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Learning what makes EU institutions tick

To better understand how well European institutions work together, an EU initiative designed a training programme for young researchers to find out.

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The EU-funded project INCOOP (Dynamics of institutional cooperation in the European Union) set out to study the origins and effectiveness of European institutions. The focus was on the cooperative forms of decision and policymaking within the EU, and how these affect institutional change. INCOOP provided a series of training schemes to achieve its aims. These included an academic training programme that involved seminars on theories and concepts as well as research methods, complementary skills training and an internship scheme. All partner universities successfully recruited one or two early-stage researchers (ESRs) or experienced researchers (ERs). Benefiting from visiting scientists from EU institutions, all recruited researchers worked on projects that systematically examine various forms of cooperation in different institutional settings. They performed policy research via case studies. Research efforts resulted in the completion and successful defence of three PhD theses. Where necessary, doctoral fellows also interned at institutions like the European Commission, European Parliament and the Centre for European Policy Studies. ESRs and ERs were published in top journals and presented research outcomes at international conferences in Europe and around the world. Four workshops on theories and concepts were held, including such topics as 'Inter-institutional cooperation in EU external relations and across pillars' and 'Theoretical approaches to the study of institutions'. Two more workshops focused on research methods. Each workshop was supplemented by a dedicated skills training programme that included guidance on how to draft policy briefs and attract research grants. INCOOP shed light on how European organisations function, and provided researchers ample opportunity to conduct research within this context.


EU institutions, institutional cooperation, academic training, skills training, internship

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