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Power and Region in a Multipolar Order

Final Report Summary - PRIMO (Power and Region in a Multipolar Order)

PRIMO (Power and Region in a Multipolar Order) was an Initial Training Network that looked into the rising importance of non-Western regions and certain of their leading states – notably Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS states – for international politics and the world economy. As a truly global training network in the social sciences, PRIMO has been unique and reached well beyond the realms of the EU. It combined leading scholars in International Relations and Area Studies from prestigious universities located in old and new powers and integrated expertise from the private sector and think tank world. The PRIMO network consisted of 11 partner institutions and 3 associated partners, 13 Early Stage Researcher (ESRs) and 2 Experienced Researcher (ERs). PRIMO was funded by the EU’s FP7 from October 2013 until September 2017.

The primary goal of this network was to extend the traditional academic research-training setting and to enhance the employability of the recruited researchers as well as their mobility in and beyond Europe. Our aim was to train researchers specialized in the area of regional powers for careers in consultancy, academia, research institutions, think-tanks, and the private sector. The growing importance of corporate social responsibility and government relations will result in a growing demand for employees with a specialization in these fields. PRIMO’s training programme was designed to meet this demand.

PRIMO had four overarching research objectives: First, to develop and refine the conceptual and analytical tools to systematically study regional powers. Second, to describe, explain and compare the foreign policies of emerging regional powers. Third, to assess the consequences of the rise of emerging powers for international politics. Fourth, to analyze and evaluate the ways in which European politics and private actors deal with emerging powers.

PRIMO’s training activities started in September 2014 with a kick-off summer school at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Since then, three conceptual workshops, seven methods training workshops, two transferable skills workshops, three annual conferences and one final conference coupled with particular outreach activities took place in Hamburg, Lisbon, New Delhi, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Oxford, Ankara, Rio de Janeiro and Brussels.

PRIMO was structured in three phases: During the first phase, the emphasis was on the development and provision of in-depth conceptual and methods-training in order to instill participants with the desired research discipline. The second phase was defined by close scientific engagement with the area under investigation through field trips and secondments or internships in order to foster scientific collaboration and the mobility of young researchers. In the third phase, students returned to their desks and focused on writing their thesis. This work was accompanied by further improvement of the early stage researchers' career perspectives through training in transferable skills and the dissemination of results.

The rise of states such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will have major repercussions on international politics. PRIMO’s individual research projects have produced insights on the actions, processes and mechanisms of BRICS states’ interactions, both in their own regions and with well-established powers, multilateral institutions and non-state actors and account for processes of identity construction, the formation of foreign policy goals or the strategies of regional powers at the regional and global level. This knowledge is highly relevant for the formulation of European foreign policies and strategies in multilateral institutions. As a network of public and private partners with an ambitious outreach strategy, PRIMO has aimed to directly infuse this knowledge into the policy process.

PRIMO has integrated academic and private partners to create a joint programme, which combines rigorous social science methodological training and the acquisition of substantial empirical expertise on the nature and role of regional powers with concrete practical career opportunities in academia or the private sector. This programme had a lasting impact on the various constituents:
The individual researcher obtained state-of-the-art academic expertise, professional skills and concrete career opportunities, while a lasting collaboration in research and training has been fostered between the private and public partners involved in the consortium beyond the duration of the programme. PRIMO aimed at making an impact on the European and global research community by improving conceptual and empirical knowledge on the role of regional powers and by defining standard references in the growing literature. PRIMO also sought to have an impact on the European research sphere by raising and harmonizing training standards in this particular field of research. Moreover, private firms within the consortium and beyond gained expertise on the legal, political and social environment in the most important regional powers. Such expertise is vital for (European) firms operating in these countries. It has improved their governmental relations, marketing, market entry strategies and corporate social responsibility activities. PRIMO research is relevant for expert communities in the public (politicians, civil service, NGOs) and private sectors (business and industry leaders) and for the wider general public interested in regional power research as a result of targeted and exclusive dissemination and outreach strategies.

For more information contact Prof. Cord Jakobeit, University of Hamburg, Institute of Political Science, Allende-Platz 1, 20146 Hamburg, Germany, Mail: or visit our website: