UW–Madison receives European Union grant for center

Sept. 8, 2011

The European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has received a grant for 300,000 euros (ca. $430,000) from the European Commission in Brussels, renewing its funding through 2014.

“Since its creation in 1998, our center has supported a vigorous program of faculty research, graduate training and public outreach together with a steady two-way flow of people, projects and ideas across the Atlantic. In some areas, such as the study of gender mainstreaming, we have become key players in European policy debates,” says Myra Marx Ferree, the Alice H. Cook Professor of Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies, who is the 2011–14 EUCE director.

"This renewal strengthens our university’s position as a leading institution investigating the origins, contemporary politics, and future prospects of the European Union — and international society in general," adds Ferree. “Especially in these times of global economic uncertainty, it is vital to understand the way that the EU negotiates over both foreign and domestic issues and how its member states relate to its leadership in various policy areas.”

With the renewal, Wisconsin remains one of just 10 U.S. universities designated as an EU Center of Excellence, where faculty, graduate students, visiting scholars, the K–16 community, public policymakers and interested media can focus on a unique series of research projects on Europe from a transatlantic perspective.

Participation at UW–Madison cuts across disciplinary lines, involving, for instance, faculty from educational policy studies, life sciences communication, geography, sociology and public health, who research topics of transatlantic importance such as income inequality, structural changes to employment and higher education, climate change and perceptions of science.

The three core themes for 2011–14 are “The EU as a Global Actor,” led by geography Professor Kris Olds; “EU Legislation, Policymaking and Regulation,” led by political science Assistant Professor Nils Ringe; and “Diversity and Accountability, Rights and Responsibilities: Managing Challenges of Multi-Level Social Policy in Advanced Democracies,” led by Ferree.

“The success of the EUCE is a testimony to the reputation, hard work, and creativity of the center’s faculty and staff and to the exceptional leadership of Professor Ferree,” says Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies and vice provost for globalization. “The EUCE is a model for the way international education can serve Wisconsin and the world.”