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Interdisciplinary Research Projects

Amsterdam Centre for European Studies - ACES

In order to promote research collaborations across the participating faculties, ACES devotes a significant part of its budget to two-year targeted interdisciplinary research projects. These projects are led by ACES affiliates from at least two faculties and address major societal challenges in a European context and urgent issues concerning the dynamics and direction of contemporary Europe.

Second Round Projects

  • Emotions in European Politics: Affective Dynamics and Complex Societal Challenges

    This project focuses on how emotions and other affective dynamics shape the perceptions and development of intractable and complex societal challenges in the European Union. The project starts from the assumption that there is no such thing as a division between rationality and emotion: policy makers, politicians and citizens are fueled by both. Emotions play an important role in shaping social meanings, empowering citizens, and strengthening bonds within groups.

    The project focuses on a variety of themes including the role of emotions in power relations among key players, how emotions affect citizens’ perceptions and the subjective construction of others as strangers. It is highly relevant in terms of the rise of Euroscepticism and nativist populism which is strongly shaped by (masculinist) affective rationalities.

    These themes will be investigated across two policy areas: climate change with a specific focus on climate-induced migration and EU security and defense policy with a focus on militarism.

    The project’s methodology includes three layers:

    - Discourse analysis of affective dynamics in EU climate and security policy

    - Content analysis that includes a broader perspective about the topics of Foreign Policy and Climate Change Policy

    - Quantitative analysis using survey experiments and factorial survey

    For the purposes of the project a network will be created including policy-makers and key-players interested in developing their knowledge on the role of emotions in politics.

    Dr. L. (Linda) Bos

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    CW : Political Communication & Journalism

    Dr. H.L. (Hanna) Muehlenhoff

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies

    Dr. R.M. (Rosa) Sanchez Salgado

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance

    Dr. A.J. (Andrew) Telford

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies

  • Free, Fair & Green? Governing Europe’s Trade Relations in a Changing Global Economic Order

    The EU has developed its external trade policy within a global economic order characterized by multilateralism, the geopolitical predominance of the West, and the promise that free trade, economic liberalisation, and market integration would lead to increasing living standards for all. However, these premises are increasingly challenged. Policy makers and governance actors in the EU have acknowledged these challenges which demand a rethinking of the strategies and instruments employed to pursue it. Against this background, this project analyses the current challenges to the EU’s external trade relations and explores new institutional pathways and policy innovations for Europe as a global actor. The research looks into how Europe uses its external trade relations to pursue its interests and project its values in a changing global economic order.

    The interdisciplinary work will be organised in three work packages covering

    •  the governance and enforcement of trade rules in a weakened multilateral trade system;
    • the EU’s trade strategy in the Global South;
    • European innovations in transnational trade governance.

    By combining the study of multilateral, interregional, and transnational dimensions, the project provides a rich window into the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s external trade relations in a changing world economy.

    Dr. P.P. (Pola) Cebulak

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies

    Dr. S. (Sebastian) Krapohl

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance

    Dr. P. (Philip) Schleifer

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance

    Dr. G. (Geraldo) Vidigal

    Faculty of Law

    Public International Law

    Dr. M. (Maria) Weimer

    Faculty of Law

    European Public Law

  • ACES Digital Europe Hub: Building ACES clout for a sustainable European digital cloud

    This project has the dual objective to:

    • conduct interdisciplinary research on the case of the European politics of cloud computing and sustainable digitalization, and
    • create an interdisciplinary hub for research, exchange and outreach on Digital Europe and sustainable digitalization.

    Digitalization in Europe is in full swing and increasingly of strategic importance for the European project. The European digital strategy seeks to shape Europe’s digital future where “the twin challenge of a green and digital transformation has to go hand-in-hand” (European Commission 2000a). The strategy is to a significant extent premised on Europe’s self-sufficiency in key digital technologies, such as European data spaces, artificial intelligence, 5G mobile communications, cloud and quantum computing. This research project will lay the foundations for ACES research and for connecting researchers in the interdisciplinary space where digitalization and sustainability intersect in Europe. They will carry out a foundational project to study how the twin objectives of sustainability and digitalization are being shaped in European politics. Showcasing how interdisciplinary connections can be made and lead to stage-setting insights, they will simultaneously develop what is called the ACES Digital Europe Hub, with sustainability built in.

    The research will be organised in four workpackages:

    WP1: European multi-level governance of cloud computing and digital sustainability;

    WP2: Businesses perspectives on European cloud computing and digital sustainability;

    WP3: Civil society perspectives on European multi-level cloud governance;

    WP4: Synthesis of actors’ perspectives and processes that shape European politics of cloud computing and sustainability.

    Prof. dr. J.E.M. (Ans) Kolk

    Faculty of Economics and Business

    Section Strategy & International Business

    Dr K. (Kristina) Irion

    Faculty of Law

    Information Law

    Prof. dr. S. (Stefania) Milan

    Faculty of Humanities

    Departement Mediastudies

First Round Projects

  • Solidarity and Institutional Design

    The project on solidarity and institutional design studies the feasibility of cross-border European solidarity in the socio-economic domain, with an emphasis on its institutional architecture. It studies two salient cases: solidarity in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and solidarity via the joint procurement of medicines. In both areas, there is a need for new policies that are likely to meet resistance. The first needs to overcome potential moral hazard from fiscal transfers. The second requires willingness of national policymakers to implement such schemes. The project will combine insights from economics, law, and political science.

    Project leaders

    Prof. dr. R.M.W.J. (Roel) Beetsma

    Executive Staff

    Decanen

    Prof. B.M. (Brian) Burgoon

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance

    Dr. mr. A. (Anniek) de Ruijter

    Faculty of Law

    Dep. Public Law

    The feasibility of European solidarity and the design of institutions: an interdisciplinary inquiry in two salient cases, EMU and the joint procurement of medicines

    This research project consists of two sub-projects. The first sub-project, led by Roel Beetsma, Brian Burgoon and Frank Vandenbroucke, seconded by Francesco Nicoli, starts from the following premise: the completion of EMU inevitably implies the organization of more risk sharing, and therefore more ‘solidarity’, than what exists today; but the organization of solidarity, in turn, generates the possibility of moral hazard, at the level of the individual citizen and of institutions. The sub-project focuses on the improvement of our understanding of citizens’ attitudes with regard to the design of fiscal risk-sharing.

    The second sub-project, organized by Anniek de Ruijter, addresses the following question: what are EU citizens and EU civil servants’ attitudes towards a public procurement model for pandemic vaccines? And, in light of these attitudes, what would be the best regulatory regime for organizing medicinal solidarity during a pandemic disease outbreak? 

    These in summary are the first results of the interdisciplinary research project:

    Solidarity through Redistribution and Insurance of Incomes: The EU As Support, Guide, Guarantor or Provider?'. The paper explores the normative arguments as to why the EU should play a role in the domain of welfare state solidarity, and distinguishes different ‘models’ with regard to the role the EU should play.

    During the second half of 2019,  the projectleaders prepared a large-scale survey experiment: on citizens’ attitudes towards various instruments for fiscal risk-sharing and reform support; another one on the joint procurement  of medicines. The survey was fielded in the first of week of March 2020, just before the Covid-19 outbreak.

    This survey shows Dutch citizens are prepared to give the EU a more central role in fighting an epidemic. The team published the results as an ACES SSRN Working Paper, the analysis by VoxEU and a brief summary is also available on POLITICO.

    This research paper was listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: ERN: Other European Economics: Political Economy & Public Economics.

    Another part of the research was organised on 28 February. The European Fiscal Board (EFB) organized in collaboration with the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and ACES a conference on ‘Rethinking the European Fiscal Framework’ (one-day conference in Brussels). The conference focused on European fiscal rules and unemployment re-insurance. It was highly successful, both in terms of the level of speakers (including, among others, Olivier Blanchard and Commissioner Gentiloni), the quality of the discussion, and the number and quality of the participants.

  • Uniformity and Differentiation in European Regulation

    The project on uniformity and differentiation in European regulation tackles the challenge of reconciling functional pressures for uniform rules in integrated markets with diversity of preferences, institutions and conditions across member states. How far can such diversity be accommodated through flexible or ‘experimentalist’ forms of governance, as opposed to differentiated regimes in which some member states push ahead while others opt out, or unresolvable deadlocks that may block or even reverse the integration process itself? And what are the implications of each of these scenarios for the effectiveness and legitimacy of European governance?

    Project leaders

    Prof. T. (Theresa) Kuhn

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies

    Dr. M. (Maria) Weimer

    Faculty of Law

    European Public Law

    Prof. dr. J.H. (Jonathan) Zeitlin

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance

  • Territorialities and Sovereignties

    The project on territorialities and sovereignties investigates EU framing and practices across three different spheres that delineate the reach and limits of the Union’s capacity as a global actor: spaces, mobilities and data. How are geopolitical narratives deployed by the EU to re-make territoriality and spaces of ‘legitimate’ intervention? How do conceptions and practices of territoriality and sovereignty influence how the EU governs migration and mobility within and outside its borders? What role do (big) data and data infrastructure play in the management of territoriality?

    Project leaders

    Prof. dr. C. (Christina) Eckes

    Faculty of Law

    European Public Law

    Prof. dr. L.A. (Luiza) Bialasiewicz

    Faculty of Humanities

    Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies