CEU Awards Funding in Intellectual Themes Initiative, Invites New Proposals

January 26, 2016

As it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, CEU has launched the University-wide Intellectual Themes Initiative. This is a major new institutional endeavor at CEU, meant to promote exploring and developing new activities that encourage cross-disciplinary teaching and research, prompt new forms of civic engagement, enhance the academic profile of CEU and contribute to shaping its future institutional direction. The first call for proposals, together with a full description of the initiative, was circulated to all members of the CEU community in November 2015.

The Intellectual Themes Initiative (ITI) Selection Committee, chaired by Professor Helga Nowotny, former president of the European Research Council, and comprising of four CEU faculty members, CEU’s President and Rector John Shattuck and Provost and Pro-Rector Liviu Matei, evaluated all the proposals according to the criteria indicated in the ITI call. The Committee decided to support three projects at this time. Several applicants were invited to resubmit their proposals in March.

The Committee invites new proposals for projects starting in AY 16/17. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2016. A revised, more detailed call and application form are attached.

The Committee is planning to organize a faculty seminar to present selected projects to the CEU community.
The three selected projects are:

Energy Theme

Project title: Political Economy of Energy Transitions (POLET)
Applicants: Aleh Cherp, Environmental Sciences and Policy Dept., Michael LaBelle, Business School and Environmental Sciences and Policy Dept., Michael Dorsch, School of Public Policy, and Karl Hall, Department of History and Science Studies Program, Jessica Jewell, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Areas covered by the project: Research, Teaching and Learning and Outreach

Objectives of the project
1 To advance the emerging science of energy transition by bringing together insights from energy systems analysis, innovation studies, political economy, and history and by fostering an international scholarly community focused on energy transitions; 2. To establish CEU as an international center of excellence for energy transitions studies; 3. To improve CEUs capacity for cutting-edge research in the field of energy transitions and energy research more generally; 4. To strengthen doctoral education in the field of energy transitions at CEU; 5. To lay foundations for world-class Masters education in the field of energy transitions at CEU.

Social Mind Theme

Project title: Social Mind Area-Scholarships for interdisciplinary doctoral studies (SMASH)

Applicants: Vlad Naumescu, Sociology and Social Anthropology Dept., Gyorgy Gergely, Cognitive Science Dept., Rita Astuti, Department of Anthropology, LSE, H. Clark Barrett, Department of Anthropology, UCLA, and Ildiko Kiraly, Cognitive Science Dept., ELTE Eotvos Lorand University.
Areas covered by the project: Research and Teaching and Learning

Description of the project
During the last decade the fast-growing area of 'Social Mind' research has witnessed significant theoretical developments and new empirical and methodological advances that reconsider old debates and prompt new research. This is accompanied by a growing interest in substantive cross-disciplinary dialogue about the need and prospect for methodological and conceptual integration of hitherto largely unrelated approaches. The SMASH PhD training program answers this need by taking a novel approach to doctoral training and research. It offers specialized interdisciplinary PhD positions for promising doctoral candidates who would demonstrate a dedicated interest and strong motivation to pursue their research within one of two predefined areas in the field of cultural transmission: memory and pedagogy'. These areas reflect current expertise and research, and represent ideal entry points to an interdisciplinary approach to and understanding of the Social Mind. The program is specially designed to provide future researchers with the kind of interdisciplinary background and multi-methods competence that are becoming a pre-requisite for conducting cutting-edge scientific research in this field.

The SMASH initiative aims to build a unique doctoral research training program designed to integrate different conceptual and methodological approaches within a well-defined thematic framework and collaborative setup. The program is based on the following features: a) joint supervision of expert faculty members from participating CEU departments who are already engaged in ongoing research in the designated areas, b) specialized training in interdisciplinary research methodologies and practice, core conceptual approaches and analytical models developed within the respective disciplines c) collaborative research frame which includes Faculty Members, Postdoctoral and Doctoral students from participating CEU departments and visiting faculty working in the respective areas of research.

Inequalities and Social Justice Theme

Project title: CEU Open Learning Initiative (CEU OLIve)
Applicants: Prem Kumar Rajaram, Sociology & Social Anthropology Dept./Roma Access Programs, David Ridout, Center for Academic Writing/Roma Access Programs, Vlad Naumescu, Sociology & Social Anthropology Dept., Viola Zentai, Center for Policy Studies, Agnes Toth, Center for Academic Writing.
Areas covered by the project: Outreach and Civic Engagement

Project description
CEU Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) will offer academic and training courses to refugees and asylum seekers in Hungary. OLIve is a civic engagement project that strengthens CEUs involvement in the wider community and fosters the universitys goal of promoting open society by facilitating education for some of the most marginalised while removing barriers between CEU and the wider community.
OLIve will offer English courses at three levels (basic, intermediate and academic), one academic course per term, plus career training courses, an introduction to Hungary course and academic tutoring to help students prepare an application to a university. The initiative had been in planning since September 2015 and courses started on January 16, 2016. There are some 15 staff and faculty behind this initiative.

OLIve will:
1. Complement and extend CEUs mission to foster open society and community engagement. OLIve will, in particular, complement recent initiatives at CEU to do with refugees.
2. Address some of the gaps in refugee integration programs in Hungary.
There is little or nothing in the way of language or career training provided by Hungarian authorities, and there is little scope for preparing refugees for entry to university; 3. Connect our students to a network of European universities that offer scholarships for refugees. While OLIve is the only such direct teaching initiative in Europe that we are aware of, other European universities have recently established scholarship opportunities for refugees: we see OLIve as a means of connecting our students to a burgeoning academic network.
4. Draw on CEU faculty, staff and students to provide courses in a voluntary capacity. OLIves curriculum will be multidisciplinary and will draw on faculty from different departments at CEU. Every term, the team will offer a new academic course taught by teams of CEU faculty.
The first will be titled Human Rights and will provide students a sound and critical introduction to the theory and practice of human rights through seminars led by CEU faculty and students. The second course to be offered in the Spring is Critical Approaches to Culture and will be led by Vlad Naumescu.
5. Help upgrade CEUs capacity to initiate new research on migration and refugee issues through exposure to people on the move formerly unknown or invisible in this part of Europe and to policy structures, or the lack of such structures, responsible for refugee matters.