This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar

The UACES Blog

News and comment from UACES events and activities


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

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 Historical Institutionalist approach, the research project analyses path dependent processes regarding energy policy, from the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community to the project of the European Energy Union. It investigates under what premises legislative proposals for the Energy Union were made, identifying critical junctures that deploy possibilities for institutional change, and determining which key players were pivotal in formulating policy proposals.

The research project looks at the way initial steps have led to subsequent integration and how the rationale underpinning the ultimate goal to form a common Energy Union have shaped developments in this policy area.

To that end, I utilise different types of data for my research, and both qualitative and quantitative methods are applied. The research trip to Brussels was of immense value as it helped me to expand my methodological approach and gather qualitative data that was missing from my document analysis of primary and secondary sources. It allowed me to investigate important aspects of the decision-making process in Brussels that depend on expert knowledge and insight from policy makers – not only because of their technical expertise, but also due to their holistic knowledge of the different factors influencing this process.

The obtained data will contribute to a much thicker policy description, which in turn will ultimately contribute to a fine-grained analysis of the content. Many of the interviews I conducted provided insight on the policy area that would otherwise have not been accessible through an analysis of documents and quantitative data.

Over the three-week period, I managed to conduct 15 interviews, between 1 and 1 ½ hours each. Amongst my interview partners were high ranking officials from the Directorate General of Energy, representatives of different COREPER divisions of Member States, Members of the European Parliament (ITRE committee), and a think tank.

I also conducted a telephone interview with a representative from the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. I was astonished by the openness and the willingness of high ranking officials and civil servants to partake in my research. I had expected it to be more difficult to win them for an interview, due to the sensitivity of certain information.

However, I have to conclude that the research trip was an utterly pleasant and invaluable experience that will ultimately help me to finish my PhD thesis. In addition, during my time in Brussels I attended a UACES CRN Workshop on energy policy in Maastricht, where I had the opportunity to chair a panel. Therefore, I am immensely grateful to UACES for providing the means to conduct this field trip to Brussels, an endeavour that would otherwise have been impossible to accomplish.

Learn more about the UACES Scholarships.

Ingmar Versolmann is a PhD researcher in Politics & International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. His research analyses the driving factors towards deeper integration in European energy policy and the European Energy Union. His research interests include Historical Institutionalism, theories of integration, EU external relations, energy markets and energy security. He was visiting researcher at the Webster University Vienna, Austria. Contact: iversolm[at]



Recent Articles

Researching the Multidimensionality of Sanctioning Policies | UACES Scholar: Martina Fürrutter

Published on by | No Comments
PhD Scholarship European Studies

Report by UACES Scholar 2018, Martina Fürrutter (University of St. Gallen). Applications are now open for the 2019 UACES Scholarships. Outline of the project My PhD project explores the multidimensionality of sanctioning policies. Existing research has highlighted the ineffectiveness of sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy. However, most studies tend to base their results on a […]

Researching Women’s Labour Force Participation, Childcare and Family Policy in Post-Soviet Russia | UACES Scholar: Olena Lyubchenko

Published on by | No Comments
European Studies scholar PhD

Report by UACES Scholar 2018, Olena Lyubchenko (York University, Toronto). Applications are now open for the 2019 UACES Scholarships. The 2018 UACES Scholarship of £1,500 has allowed me to conduct a part of fieldwork research toward my PhD dissertation, preliminarily titled, Gender Order in Transition?: Social Reproduction in Post-Soviet Russia, while holding a Visiting Researcher position at […]

Researching Kin-Minority Parties in a (Dis)Integrating Europe | UACES/JMCT Scholar: Patrick Utz

Published on by | No Comments
funding, grant, european studies, scholarship, fieldwork

Report by UACES/James Madison Charitable Trust Scholar 2018, Patrick Utz (University of Edinburgh). Applications are now open for the 2019 UACES Scholarships. Kin-minority parties in a (dis)integrating Europe: Cross-border cooperation and irredentism in the European Union My PhD project explores how European integration modifies the territorial demands of kinminority parties in Western Europe. Kin-minority parties are […]

Researching the Emergence of Inter-Firm Cooperation in Unfavourable Settings | UACES Scholar: Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni

Published on by | No Comments
Scholarship European Studies PhD fieldwork funding EU

Report by UACES Scholar 2018, Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni (European Institute, London School of Economics), on her fieldwork in Greece and Southern Italy.  Overview of my PhD The aim of my thesis is to explain why intense inter-firm cooperation sometimes emerges in unfavourable settings, notably in Greece and Southern Italy. The starting point of my argument is that […]

Researching the Development of Regional Parliaments in Europe, South America & Africa | UACES Scholar 2018

Published on by | No Comments

Report by UACES-James Madison Charitable Trust (JMCT) Scholar 2018, Bruno Theodoro Luciano (University of Birmingham).  Thanks to the UACES/JMCT scholarship I was able to conduct a research fieldwork in South Africa for the purposes of my PhD research, which aims to investigate the development of regional parliaments in Europe (European Parliament), South America (Mercosur Parliament) […]

Governance beyond the Anthropocene: Ecological Issues in European Political practice and Thought | Event Report

Published on by | No Comments
governance, anthropocene, European Studies, UACES Small Event Grant

School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire, June 22nd 2018 Organisers:  Dr Francesca Batzella, Dr Elisa Randazzo and Hannah Richter On June 22nd the members of the Security & Governance research group at the University of Hertfordshire welcomed scholars working on ecological issues in Political Science, Political Theory and Law for a day of presentations and […]

A Re-Nationalisation and De-Europeanisation of EU foreign policy? | 1st NORTIA Conference

Published on by | No Comments

Paula Lamoso (Autonomous University Madrid) This report was originally published on the NORTIA website NORTIA celebrated its First Network Conference at IBEI Barcelona (hosted by Dr Robert Kissack and his team) during 6-8 June 2018. It was my first time participating in a NORTIA event, and the assessment cannot be better.  We enjoyed three days of colloquium about teaching […]

UACES Chair’s Message — August 2018

Published on by | No Comments

Helen Drake, Loughborough University London This is the full version of Helen’s final Chair’s Column for the UACES members’ newsletter, before she steps down after 6 years of service as UACES Chair.  What’s in a subject association?[1]  UACES is above all a membership organisation. We exist first and foremost to deliver benefit to our members, […]

External Perceptions of the EU after Brexit | Event Report

Published on by | 1 Comment

Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz 28-29 June 2018 On the second anniversary of the British referendum and the “Leave” vote, this international workshop hosted at the University of Mainz addressed the impact of Brexit on external partners’ perceptions of the EU and, by extension, on EU foreign policy. The event was supported by a UACES Small Event […]

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.