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UACES Group Member

Institute for European Studies

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The Institute for European Studies is an autonomous department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). It was created in 2001 through an initiative of the Flemish Government. As a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the IES provides advanced Master programmes, and focuses on interdisciplinary research in European Studies, specifically on the role of the EU in an international setting. Within this scope, it provides academic services to scholars, policy makers and the general public.

The Institute’s central location in Brussels, the capital of Europe, makes it an ideal workplace for both students and established scholars wishing to conduct research in an international and interdisciplinary setting. The IES also provides an ideal forum for regular conferences and workshops on European issues.
The IES’s mission is threefold:

  • Providing advanced education: through its LL.M in International and European Law, its MA in European Integration and Development (the “Euromaster”), its annual Summer School on the European Decision-Making Process and its 3 E-learning modules on European Law, Institutions, and Information Sources.
  • Carrying out scientific research: research is co-ordinated by the IES Academic Director and conducted by Senior Research Fellows, post-doctoral Research Fellows and PhD students within 5 research clusters.
  • Providing scientific services in the field of European Studies: by organising annual conferences, regular workshops and repeated lecture series, and by conducting commissioned research.

The Institute collaborates closely with numerous universities and research institutions in Belgium, Europe and internationally. These partnerships and the continuous exchange of new ideas with practitioners and scholars allows the IES to strengthen its research goals and produce a high-level blend of conceptual and practical expertise on all major EU policies.


Research at the IES focuses on the EU in an international context. It explores EU institutions, policies and law within the context of globalisation and international law and politics. Research projects analyse the role of the EU as a global actor and the interaction between the internal and external dimensions of EU policies. The IES researchers also address the inter-relationship between the EU and international organisations. To this end, the Institute fosters an interdisciplinary approach that combines legal, economic, social and political expertise. It focuses on forward-looking research that produces policy-relevant results of interest to both political decision-makers and the academic community.

Major Research Themes

While IES research principally embraces a wide range of European studies, the Institute focuses its resources on an evolving set of research clusters:

  • Environment and sustainable development
  • Migration and diversity
  • European foreign and security policy
  • Information society
  • The EU and China

These clusters are nurtured by PhD projects, as well as raising funds from external sponsors.

These clusters are nurtured by individual PhD and post doctoral research projects as well as raising funds from external sponsors.