News from the IES

The Institute for European Studies has two new vacancies for full-time Doctoral Researchers. The first PhD call is in the field of environment and sustainable development, and the other one is in the field of migration and diversity. Prospective PhD candidates are hereby invited to submit their application and project proposal by 15 May 2019. For both vacancies the expected starting date is 1 October, or as soon as possible thereafter. For more information, visit our jobs page

The Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) of the European Parliament has recently released a study on regulating disinformation with artificial intelligence. IES postdoctoral researcher Trisha Meyer has co-authored this study, along with Chris Marsden (University of Sussex). The study has a particular focus on the implications of use of AI on freedom of expression and media pluralism. It examines the trade-offs in using automated technology to limit the spread of disinformation online and presents options (from self-regulatory to legislative).

Dr Jan Claudius Völkel has successfully concluded his two-year research project on “The role of national parliaments in the Arab transformation processes” at the IES. With funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 706113, Jan has studied intensively the legislatures of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, conducting interviews with parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists and civil society representatives in all four countries, and also with representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, as well as EU Delegations. In addition, he spent prolongued research stays at the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Odense.

The European Union is a frontrunner on two major societal developments: digitalization and the circular economy. The EU has therefore particular prominence and interest in the policy domain where these two trends meet: in the creation of a digital circular economy. At the IES, professor Harri Kalimo, together with researcher Lea Mateo (who is pursuing a joint PhD with the University of Eastern Finland) are exploring this exciting topic in their research. 

IES researcher Sara Silvestre successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled ‘Understanding the Negotiation Behaviour of Member States in the Council of the EU: The Case of the Asylum Procedures Directive’. It was a double PhD between the IES (supervisor Prof. Florian Trauner) and ISCTE – The University Institute of Lisbon (supervisors Profs. Robert Ladrech and João Miguel de Carvalho).

In the coming weeks, the Institute for European Studies will organise two webinars. These events are an excellent opportunity for everyone interested in our academic programmes to hear more about them and to ask all their questions. In addition, the IES will be present at the VUB Infodag on 28 April 2019 from 10:00-15:00 and at the Master Messe Düsseldorf on 17 May from 9:00-16:00.

No less than three publications were recently published by our researcher Elie Perot. In the article published in the policy journal Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, Elie argues that the obscuring of the distinction between war and peace is not a distinctive feature of contemporary times, nor simply a conceptual conundrum. Rather, it is a systemic and strategic response to the persistent fear of a general war at the international level, a factor of crucial importance in the perspective of the growing antagonism characterizing US-China relations.

After a three-year running period, EL-CSID disseminated its final results to the audience on 27 February in Brussels. The Final Report (available online on www.el-csid.eu), which discussed EL-CSID’s final results and recommendations, was thoroughly discussed. The panels reflected the topics that were researched by the 9 partner institutions; how EU cultural and science diplomacy are perceived from the outside by partner regions; how to move forward with EU science, innovation and cultural diplomacy and how higher education could be an instrument of European diplomacy more generically.

After her hearing at the European Parliament in December 2018, Trisha Meyer (Assistant Professor at Vesalius College and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for European Studies) returned to Strasbourg to present the results of her study on the use of artificial intelligence to combat disinformation online at the Council of Europe on 28 February 2019. The study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Panel on the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and was co-authored with Prof. Marsden (Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sussex). The study focuses on the consequences of automated content moderation for freedom of expression and media pluralism and warns against use of artificial intelligence without human intervention and appeal mechanisms as a solution to disinformation. Prof. Meyer is grateful for the opportunity to exchange views on information disorder and media (dis)trust at the Council of Europe.

What impact will the fascinating, but also challenging drone technology have on our daily lives in Europe? This was only one of many questions discussed during the international conference “The Drone Age: Issues, Actors and Perspectives”, held at the IES on Friday, 22 February 2019. With speakers and participants from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Germany, this conference provided a great occasion for both academics and stakeholders from different backgrounds to exchange their views on challenges and concerns, but also potentialities of drones today.