Summer 2019 EUROCOMPLEX Princeton-University of Geneva Student Fellowships Call for Applications

Monday, Jan 21, 2019

Summer Grants Program

This program will provide up to 2 summer fellowships for Princeton student researchers ($2,000 in stipend, plus $1,500 travel and accommodation expenses) and up to 2 summer fellowships for UNIGE Ph.D candidate ($2, 000 in stipend, plus up to $1,000 for travel). It is open to A.B. (ideally juniors), Ph.D students on the Princeton side, and to Ph.D students on the UNIGE side.

Both Princeton and UNIGE grantees will attend a planning workshop at Princeton University on April 29-30, 2019, as well as a meeting at UNIGE in early July 2019. Research will be conducted for four weeks of the student’s choosing and completed by the end of August. Princeton students are expected to spend some of their research time at UNIGE (at least three days) – if they want to stay longer in Geneva while doing their research, they will be provided with a place to work at the GSI. The student researcher will turn over to EUROCOMPLEX all the data collected (e.g. survey conducted, scans of archival materials, interviews, etc.,) to be deposited in a common repository, as well as write an analytical report that summarizes the main findings and organizes the collected material.

We are looking for students with a good understanding of European Integration and Regime Complexes, an ability to work independently, and good planning and writing skills. The application involves an original research proposal by the student in line with the requirements of one of the clusters, but if selected, the student should expect to tweak the research as directed by the EUROCOMPLEX directors.

Your application, to be received by Monday February 25, needs to contain the following materials:

  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Current transcript (if applicable).
  • Letter of recommendation from one of your faculty advisers.
  • A short research proposal/application explaining why you are qualified to undertake this research (e.g. survey research training), which cluster you are applying for, what research you propose to conduct and how and, if applicable, this research will help make a critical contribution to your AB, BA, MA or Ph.D thesis. Concerning PhD students: your proposal must also refer to a Professor in the hosting institution (Geneva or Princeton), who you are planning to work with during your research stay.
  • Princeton students: submit application through SAFE and as a single PDF File (except letter of recommendation, to be emailed directly) to with Subject line: EUROCOMPLEX.
  • UNIGE students: submit application as a single PDF File (except letter of recommendation, to be emailed directly) to: Nicolas.Levrat@unige.chwith Subject line: EUROCOMPLEX.


The Princeton-Geneva partnership Regime Complexes and European Studies in Interdisciplinary Perspective (EUROCOMPLEX) aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration on the topic of regime complexes. In International Relations, the concept of regime complex, borrowed from Systems Theory, describes the idea that for many policy issues, “there is no integrated, comprehensive regime governing” but “[...] a loosely coupled set of specific regimes”. Indeed, today, many policy areas are governed not by centralized control through one overarching International Organization (IO) but rather by a multitude of different nested or overlapping sets of rules and institutions that are loosely connected. The concept of regime complex has gained scientific relevance as the density of such international regimes has increased steadily against the background of growing global interdependence. Understanding the nature and implications of intersectoral interconnections within and between regimes can contribute to designing more efficient and more legitimate global governance systems.

The central question at the core of the project is how the existence of regime complexes influences the policy options available to the European Union (EU) as it tackles pressing international challenges created by economic globalization. EUROCOMPLEX provides a framework for collaborative research projects bringing together faculty researchers at Princeton and University of Geneva (UNIGE), as well as undergraduate and graduate students from the European Union Program at Princeton (EUPP), the Global Studies Institute (GSI), and affiliated departments and programs, to study the constraints and opportunities offered to the EU by the proliferation of regime complexes. The EUROCOMPLEX faculty team will select the student participants to the project, who will work both as Research Assistants for the project and as data collectors for their own research (for instance, Senior Thesis research for Princeton students and Master/PhD Thesis for GSI/UNIGE students). Through this multi-year partnership, we seek to develop an interdisciplinary collaborative approach to European studies with a number of linked research projects conducted by faculty and students at both Princeton and GSI. The Summer 2019 research program will gather and analyze data in two related clusters:

Cluster 1: The politics of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EU

The issue of who gets to decide which foreign investors are allowed in, and under what conditions their investments are protected, has become a highly salient and politicized issue in the European Union. The controversy has arisen in part from the transfer of the competence over foreign direct investment (FDI) from the national level to the EU in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which folded FDI under the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) and granted new trade – and thus investment – policy powers to the European Parliament. This new EU competence over international investment policy could potentially have major implications since the EU is the first sender and the first recipient of FDI worldwide. The EU can now take over the negotiation of all international investment agreements for the Member States in order to liberalize foreign markets, protect European investments abroad, and settle investment disputes; it can also harmonize the rules governing the establishment of foreign investments inside Europe. The EU has been actively using this new competence: it has been involved in recent years in bilateral trade and investment negotiations with its major economic partners – Canada, the United States, and Japan – and has been negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China.

Politically and legally, however, this transfer of competence is not happening in a blank slate, as there are more than 1200 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) already concluded between the member states and non EU partner states, accounting for almost half of investment agreements in the world. Issues surrounding the European investment regime are thus very complex in terms of both internal and external development of EU investment policy, space-time continuum of investment agreements, institutional challenges and legal questions of international responsibility.

Who, of the EU or its constituent member states, will be responsible for administering and writing the rules of foreign investment, one of the core components of economic globalization? Who is supposed to carry the international responsibility, is that the EU or/and its member states? How to determine which type of competences is concerned? What is the future for international negotiations in the field of different kind of investments for the EU and its member states? How to deal for possible institutional challenges that EU is facing? We invite research proposals that address one or several issues posed by the EU investment regime complex.

Cluster 2: The role of the European Union in global governance

Global governance refers to the capacity of actors on the international stage to produce outcomes that address global issues (financial and economic crises, climate change, disarmament, Human Rights, world trade, pandemic emergencies, etc.). Obviously, one scheme or one forum cannot alone capture the diversity and the varying intensity of these global governance mechanisms, as acknowledged by a regime complex approach. With its high concentration of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, as well as public and private global governance institutions such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), Geneva is an essential place to observe and analyze such phenomena. Its proximity to the European Union also makes Geneva a particularly interesting place to conduct research on the topic.

This cluster will give students the opportunity to participate to the Geneva-based module on “Interdisciplinary challenges for understanding global governance” as part of the SwissUniversities interdisciplinary PhD school (this year to be held on the first week of July). It will also enable student collaborators to develop fieldwork and research activities in both Geneva and NYC – the two major locations for international institutions in the world. Academic challenges to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • Designing indicators and tools to measure inputs and outputs in governance schemes (within the EU and at global level);
  • Mapping and understanding the EU (and its Member States) decision-making processes and channels of action/influence in the different policy fields;
  • Evaluating the relevance of EU internal arrangements considering the effective role of EU (and its Member States) in global governance processes;
  • Understanding the institutional changes resulting from the construction of complex systems.

Sophie Meunier, Senior Research Scholar in Public and International Affairs and Co-Director EU Program at Princeton

Nicolas Levrat, Professeur à l’université de Genève, Directeur du Département de droit international et organisations internationales