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Major funding boost for NCRE research

Major funding boost for NCRE research (2 August 2006)

The National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) at the University of Canterbury is celebrating 156,000 ($NZ322,753) worth of grants in the 2006 Jean Monnet Action grants.

The Jean Monnet Action is a European Commission initiative aimed at promoting knowledge on European integration. Its grants support research activities, teaching, professorial chairs and mobility awards for young researchers.

Worldwide 409 grant applications were received for this year's awards, of which only 137 were funded.

The NCRE received seven grants spanning all four types of activity the initiative funds and its transnational research project application was one of only four worldwide to receive funding.

NCRE Director Professor Martin Holland said the results of the 2006 funding round were beyond the Centre's expectations.

The pleasing aspect was getting seven awards, which is really quite unusual. If you get two or three you are doing pretty well, so to have got so many and across all four types of activity we're delighted.

NCRE's multidisciplinary research project looking at perceptions of the European Union (EU) as a development actor in the Pacific, South East Asia and Southern Africa has received 120,000 ($NZ248,271) funding over two years. The project, led by Professor Holland and Dr Natalia Chaban, will begin next month.

Professor Holland said he believed one of the main reasons NCRE was awarded the large grant was the way the Centre's previous work on perceptions has been received in Brussels . The Asia- Pacific Perceptions Project, which received a Jean Monnet grant in 2003, was the first study to offer the EU an analysis of how it was perceived externally.

To get two large EU grants of this nature in three years I don't know of another example throughout the world where this has happened.

This project will again allow our expertise to be delivered very widely around the world. I think it is fair to say NCRE is now known as a leading centre that looks at external perceptions of the EU

Professor Holland was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair ad personam. The title is recognition of Professor Holland's expertise in European Studies and his high regard within the international academic community. The chair will replace his existing Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration and International Relations awarded in 2001.

A teaching module on EU Enlargement 2004 and Beyond, which will be taught by Dr Milenko Petrovic received 12,000 ($NZ24,827) and four mobility awards, totalling 12,000, went to PhD students Serena Martin, Abel Reyna-Rivera and Frendehl Warner and research fellow Dr Chaban. The mobility awards, which enable young researchers to conduct fieldwork in Europe, include return airfares to Europe and a monthly stipend.


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