The consortium partners were carefully selected to provide a balanced mix of research and policy-making organisations in the EU and the target region, with diverse experience in academic issues, innovation management, policy-making and project management. SEnECA’s team of researchers and experts from academia and renowned think tanks is well connected to policy-making in the EU and Central Asia. It brings together distinguished individual researchers, some of whom have already worked for two decades in the field of EU-Central Asia relations. The consortium members are highly committed to rendering its implementation a success and producing the envisaged output and impact for EU-Central Asia relations. The SEnECA consortium consists of 12 institutional partners from six EU Member States and all five Central Asian countries.
The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) is a young university ranked number 17 among the world’s “top 150 universities under 50 years old” (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2016). UDE holds a strong academic reputation, high research profile and excellent research facilities, namely 11 faculties, 10 central scientific institutes and 4 interdisciplinary research foci. UDE has participated in numerous FP7 projects and currently manages various Horizon 2020 projects.
One of its four research foci, Transformation of Contemporary Societies promotes collaborative and interdisciplinary research about the change of contemporary societies. Four sub-themes constitute its current multidisciplinary research programme: i) Political and Social Governance within and across national borders, ii) Transnational Labour Markets as a process of social and political institution-building in an increasingly borderless world, iii) the Transformation of Risk and Welfare in continually shifting contexts and iv) the causes and effects of international migration in an increasingly borderless world.
The Institute of Political Science, part of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the UDE, is the largest educational and research institution for political science in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and enjoys high standing within the German political science community. Research at the institute is diverse and ranges from the EU political system to regional integration processes in Asia. The institute is part of the research focus Transformation of Contemporary Societies and, thus, directly participate in the strategic development of the university’s research profile. Close cooperation with the Institute of East Asian Studies (IN-EAST) and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) has also opened opportunities for interdisciplinary orientation on Central Asia. In conjunction with the Institute for Social Anthropology of Development and Applied Social Research e.V., Bonn, the INEF conducted a project on “Participation and Development in Central Asia”, including empirical research in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The Science Support Centre (SSC), a central service of UDE, runs the European Project Office Rhein-Ruhr (EPORR) providing comprehensive management as well as administrative support and coordination to UDE’s EU projects. It is responsible for administrative management, meeting organisation, timely reporting of technical and financial progress to the Commission, communication, risk management as well as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and patent management. The SSC is a professional centre with rich experience at the national and international level. EPORR consists of a team of three highly experienced EU project managers who assure high-quality administrative management of Horizon 2020, FP7, COST and INTERREG projects.
Since its founding in 1959, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) has been a non-profit organisation dedicated to the study of European integration. It is one of the lead-ing foreign and European policy research centres in the Federal Republic of Germany and serves as a forum for exchange between academia, politics, administration and political education. IEP’s mission is to apply scholarly research to issues of European politics and integration, propose ways forward and promote the practical implementation of its research findings. IEP is a founding member of the Trans-European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and has been a member of the German European Movement since 1962.
IEP fulfils its mission by:
- planning and conducting research projects;
- establishing and supporting interdisciplinary and international study groups;
- contributing to the European policy dialogue at public events and conferences;
- awarding and assisting in the award of research projects;
- publishing research and other materials;
- developing and producing materials and concepts for education and training in European politics;
- hosting seminars on European politics and policy;
- cooperating with like-minded organizations.
Since 1989, the IEP has analysed the reorganisation of relations between the then European Community and Central Asia through several research projects and with the involvement of colleagues from the EU’s neighbourhood and Central Asian countries, who continue to monitor progress. The following dimensions of enlargement and deepening will be reconditioned conceptually and empirically i) European Neighbourhood Policy (stabilisation – cooperation – integration); ii) the regional dif-ferentiation between the Union for the Mediterranean and the Eastern Partnership; iii) the development of political, economic and cultural relations between the EU and the countries in Central Asia.
The Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies (CAISS) is an independent Almaty-based think tank, founded in May 2016. The institute focuses on regional security, energy and economic development within Central Asia and the neighbourhood as far as transnational security challenges to the Central Asian countries.
Building on the expertise and experience of outstanding Central Asian scholars and experts, CAISS aims to introduce fresh ideas and perspectives, new insights and thor-ough analysis to Central Asian Studies. CAISS engages policy-makers, experts, the public and academia with innovative ideas and analysis, as well as fact-based research to influence national and regional debates.
CAISS’ primary mission is to conduct interdisciplinary, applied and collaborative research on a wide range of security, political, economic and development issues, provide consulting services and organise academic events with a particular focus on Central Asia and the broader Eurasian Neighbourhood. The institute’s research is independent and non-partisan.
The Centre of the Sociological Research (CSR) “Zerkalo” is a public organization focusing on conducting research throughout Tajikistan to collect information on trends of and challenges to the development of modern society. It was officially registered with the Ministry of Justice on 17 April 2000, and repeatedly passed re-registration in compliance with the procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Zerkalo has a long history of development: From a group of professionals specialising in sociology to a full-fledged research agency with strong record of experience in conducting multidisciplinary research and studies that utilises sociological, legal, economic and marketing research methods. Nowadays, Zerkalo is a leading research agency with a proven record in quantitative and qualitative research involving different stakeholders such as ministries, state enterprises and other governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, commercial actors and companies in Tajikistan. Due to its extensive experience, Zerkalo has developed strong expertise in undertaking the full research cycle, starting from development of methodology to the publication of analytics reports. Amongst other things, it conducts nationwide surveys using face-to-face interviews, questionnaires and telephone interviews. It has extensive expertise in holding focus-group discussions, in-depth interviews and desk research.
The University of World Economy and Diplomacy (UWED) was established in 1992 as the first higher education institute of independent Uzbekistan. The university has four faculties (“International Relations”, “International Law”, “International Economic Relations”, and “Language Studies”) and a number of other institutes and centres: “Institute of management”, “Diplomatic Courses”, “Centre for legal advices”, “Spirituality and Enlightenment Centre”, “Information Technology and Distance Learning Centre”, “Information Resource Centre”, “State Administration and Public Law Centre”, “Japan and Korea Centres”, “Centre for Training Translators”, “Academic Lyceum” and 18 departments.
Given its unique position in contributing to foreign policy decision-making and advocacy as well as development of highly qualified human capital in Uzbekistan, UWED maintains the role of a leading higher education institute in Uzbekistan in terms of research excellence and teaching. UWED is a regional hub of excellence in Central Asia aiming at training highly qualified professionals in the fields of world economy, international relations and law as well as diplomacy.
UWED hosts among other researchers a number of Jean Monnet Chairs, Erasmus Mundus Scholars and extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors. Given UWED’s enormous research and educational potential, it is in an excellent position to support the proposed project and contribute to its successful implementation.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), established in 1831, is a well-established UK think thank at the cutting edge of political and security-focused research. In its research, RUSI covers a wide-range of issues, including international security and geo-politics, proliferation and nuclear policy, national security and resilience, financial crime, military sciences and defence procurement.
RUSI’s International Security Studies (ISS) team has built a strong profile on Eura-sia studies through its research on Central Asia. ISS’s work has covered not only Central Asian domestic and regional policy, but has a particular focus on Central Asia’s relations with regional powers, principally Russia and China. ISS will soon complete a two-year project examining China’s OBOR Initiative and its impact in Central Asia, and ISS is currently conducting work on governance in relation to BRI, as well as how businesses from third countries can cooperate trilaterally with China and Central Asian states to participate in the initiative. More specifically regarding Central Asia itself, ISS team members have written extensively on Central Asia’s security relations with external powers, as well as exploring issues such as rad-icalisation and extremism in the region. RUSI has strong connections in the five Central Asian states, which will contribute to the network output of this project.
WiseEuropa Institute is an independent think tank based in Warsaw, undertaking a strategic reflection on European politics, foreign policy and economy. WiseEuropa intends to stimulate and inspire the public debate on the future of Poland and Europe. One of the Institute’s research programmes is dedicated to “Foreign Policy and International Relations”. Within this research programme, a separate line of investigation dedicated to the EU’s relations with Eurasia is carried out under the supervision of Adam Balcer. This research corresponds to the Insti-tute’s task in SEnECA related to the EU’s political relations with Central Asia.
WiseEuropa’s competences also include economic analysis (especially political economy of trade policy), which is relevant for its other tasks in SEnECA that are related to the analysis of the EU’s economic relations with Central Asia.
WiseEuropa has a rich experience in dissemination activities such as publication of reports, organising conferences and seminars, promotion of SEnECA in the media and within international expert networks, which is relevant for its involvement in the dis-semination tasks within the proposed project.
The Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) is the oldest Latvian think tank specialised in global and regional affairs. LIIA was established in 1992 as an independent research institute with an aim of providing Latvia’s decision-makers, ex-perts, and the wider public with analysis, recommendations, and information about important international and regional developments, foreign policy strategies and op-tions. The Institute’s research has been focused on Euro-Atlantic security, EU’s relations with Russia, the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia, cooperation with China as well as transportion, diplomacy and energy security. The LIIA is a major, highly visible Baltic convenor that also frequently consults the Latvian government.
The LIIA is well-positioned to contribute to all tasks of SEnECA including research and formulating recommendations on EU-Central Asia relations, communication and dissemination.
In gratitude for its contribution to the EU Central Asia Strategy in the form of high-level international conference “EU Global Strategy and Central Asia: Vision and Instruments” in Riga (Latvia) on 1 April 2016), the LIIA (misspelled as the Latvian Institute of International Relations) is mentioned in the EU Global Strategy.
The Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) is a private institution of higher education and research, founded in 1954 with its head office in Nice (France). It receives special funding in the framework of the Jean Monnet Programme of the EU. CIFE’s high-level academic activities and research focus on European and international relations, governance structures and federalism. Aspects of history, politics, economics, social and cultural affairs feature prominently in CIFE’s interdisciplinary research activities. Main research topics include European integration, the EU’s neighbourhood policy, the Mediterranean region and the Western Balkans.
CIFE’s education activities cover a PhD Support Programme, various Master’s Programmes (including Master’s Programmes using “blended learning”), European Studies Programmes for exchange students from extra-European provenience, summer universities, and youth exchange seminars. The graduates of CIFE’s Master’s Programmes work as Senior officials in European institutions, policy officers within the UN framework, administrators, diplomats, consultants, researchers for think tanks, lobbyists, and academic experts.
To focus and reinforce its long-standing character as a think tank, a CIFE research department has been put in place in 2014 and since then has developed its research activities around five pivotal fields:
- policy papers, published twice a month, by the members of CIFE research team and guest authors;
- annual symposiums on topic issues of European integration, international relations and societal developments;
- research and publication projects, involving fund raising, organising and participating in research consortia, and publishing relevant books;
- continuing publishing and reinforcing the academic quality of CIFE’s quarterly, “L’Europe en formation”; and
- enlarging its academic and scientific network, establishing new partnerships with think tanks, research institutes, universities and individual researchers all over the world.
Due to the character of its academic programmes and the national versatility of its participants, CIFE has extensive experience with networking, alumni activities, and education with a global scale which will contribute to making SEnECA sustainable beyond the project’s two years duration.
Since 2010, CIFE has been engaged with two programmes focusing on Central Asia. The Master Programme “The European Union and Central Asia in the International System” (EUCAIS), which it organises since 2010 together with the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) e.V., and the PhD Support Programme “The European Union, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS) was launched in 2016, also in cooperation with the IEP. Furthermore, CIFE regularly realises an exchange programme for junior academics from China.
CIFE is beneficiary to the Horizon 2020 research project “The Future of EU-Turkey Relations: Mapping Dynamics and Testing Scenarios” (FEUTURE), where it co-leads the Work Package “Awareness-raising, dissemination and communication” successfully.
The Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) is the first trans-European research network that comprises leading research institutes in the field of European affairs throughout Europe with an office in Brussels. TEPSA’s aim is to provide high-quality research on European integration in order to stimulate discussion on policies and political options for Europe. In order to have the maximum impact on enhancing European integration, TEPSA has developed various instruments to promote dialogue between researchers and key stakeholders. Today, TEPSA consists of 36 member and associate member institutes located in 33 European countries.
TEPSA and its member institutes have deep expertise on European integration, institutional developments, and a wide range of EU policies, as well as on interactions between European and national political processes. They also have a strong capacity to organise and conduct new research in these areas. In the framework of the Horizon 2020 and ERASMUS+ programmes, TEPSA organises numerous events in order to foster action, debate and reflection related to European citizenship and democracy, shared values, common history and culture through cooperation within civil society organisations at European level. Among other events, TEPSA organises its flagship biannual Pre-Presidency Conferences in member states’ capitals to promote expert discussions of the main issues of the current EU agenda and issue policy recommendations to incoming Council Presidencies. Linked to these activities, TEPSA maintains relevant contacts in Brussels, drafts various reports and policy papers, regularly updates its website and disseminates its newsletter. It also coordinates the elaboration of numerous studies and briefings under framework contracts with the European Parliament.
TEPSA aims to stimulate discussion on policies and political options by organising research projects, conferences and facilitating interaction between researchers and policy-makers as well as between citizens from different Member States. It publishes policy papers and background papers in fields such as EU integration and EU institutional affairs. Thanks to its rich network of 36 member institutes, TEPSA has on numerous occasions successfully coordinated the preparation and analysis of country questionnaires feeding into cross-country studies or mapping national debates on given EU policy issues.
Besides its member institutes from all over Europe, TEPSA regularly works with EU institutions, national governments, universities and civil society.
In 2015, TEPSA was ranked as the 12th best think tank network by the University of Pennsylvania’s “Global Go To Think Tank Index Report”, an annual ranking of the world’s best think tanks.
The Kyrgyz National University (KNU) is the oldest higher education institution in Kyrgyzstan. Established in 1925 as the Kyrgyz Institute of Education, it was originally meant to train teaching staff in the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic. When Kyrgyzstan became independent, the KNU was awarded national status. The KNU is often referred to as the flagship university of Kyrgyzstan.
The Faculty of History and Area Studies is one of the oldest of its kind in Kyrgyzstan. Established in 1934, the Faculty has become the alma mater for several generations of Kyrgyz political and academic elites. The Faculty of History and Area Studies focuses on local, regional and global history as well as politics. As such, the faculty has an extensive network of local and regional connections with relevant researchers and stakeholders. Over the years, it has built an extensive range of local, regional and international contacts. In addition, the faculty is actively involved in training of Kyrgyz civil service and foreign service professionals. At the moment, the faculty contributes to the training of foreign policy professionals and regional experts. The faculty is an active participant in regional and interna-tional research and collaboration projects, which also contributes to the pool of the Faculty’s external connections.
The non-profit organization Ynanch-Vepa (YV) has been established and registered in November 2009 as a mechanism for strengthening the capacities of local organisations in Turkmenistan connecting them to the world via exchanging knowledge and experience, establishing professional partnerships, informing on advanced techniques and introduction of world best practices (Original registration No. 141625 of 28. De-cember 2009; acting registration No. 25169945 of 26. March 2016.
Since its establishment, Ynanch-Vepa has been contracted as national executive agency for several regional projects and programmes, including some focused on developing human capacity in local institutions by providing trainings for low- and medium operational level experts in the fields of agriculture, water management and environmental protection.
While implementing the projects a strong partnership was established with all leading research institutes in Turkmenistan, including the Agricultural University. Nowadays, Ynanch-Vepa connects national key experts working in the fields of agriculture, water management and environment protection, including experts responsible for developing training materials and a text books for high schools students in Turkmenistan. Ynanch-Vepa ensures the efficient management of its partnerships and the implementation of activities within the projects/programmes.
Ynanch-Vepa is capable of accounting in local and foreign currencies according to Turkmen law in cooperation with the bank “Turkmenbashi” and is experienced in cooperation with donor agencies.
Experts of Ynanch-Vepa are proactive participants of national and regional dialogues including those within the framework of EU and Central Asia cooperation.