Professor John O' Brennan has been awarded a new EU Erasmus Plus award for the Maynooth Centre for European and Eurasian Studies, which will become a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. The award is for three years and is worth almost €100,000. The award will support the consolidation of inter-disciplinary research on South Eastern Europe at Maynooth, harnessing the capacities of high-level experts in history, politics and sociology and creating new partnerships with universities in South Eastern Europe.
The research activity and outputs will help advance the 'state of the art' knowledge about South Eastern Europe in both history and politics/sociology. The History dimension (led by Dr. John Paul Newman) will examine the modern history and development of the Balkans and the interface between European developments and domestic Balkan dynamics. The Politics/sociology lens (led by Prof. John O' Brennan) will evaluate a range of areas, including EU enlargement policy, rule of law issues and European integration in the Western Balkans. It will also include an important comparative dimension, including the evaluation of conflict resolution frameworks in the Balkans and Northern Ireland.
The project will facilitate the exchange of faculty and postgraduate students between Maynooth University and partners in Sofia University and the University of Ljubljana and help foster significantly deeper cooperation with institutions in South Eastern Europe. It will also enhance Maynooth University's links with practitioners and civil society organisations located in/working on South Eastern Europe, to share knowledge and provide input into public policy-making, at local, national and European level.
Maynooth University achieved further success in this funding phase, with a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Fundamental Rights being awarded to Professor Tobias Lock of the Department of Law. This means that Maynooth is now home to two Jean Monnet Chairs.
Speaking about the award, John O' Brennan said: "this award constitutes recognition of the important research achievements and international academic standing of the Centre, since its foundation in 2007. It will allow us to further position Maynooth as one of Ireland's key centres for engaging with contemporary Europe, and facilitate important dialogue with policy-makers working on European integration and South Eastern Europe".