The Pirenne Consortium

HPIMSnewSince 2013, the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies is recognized and funded by Ghent University's Special Research Fund (BOF) as one of five consortia for SSH research and societal impact. This funding of five experimental plots is part of the university's strategic policy to strengthen research quality and strategy in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The Pirenne Consortium is headed by spokesperson Jeroen Deploige and a board of 29 promoters from all disciplines in Medieval Studies at Ghent University, while its management is handled by an assigned postdoctoral research coordinator.


The Consortium has a fivefold mission:
  • Intensifying the internal collaboration of medievalists within Ghent University through concerted research actions and initiatives that focus on interdisciplinary, diachronic and cross-cultural research.
  • Targeting research funds by monitoring opportunities and facilitating new project applications. The Pirenne Consortium has specific expertise in follow-up and interpretation of the Belgian funding schemes and the European Horizon2020 framework programme, especially the 'Excellence' and 'Societal Challenges' pillars. For this goal, the coordinator works together closely with Ghent University's central offices such as the EU Funding Unit of the Research Department.
  • Further internationalisation of Ghent University scholarship in Medieval Studies through the organisation of international events, finding research partners abroad, setting up formal collaborations with foreign universities or other stakeholders and participating in international networks and projects.
  • Development and improvement of Ghent University's digital research infrastructure in Medieval Studies. The Henri Pirenne Institute is the birthplace of several fundamental digital source repertoria and the Consortium coordinator acts as their first caretaker, for example working on content and following up on user feedback.
  • Strengthening the connection with society through a research impact strategy that consists of intensified public engagement, the development of collaborations with different kinds of partners, and incentivizing the transfer of knowledge.

As part of our aims to evaluate and strengthen the mission of the Pirenne Consortium, and to monitor research opportunities for medievalists and the SSH community in general, the Consortium has organised three specific events:

  1. Medieval Studies as Academic Discipline (28 May 2015). An international study day on multi-period and cross-cultural research in Medieval Studies, and on how this academic research can contribute to society in general and to cultural heritage management in particular.
  2. The Footprint of Social Sciences and Humanities (13 December 2016). Study day with plenary lectures, parallel workshops and discussion groups on 'impact', interdisciplinarity and the role of SSH in society. We co-organised this event together with the other SSH research consortia at Ghent University.
  3. CARMEN - Worldwide Medieval Network Annual Meeting 'Medieval Materialities' (22-23 September 2017). Meeting of medievalists from around the world, primarily designed as a network event for medievalists and others to connect with the international scene of Medieval Studies both inside and outside academia. It also provided an excellent opportunity to learn about each other's research and find partners for future research collaborations.