Europe and Global Challenges


For several years, RJ has engaged in close cooperation with the German Volkswagen Foundation (VWS) and the Italian Compagnia di San Paolo (CSP) to devise research programmes in European foreign and security policy.

Experience has been multifaceted and positive. Together, the three foundations have created initiatives that would have been beyond the power of each to create separately.

With the 'Europe and Global Challenges' research programme, they are developing their collaboration further and broadening their perspective from European to global level. It addresses both young and senior researchers, and involves European researchers being encouraged to collaborate with colleagues in other parts of the world in tackling the great challenges of our day. The hope is that this initiative will give a boost to the internationalisation of European, including Swedish, research in Social Sciences and Humanities.

The first call for applications to join this programme was issued in 2010. Since the response was strong, far exceeding expectations, there was a second call. Seventy-six applications from international research groups were received. An international expert panel with eight members was appointed and, at an initial meeting in Turin in February, it was decided that applications from 15 research groups should proceed to a further review. In June, hearings with the groups were held in Stockholm, and the three foundations agreed to award four grants within this initiative. Altogether, the research groups are now working in 'Europe and Global Challenges. Grants were awarded to the following people in 2012:

  • Professor Thomas Diez of the University of Tübingen, whose research group has received €700,500 from Compagnia di San Paolo (CSP) to study the EU, regional conflicts and the promotion of regional cooperation: 'A Successful Strategy for a Global Challenge?'
  • Thorsten Benner, Director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, whose group has been granted €954,900 from the Volkswagen Foundation (VWS) for the 'Human Security and the Dynamics of Norm Competition' programme.
  • Professor Jann Lay, who heads a group at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg that has been awarded € 850,000 by VWS for 'Climate Change Mitigation and Poverty Reduction — Trade-Offs or Win-Win Situations?'
  • Dr Neil Powell, a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), to whose research group RJ has granted € 900,000 for the programme 'Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance: Reconciling Food Security Policies, Renewable Energy and the Provision of Multiple Ecosystem Services'.