Institut d'etudes Européennes
De l'Université libre de Bruxelles


Research at the Institute for European Studies

Research at the IEE-ULB, one of its three main missions alongside education and public debate, is conducted in different research departments, centers and laboratories. It enables the IEE to participate to many networks and led to the creation of graduate schools.


As a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the IEE-ULB is a recognized reservoir of expertise in European affairs. Its affiliates academic lectures and researchers provide the necessary knowledge and disciplinary excellence which any interdisciplinary research institute must effectively base its research activities on.

The IEE-ULB's specific approach to interdisciplinarity is a sustained effort to coax dialogue and confrontation by bridging several disciplinary concerns. It disctinguishes itself from both multidisciplinarity, which risks being limited to a mere juxtaposition of disciplinary analyses; and transdisciplinarity, which at times can forego a deep disciplinary anchoring. By analogy, when it comes to drafting new interdisciplinary research projects on the EU, the IEE-ULB will effectively favour an integrated "marbled cake model" rather than a cumulative "tiered cake" one.



For over 50 years, the IEE-ULB has positionned itself at the forefront of the study of the European institutions. Initially, its research focused on the political, sociological, institutional, economic and legal processes behind the dynamics of European integration. As the European level increasingly emerged as an autonomous public actor, research in European studies sought to unpack processes of Europeanisation and emerging European public policies.

Nowadays, understanding the institutions, policies and integration dynamics associated with the EU requires considering them in the context of globalisation. This has seen the IEE'-ULB's approach evolve into a so-called concentrci one. It strives to bridge EU studies, Area studies and International studies; thusly providing new comparative insights, be it in legal, political, historical or discursive terms. As other "macro-regions" go through their own disctinctive integration processes and inter-regional dynamics have become increasingly relevant, the interactions between European and global governance mechanisms have bceom ever more significant.

This concentric research agenda is deployed along 4 transversal research themes grouping experts from all of the aforementionned disciplines:

THEME 1 - Europe as an area of freedom, security and justice

THEME 2 - Europe as an area of economic and social regulation

THEME 3 - Europe as a community of norms and values

THEME 4 - Europe in the world



The IEE-ULB has a proven track record in doctoral training. It consistently promotes both disciplinary excellence while also responding to a growing need for a more interdisciplinary, international and professional breed of social scientists. In close collaboration with its 3 partner faculties - i.e. Philosophy and Social Sciences; Law and Criminology and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, the IEE-ULB is committed to train tomorrow's researchers while equally shaping future research on Europe.

With over 40 nationalities and 4 disciplines represented, early stage researchers training at the IEE-ULB come from a variety of backgrounds. They are an integral part of a unique international epistemic community in EU studies. At first, all starting researchers go through a one-year long disciplinary methodological training hosted by the relevant partner faculty which is ultimately caped by an end of year review. Subsequent years of their doctoral programme are dedicated to individual and collective research hosted at the interdisciplinary research institute that is the IEE-ULB.

PhD research at the IEE-ULB is developed with the support of a variety of funding avenues. this confluence of private, public, national, European and international funding contributes towards ensuring a pluralistic and open research environment. In this regards, the IEE-ULN has - amongst other - been involved in partnerships with the European Commission's Erasmus Mundus, Marie Curie and Jean Monnet programmes; the FNRS-'s individual research fellowships, FRESH and mini-arc programmes; the Chinese Scholarship Council's; the Erasmus Taiwan Programme; or private foundations. Read more