Announcing the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies (GIES)

(26-04-2021) At the end of 2020, following several rounds of discussions, the professorial staff of the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) and the Ghent Institute for International Studies (GIIS) decided in favour of merging the two research groups.

At the end of 2020, following several rounds of discussions, the professorial staff of the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) and the Ghent Institute for International Studies (GIIS) decided in favour of merging the two research groups. This decision was made based on the observation that content-wise there is more that binds the two groups than separates them, which implies that there is a lot of unexplored potential for synergies between the two groups. Moreover, in today’s academic landscape, the two groups will stand stronger together in an effort to further professionalise and develop as a research group.

The merger will enter into force upcoming summer, namely when the department moves to the Technicum building. In the meantime, several steps are being taken to prepare the merger. So far, there has already been an online speed date event to get to know each other, and a separate online event for the PhD researchers. A working group was created to brainstorm about possible names for the new research group. This led us to the name “Ghent Institute for International and European Studies” (GIES).

Meanwhile, some of the groups’ activities have already been merged, including the monthly research sessions during which a colleague presents a draft paper. In deciding how to organise these merged activities, the motto is that we are taking the best from both worlds.

In terms of organisational structure, GIES will not be led by a director, but will instead function on the basis of shared leadership. Specific clusters of responsibilities (e.g. education; research; admin & logistics; team-building & HR) will be allocated to teams of two professorial staff. These clusters will be coordinated by means of regular ZAP meetings (monthly) and GIES meetings (tri-annual).

Research-wise, GIES will build a research profile that encompasses six interrelated research themes, namely (1) political economy, (2) climate-energy-environment, (3) development, (4) geopolitics and strategy, (5) (inter)regionalism and (6) governance. Given the extensive focus on the EU among our researchers, the EU will take up a transversal place within GIES’ thematic profile.

As a new research group, GIES is looking forward to working together with the other research groups in the department from September onwards.