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News and comment from UACES events and activities


Out of the LSE Bubble | NORTIA Fellow Irena Kahlousová

Irena Kalhousová is currently a PhD student at the London School of Economics, working on relations between Central European countries and Israel. She is a Chief analyst and a member of the Program Committee at the Foundation Forum2000. Irena holds an M.Phil. degree in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

I applied for the NORTIA Bursary in the last year of my Ph.D. It was one of the last opportunities to get to know better another academic institution while still being a student. My first choice was the European University in Florence (EUI). Being on my list of universities to which I applied for my PhD five years ago, I was truly curious to visit the institution and to spend some time there. And I was not disappointed. I came to Florence in the middle of the spring semester and as such, I had a chance to attend seminars and conferences organized by the Department of Political and Social Sciences. Not surprisingly, many of those events were focused on issues related to the EU. Academics, diplomats, politicians, as well as officials from both Brussels and member states apparently enjoy coming to the EUI to present, explain, and discuss theories, policies, strategies, and the future of the EU. Coming from LSE where most of the EU related issues have been lately limited to discussions about Brexit, this was a rather refreshing change which reminded me what so many people in the U.K. tend to forget – that actually, Brexit is not at all the most urgent topic in the EU.

Together with updating myself about today’s EU, my stay at the EUI was academically very enriching. I found most professors and fellows at the EUI very accessible. They were willing to discuss and even read parts of my thesis. Their feedback and ideas helped me to look at both the theoretical and empirical parts of my thesis with fresh eyes. On top of it, I had a great discussion with other PhD students at the EUI. Coming from all over Europe and having an experience with different academic institutions, it was really inspiring to spend time with them discussing our academic projects.

Coming to Florence in the time of intense writing as the deadline for my thesis has been fast approaching, I appreciated the tranquillity of the EUI campus. The breath-taking view on the city of Florence from the library at the Badia Fiesolana, a classical garden at the Villa Schifanoia, or Villa Salviati, the seat of the Historical Archives of the EU, those were places where one could find an ideal stress-free room so needed in the time of stressful writing.

And of course, then there is Florence. A beautiful city where arts made by great Renaissance painters, sculptors, and architects can be found literary on every corner. Even if you are not a big fan of the Renaissance, in Florence, you will become one. And the fact that as an EUI student one can visit most of the iconic places for free surely helps to enjoy fully the city.

To conclude, ten weeks that I spent at the EUI thanks to the NORTIA Bursary were simply great. A beautiful place, superb academic quality, friendly people, combined with Italian food made my time in Florence unforgettable. I am truly grateful for this chance.

Applications are now open for the 2019 NORTIA bursaries. To learn more, visit the UACES website: 


Recent Articles

Researching EU Foreign Policy | NORTIA Fellow Irina Petrova

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Irina Petrova is a PhD fellow at the Leuven International and European Studies (LINES) Institute at the University of Leuven. Her dissertation (under the supervision of Professor Stephan Keukeleire) focuses on the comparison of different types of power exercised by the EU and Russia in their shared neighbourhood.     Synergies between NORTIA and projects […]

UACES Chair’s Message — November 2018

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Nicholas Startin, University of Bath It is a pleasure to be writing my first column for the newsletter as Chair of UACES. I would like to begin by saying a big thank you to Helen Drake for all of her efforts in the role over the last six years. Her excellent leadership skills and commitment […]

UACES European Energy Policy Research Network | Three Years in Review (2015-2018)

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After more than three years of very stimulating and productive research collaboration, the UACES funded Collaborative Research Network (CRN) on European Energy, established in 2015, held its final formal gathering at the UACES Annual Conference in Bath in September 2018. Since its launch, network members have delivered about forty-five research papers at various UACES Annual […]

Effective Enforcement of EU Law and Policy | UACES Research Network News

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The newly established UACES Research Network (RN) on Effective Enforcement of EU Law and Policy (2018-2021) has made an auspicious start with events at three international interdisciplinary conferences over the summer of 2018. In June, network co-ordinators, Sara Drake and Melanie Smith (Cardiff), and network members, Esther Versluis (Maastricht) and Judith van Erp (Utrecht), made […]

Best Book in European Studies | Interview with 2018 Prizewinner Thomas Winzen

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The UACES Best Book Prize is awarded annually for the book that has made the most substantial and original contribution to knowledge in contemporary European Studies. In 2018, the prize was awarded to Thomas Winzen (University of Mannheim) for his book Constitutional Preferences and Parliamentary Reform – Explaining National Parliaments’ Adaptation to European Integration (Oxford University Press, […]

The Next Generation of European Studies | UACES Graduate Forum

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Dr Anna Wambach is the outgoing Chair of the UACES Graduate Forum, the international network of PhD and early-career European Studies scholars. Here, she reflects on how the Graduate Forum fosters collaboration, collegiality and interdisciplinarity in European Studies, and what she’s gained from being on the Committee.  In November 2014, I first stood for election to the UACES Student […]

Mapping Social Networks at UACES 2018

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Academic conferences are key meeting points in the research community, a vital outlet for new research, and an indispensable opportunity for collaborators to interact in person. But, asks Brendan Moore, how do we conceptualise these complex events, and what can they tell us about the wider European Studies discipline? During the UACES 48th Annual Conference […]

The Limits of EUrope | Event Report

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LIMITS OF EUROPE Reading Room, Carlton House Terrace 1st-2nd October 2018 Conference by King’s College London and Lazarski University, Warsaw EUrope is changing, and in addition to critically asking why and how EUrope is changing, we need to investigate what epistemic and methodological advances can be made to better understand changes and challenges in EUropean […]

Researching European Energy Policy in Brussels | UACES Scholar: Ingmar Versolmann (University of Edinburgh)

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European Studies scholarship fieldwork

Report by UACES Scholar 2018, Ingmar Versolmann (University of Edinburgh).  My UACES Scholarship funding was used for a three-week field trip to Brussels in April 2018, to conduct interviews. My research project analyses the driving factors of European energy policy towards a European Energy Union and a deeper level of integration in general. Utilising a […]

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