Meet the Winners of CIVICA's Research Call 2022

Six collaborative research projects have been selected for funding in the second call for research proposals launched by CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences. The call aimed to jumpstart innovative research and create new ties between CIVICA’s member universities. Faculty and postdoctoral researchers from the alliance were encouraged to team up and submit new research ideas aligned with, but not necessarily limited to, CIVICA’s focus areas: societal and environmental crises, democracy, Europe, and data science.

“As with the 2021 research call, the winning projects cover a broad range of disciplines and confront some of the most important issues of our times,” said Carsten Q. Schneider, Professor in the Political Science Department, Central European University, and Co-chair of the Permanent Design Team (PDT), the alliance’s research governance body that evaluated the submissions. “The second series of funded projects confirms CIVICA’s ambition to support excellent research in the social sciences.”

Getting research off the ground

The seed funding from CIVICA will enable researchers to scale up their projects and apply for larger research grants.

“The funding will help our experts bring their ideas to life in a European research network,” said Guillaume Plantin, Vice President for Research, Sciences Po, and Co-chair of the PDT. “Research thrives on international exchanges and collaboration, and the CIVICA setup makes it possible for our researchers to engage at a completely new level.”

The alliance awarded the six winning projects approx. €100,000 in total funding, financed from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, and partners’ own resources. One of the selection criteria was a project’s potential to develop into fully-fledged research and be eligible for larger grants. The PDT also considered aspects like innovation, coherence, and contribution to CIVICA’s efforts towards integrated research.

New possibilities for researchers

The winning projects span across six of the CIVICA universities and connect, on average, experts from three different institutions. Four of the proposals align with CIVICA’s focus on democracy and Europe: citizenship regimes in post-communist Europe; European and EU practices to protect academics at risk; local mobilisation against the EU; and European responses to young Islamic State returnees. On the data science front, a project will aim to understand social media narratives about COVID-19 vaccination. Another winning project will connect four alliance institutions to strengthen research ethics, transparency and research data management.

This is the alliance’s second round of collaborative research projects, adding to the 11 multidisciplinary teams who are conducting joint research since 2021 with Horizon 2020 funding.

“We are thrilled to be able to back outstanding research in our alliance thanks to these calls,” says Susana Mourato, Pro-Director of Research, LSE, and member of the PDT. “CIVICA’s growing portfolio of joint projects will open up new roads for our researchers in the future.”

Winning projects

CIVICA congratulates the winning projects and the researchers involved:

A Pilot Study on Mapping the Attitudes Towards Covid-19 Vaccination in Online Communities (ROHUVax)

Lead institution: SNSPA
Other CIVICA members involved: CEU
Focus area: Data Driven Technologies for Social Sciences

CIVICA is an extraordinary example of European collaboration and I look forward to working with our partners from Central European University. Our project aims to create a methodology for mapping public conversations on social media, with a particular focus on disinformation/misinformation narratives during the pandemic period. I hope that this methodology will provide a good meeting point for different disciplines, such as communication and data science, and thus increase the understanding of the mega-changes taking place in our information ecosystems. —project lead Alina Bârgăoanu, Professor and Dean of the College of Communication and Public Relations, SNSPA

Contestations of Citizenship in Contexts of Democratic Backsliding: Lessons from Post-communist Europe (CITDEM)

Lead institutions: EUI, LSE, CEU
Focus area: Democracy in the 21st Century

We are delighted to start this project that will create lasting synergies between three CIVICA members. The CITDEM project comparatively examines how stalled democracy and rising authoritarianism in post-communist European countries affect citizenship regimes. Our empirical results will have broader implications for understanding and studying how citizenship changes when democratic governance becomes a façade veiling populist and authoritarian political objectives. —project co-leads: Jelena Dzankic, Part-Time Professor in the Global Governance Programme, EUI; Eleanor Knott, Assistant Professor in Qualitative Methods, LSE; Szabolcs Pogonyi, Associate Professor in the Nationalism Studies Program, CEU

Counterterrorism and Safeguarding in Response to Islamic State (CASIS)

Lead institution: EUI
Other CIVICA members involved: LSE
Focus area: Europe Revisited

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with CIVICA university partners on this project. The CASIS project will bring together researchers at CIVICA institutions to understand how countries are responding to young returnees from Islamic State. This timely issue has great implications for Europe, determining how migration continues to be governed, the resilience of democracy in Europe, and the current and potential impact of counterterror approaches on human rights. —CASIS project team

Local Mobilization Against the EU. Territorial Dimensions of Populist Euroscepticism (EULOC)

Lead institution: LSE
Other CIVICA members involved: CEU, SNSPA
Focus areas: Democracy in the 21st Century, Europe Revisited

I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to build on research we previously undertook on how locality influenced Brexit voting. The project is a chance to scale up this work to an international comparative level, investigating the localities that are inclined towards (or resistant to) Euroscepticism, and what lessons this might hold for the European Union. —project lead Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, LSE

Pilot Network for Research Ethics and Data Management Training (PiNRED)

Lead institution: EUI
Other CIVICA members involved: CEU, Hertie School, Sciences Po
Focus areas: research ethics, transparency and research data management

I am delighted to begin this project that brings together four CIVICA universities. This project will explore best practice in research ethics and research data management, and will identify ways in which CIVICA universities can coordinate their efforts to ensure that the best possible social science research is undertaken, while protecting research subjects. project lead Thomas Crossley, Full-time Professor in the Department of Economics, EUI

Protecting Academics at Risk: A Survey of European and EU Practice (PROAC)

Lead institutions: CEU, LSE, SNSPA
Focus area: Democracy in the 21st Century

We are happy that CIVICA recognised the political importance and academic relevance of PROAC - a project which aims to investigate how scholars who have been forced into exile by authoritarian regimes within and outside Europe are currently being integrated in the EU. The research team is led by three PIs from Gender Studies, Political Science, and History. We hope to conduct research in three pilot countries ranging from older to newer EU members to a non-EU member state (Hungary, Romania, and the UK), as well as EU-level organisations.

Informed by historical and comparative research into academic integration, we want to develop in-depth interviews with key position holders to gain a granular and multi-perspectival understanding of the challenges involved, creative solutions found, and dilemmas encountered when addressing the problem of expelled academics today—project co-leads: Andrea Pető, Professor in the Department of Gender Studies, CEU; Dina Gusejnova, Assistant Professor in International History, LSE; Alina Dragolea, Lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science, SNSPA 

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