UACES awards a prize annually for the PhD thesis that has made an original and promising contribution to research in the area of contemporary European Studies in the previous year.
The 2017 prize for best thesis was awarded to Lisanne Groen for her work The Importance of Fitting Activities to Context: The EU in Multilateral Climate and Biodiversity Negotiations.
In this thesis, Groen seeks to explain variation in European Union effectiveness within international fora by looking at EU performance in multilateral environmental negotiations. She does this through an elaboration of seven case studies, giving rise to a line of inquiry whose analytical depth and breadth left our judges deeply impressed. This analysis leads her to conclude that the degree of fit between EU activities and EU actors’ position within international fora serves to greatly increase effectiveness scores. Bargaining power can also be enhanced through adjusting activities to specific positions, leading to unexpected positive negotiating outcomes.
The extent of this study and the rigour with which it has been undertaken was remarked upon by all of our judges. They also agreed that the thesis reveals gaps in the existing literature and provides “new insights with policy implications.”