Stølen. He is very pleased that the University of Oslo (UiO) has been awarded the prestigious project.
- It seems like ARENA has managed to find the 'secret recipe' to success in the highly competitive global research arena, as it will once again coordinate a comprehensive international research project. ARENA is a good example of what we want more of at UiO, says Stølen.
It seems like ARENA has managed to find the 'secret recipe' to success in the highly competitive global research arena
Ambitious research project
...we will build a theory to account for fundamental aspects of Europe’s political development
- The starting point for EU3D is an increasingly differentiated European political order. We see heightened uncertainty about the EU's future development, not only because of Britain's decision to leave the Union, but also due to the uncertainty surrounding the EU’s ability to undergo necessary reforms after the financial crisis and other recent crises, says Prof. John Erik Fossum, who is the Scientific Coordinator of EU3D.
In fashioning the ambitious project, ARENA has benefited from the extensive research networks that it has built over decades. The project has theoretical and practical ambitions:
EU3D’s main objective is to develop a theory of differentiation that specifies the conditions under which differentiation is politically acceptable, institutionally sustainable and democratically legitimate, and the conditions under which it is not, for example when conditions of dominance prevail.
- In other words, we will build a theory to account for fundamental aspects of Europe’s political development. We have brought together some of the best researchers and practitioners in the field and look forward to tackle this challenge together, says Fossum.
The project also has practical ambitions. EU3D will conduct a comprehensive analysis of reform proposals. The purpose is to provide research-based recommendations pertaining to the political reforms that the EU can and should opt for.
We have brought together some of the best researchers and practitioners in the field
The project's Advisory Board includes a number of key decision-makers and experts from the top levels of European politics and academia. Among the members are Italy's former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, several members of the European Parliament, and Jean-Claude Piris, former Director-General of the Legal Service of the Council of the European Union. Few know the EU's legal machinery better than Piris, who has been involved in the design and implementation of all EU treaties since the 1990s.
- EU3D’s research design and the project’s extensive network gives us hope that our research will contribute to the debate on the EU's future development, says Fossum.
Read more about the project: EU3D fact sheet
Long-term strategy pays off
Creating projects like EU3D, bringing together excellent researchers from all over Europe and securing funding from the EU has paid off, not just financially.
- ARENA has a rather small funding-base, which makes us highly dependent on external funding. Creating projects like EU3D, bringing together excellent researchers from all over Europe and securing funding from the EU has paid off, not just financially. Most importantly, it has an academic ‘added-value’, says ARENA director Erik Oddvar Eriksen.
- We have to prioritise and work hard to use the centre's limited resources in a way that gives us the best chance in securing external funding. Our long-term strategy has paid off, says Eriksen.
ARENA’s recent success is the result of a months-long process and the coordination of a large group of institutions and researchers. Eriksen emphasises that in such a process, good interaction between the researchers and the research administration is essential.
We have to prioritise and work hard to use the centre's limited resources in a way that gives us the best chance in securing external funding
Interaction key to success
Research adviser Geir Kværk at ARENA agrees, stating that this is the result of a great effort from researchers, the administration and the research assistants at ARENA.
- We had to prepare research plans, select the right partners, and design and consolidate detailed plans for the next four years in collaboration with dozens of people across Europe. Then everything had to be presented and explained in a manner suitable to convincing the evaluators.
- There is fierce competition for funding from the EU’s research programmes, but ARENA has worked systematically over a number of years to develop state of the art applications for such collaborative international projects. I am happy that our long-term effort has paid off once again.
ARENA has worked systematically over a number of years to develop state of the art applications for such collaborative international projects