Revitalising Regional Integration in Europe and the Asia Pacific

Economic volatility, people movements  and territorial security constitute a ‘triple challenge’ confronting integrating regions such as the EU. Further, the degree to which regions can maintain their own prosperity and stability has implications for their relationships with other regions, many of which face their own version of the ‘triple challenge’. This research project examines regional- and national-level political responses to the ‘triple challenge’ in the EU and other integrating regions.

What can we learn from comparing the responses of each region to economic, migratory and territorial (in)security, as well as the national-level political and social impacts of these challenges? What can regions learn from each other?

Based in Victoria University of Wellington’s Political Science and International Relations Programme and its Centre for Strategic Studies, this project aims to support scholars and policy makers to respond to pressing challenges faced by member states and the EU as a whole.

Postgraduate course ‘Migration and Security in the EU’

This course will be a new offering linking key political and social issues in the EU–migration and security–and studying them from a multidisciplinary perspective. The course will outline patterns in migration across the EU, before examining the extent to which migration poses a “security” issue for member states and the EU. Students will debate the notion of the “securitisation” of migration, will analyse national and regional policy responses, and will develop their own solutions to the territorial, social and political challenges posed by diverse types of migration/refugee flows. Where appropriate, the EU will be compared to other regional contexts to facilitate understanding of migration as a global challenge. Teaching resources are currently being developed and will be available as soon as possible.

Postgraduate course teaching resources
The resources will include:

  • a comprehensive, annotated review of recent literature on national and regional responses to migration in the EU, and on research at the nexus of migration and security, which will be used to furnish appropriate course readings and case study topics.
  • a survey of up-to-date AV and digital resources to support teaching and postgraduate research on these topics (e.g. documentaries, podcasts, TV/radio resources, blog sites, digital repositories).
  • links to relevant primary source documentation (e.g. media analysis; government, EU, NGO or party political documentation; sources of international migration data).
  • Case-study briefs relating to the challenges of, and responses to migration in the EU and, where relevant, in other regions. Case-study briefs will focus on national-level dilemmas or events, relevant instances of national or regional policy making in response to migration challenges, or on sub-themes, such as the economics of migration, migration and security in the EU, relations between the EU and third countries in relation to migration, Brexit and migration governance.

Network partners will contribute specific topic expertise throughout the preparation of the teaching resources and will be invited to provide guest lectures into the courses that use the teaching resources.

This set of EU-specific teaching resources on migration and security will enable staff to offer updated and richer teaching offerings on the EU in general, and on the nexus of migration and security in the EU and other integrating regions in particular and about the European integration process in general. The course encourages students to develop an understanding of crucial challenges in the contemporary world, and strengthens the sustainability of EU Studies.

The teaching resources will (where copyright permits) be freely accessible to national and international teaching staff online and appropriate documentation and links will be deposited in international repositories of course resources (e.g. with the Migration and Citizenship section of the American Political Science Association) so as to ensure wide international dissemination of this teaching-related activity.

Postgraduate course teaching resources

Development of teaching resources on postgraduate level which will include:

  • A comprehensive, annotated review of recent literature on national and regional responses to migration in the EU and the Asia-Pacific, and on research at the nexus of migration and security, which will be used to furnish appropriate course readings and case study topics.
  • A survey of up-to-date AV and digital resources to support teaching and postgraduate research on these topics (e.g. documentaries, podcasts, TV/radio resources, blog sites, digital repositories).
  • Links to relevant primary source documentation (e.g. media analysis; government, EU, NGO or party political documentation; sources of international migration data).
  • Case briefs relating to the challenges of, and responses to migration in the EU and, where relevant, in the Asia-Pacific. Case briefs will focus on national-level dilemmas or events, relevant instances of national or regional policy making in response to migration challenges, or on sub-themes, such as the economics of migration, migration and security in the EU, relations between the EU and third countries in relation to migration, Brexit and migration governance.

The case-study briefs in particular will be designed to be deployed not only in EU-specific courses, but to include EU and comparative EU-Asia-Pacific content across a range of postgraduate courses in the home institution and other Network partners. This will substantially enhance the coverage of EU affairs across postgraduate courses and contribute to sustainability of EU-focused perspectives beyond a specific course or semester.

EUCN partners contribute specific topic expertise and provide guest lectures. The teaching resources will be organised into a web-based resource and available in a digital format.


Research & Travel Grants for Academics

Research and travel grants for academic staff to carry out relevant research activities on the core themes of Regional Integration. The grants can be used to cover research costs and travel, research assistance or data collection to advance knowledge on the “triple challenge” in the EU and other integrating regions that impact on the EU, or where lessons can be drawn for the EU. The focus of the research projects may be on national level or regional responses to aspects of migration, economic volatility and territorial security challenges.

A total of eight research and travel grants will be awarded. Research and travel grant recipients will produce a set of deliverables to maximise impact and ensure greatest dissemination of research findings.

The impact of the research and travel grants will be felt through the building of a stronger international network for the scholars and institutions involved, and the possibility of fostering exchange of knowledge among scholars and policy makers in different countries. Further, through the full range of deliverables, such as academic and/or policy publications, seminars and conference presentations, and published policy briefs and reports, the research and travel grants will serve to raise awareness both locally and internationally of key challenges of regional integration, and of the shared experiences and challenges across regions. The possibility to incorporate local postgraduate students in research projects, and the interaction with students at hosting institutions for travel grant recipients, will serve to foster the training of highly qualified and diverse postgraduate students.

Funding recipients must produce the following deliverables:

Guest Lectures & Seminar Presentations
As part of the research & travel grants funding recipients must present their research to the academic community via a guest lecture to an undergraduate or postgraduate course and/or via a seminar to students and staff at the local host institution.

The guest lectures and seminars will provide a platform for regular engagement with undergraduate and postgraduate students, a key target audience of the project, and thereby increase the visibility of EU affairs and research among the student body. The guest lecture and/or seminar ensures that research findings are disseminated widely to enhance knowledge and promote discussions on the policy area of migration and security in the EU and other regions. Travel and research grant recipients it build linkages with postgraduate communities in other institutions, and consolidate research and institutional networks nationally and internationally.

Academic papers for travel & research grant
Funding recipients must submit at least one academic paper to an international, peer-reviewed academic journal or policy review for publication, ensuring that the findings of the research are made widely available, and to the appropriate audience so that the research undertaken contributes to knowledge exchange and development in academia and, where possible, to the development of high quality policy in government sectors.

Policy brief or Op Ed for research & travel grant
Funding recipients must compile at least one policy brief/report to policy and governmental stakeholders OR compile an op-ed OR blog post (to be posted on a high profile website, such as the CSS’s Incline) to convey research findings in an accessible manner to a wider public audience through mainstream media or social media (in addition to the academic article).

The Policy Briefs allow funding recipients to feed research findings back to specific policy audiences, while Op Eds or blog posts will allow findings of the research projects to be disseminated to a wider interested public.

Present at an international conference
Presentations at international conferences allow the dissemination of research findings to international audiences of scholars, provide networking opportunities and bring EU-focussed research into conferences on economic and territorial security in the Asia Pacific. Conference presentations support robust, high quality research outputs and dissemination across national contexts.

Online Dissemination
To increase visibility of the research conducted on Regional Integration funding recipients are required to contribute to the EUCN’s social media presence and have their profile published on the website.


PhD Fellowship

Funding for a PhD student to undertake doctoral research on an issue related to:

  1. The nexus of economics, security and migration, either focused on the EU or linkages between the Asia Pacific and Europe; or
  2. An aspect of migration challenges and policy responses at the national or regional level in Europe, or comparing Europe and the Asia Pacific

 
The particular methodology employed in the research will be determined by the student and supervisors, based on the precise format of the research question and goals. A key part of the methodology will be engagement in either case study-based or comparative social science, given the potential of the topic to examine the European/European Union experience either as a case study or in comparison with experiences in the Asia Pacific. As the proposed topics sit at the intersection of comparative politics, on one hand, and security studies/international relations, on the other, the research will be sensitive to multiple theoretical literatures and also methodological approaches. It is expected that both quantitative research (e.g. via descriptive statistics, quantitative data collection appropriate to the topic) and qualitative research (e.g. via interviews of policy makers and/or key actors in the government or NGO sphere; via archival or document-based research) will be undertaken. As a result, a period of fieldwork is anticipated. The regional expertise housed within PSIR and the CSS offers an excellent environment for a junior researcher to acquire and apply cross-regional expertise across the comparative EU-Asia Pacific context, as appropriate.

The scholarship will foster the development of a new Australasian-based EU junior scholar. The PhD student’s research will deepen knowledge and awareness of the EU in Australasia and the Asia-Pacific, extend the network of scholars working on the EU in the region, and, through the PhD candidate’s engagement in the national and international seminars and conferences, and guest lectures, disseminate new research findings about the EU to policy and scholarly communities.

The fellowship can be applied to fees, living costs and research costs, as agreed with the project team and in accordance with funding rules.

During the course of the PhD fellowship, the junior researcher will produce the following outputs:

  1. A presentation in the seminar series (Y1 and Y2)
  2. Presentation of research findings at an international conference (Y2 or Y3)
  3. Submission of at least 1 article to a peer-reviewed academic journal or policy review (where appropriate, co-authored with the supervising faculty) (Y2 or Y3)
  4. Guest lecture in under- or postgraduate courses in order to disseminate findings of research in progress (Y1 or Y2)
  5. Lecture materials – the PhD researcher will provide a set of online materials to accompany their guest lecture(s) (based on their research in progress) in an undergraduate or postgraduate course.

Seminar Series ‘Migration and Security in the EU’

A Seminar series with 10-12 presentations by scholars or policy experts on issues of migration and security in the EU or in other integrating regions. This activity has multiple goals. First, it generates focused and on-going dialogue on the themes of the project among the scholarly community. Second, as all seminars are advertised widely to the student body, as well as to the policy community and other external stakeholders, the seminar series provides a platform for regular engagement with key target audiences and increases the visibility of EU Studies and extends it to a community of Asia-Pacific scholars. Third, the sustained dialogue and exchange of knowledge on the themes of the project consolidates EUCN as a hub of cross-regional expertise on questions of migration and security. In inviting NZ and Australian scholars to speak on these themes, speakers from international partners are prioritised and specific efforts are made to provide a forum for junior scholars to present their work in progress.

Seminars will be recorded for electronic dissemination.


International Conference

Culmination of the activities, including the dialogue created by the seminar series during Years 1 and 2, the research grants and postdoctoral/PhD activity. All staff research grant recipients and the PhD fellows present their work at this conference, and other international and local scholars are invited. The conference is a high profile event designed to share the findings of the various work packages associated with the project with the academic and policy communities.

Conference papers of presenters will be available via the website.


Policy maker Roundtable

As a key goal of the network activities is to build bridges between academic and external stakeholders, at least one (closed) policy maker roundtable will be held in the latter phase of the project to maximise the dissemination of findings of the research programme to an audience of policy makers and stakeholders in government. The roundtable also allows policy makers to offer feedback on research findings and to enhance the policy relevance of published findings.

The roundtable will expose policy makers to the research of local and international scholars involved in the project research, and provides them with accessible and policy relevant research findings that can subsequently be incorporated into policy making. The closed nature of the roundtable facilitates frank and productive discussion between scholars and policy makers, thereby allowing maximum impact and knowledge exchange on matters relating to EU affairs, especially on themes related to migration and security. The roundtable initiates new connections and consolidates existing networks among the policy, scholarly and government communities. Ongoing dialogue and connections with policy makers and actors in the broader government sector will indicate the impact of the dissemination of research findings.

Policy Briefs resulting from policy-maker roundtable
One page policy briefs made available by participants of the policy-maker roundtable to attendees from the policy community, summarising research findings in an accessible format. There will be approximately 5 local and 2 international speakers, each of whom will contribute a policy brief.


Public Lecture

To ensure a wide and publicly accessible dissemination of research findings a public lecture will be held with 2-4 local and visiting speakers, followed by a modest reception to facilitate further discussion among the audience and the speakers. The public lecture will be recorded and freely available online after the event.

The public lecture format ensures that project research findings are available to as wide an audience as possible, and draws public attention to the key issues of the workpackage. A further advantage of this format is that it brings together in a single forum university students and staff, public administrators, representatives of civil society, and the interested public, thereby ensuring a wide range of perspectives engage each other and contribute to the discussion in the public lecture. The public dissemination of findings ensures engagement between scholarly and policy communities on the key social and political issues under study, and the availability of the recording online ensures an ongoing contribution to knowledge in the wider community.

To achieve the highest visibility, the lecture will be advertised through all available channels, newsletters, online and social media. It is anticipated that news media cover the event.

Dr Fiona Barker

Dr Kate McMillan