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Political scientist Nikoleta Yordanova awarded NORFACE Network research grant

Nikoleta Yordanova, a political scientist at Leiden University, will lead an international research consortium funded by the European NORFACE Network to complete a multi-disciplinary project ‘Willingness and Capacity for EU Policy Action in Turbulent Times: Conflicts, Positions and Outcomes’ (EUINACTION). A grant award of a total of 1.2 million Euro follows a competitive selection procedure in which only 14 out of nearly 200 proposals were successful and will be embedded in the Network’s Governance research programme (Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age). Leiden University will partner with the University of Mannheim and the University of Strathclyde for the project, which is planned to start in fall 2020 and will last three years.

European integration in turbulent times

Global financial, migration, security and pandemic crises require coordination between national governments, which the European Union (EU) historically facilitates. Yet, movements demanding renewed national policies have upended national politics, as exemplified in the 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom, and hindered discussions over EU cooperation on diverse issues. This raises the question of how these competing demands affect EU policy integration.

Willingness and capacity for EU policy action

Nikoleta Yordanova, Assistant Professor of European Politics at Leiden University’s Institute of Political Science, will lead the multi-disciplinary project ‘Willingness and Capacity for EU Policy Action in Turbulent Times: Conflicts, Positions and Outcomes’ (EUINACTION) to study these questions in collaboration with Goran Glavaš, Juniorprofessor for Text Analytics for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Mannheim, Germany, and Zachary Greene, Senior Lecturer of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, UK.

The project seeks to explain and facilitate responsive and effective policy reforms by increasing knowledge about the willingness and capacity for European integration in specific policy areas. It will investigate under what conditions politicians and institutions in the European Union (EU) seek to increase or decrease specific policy competencies of the EU; when these actors and institutions manage to assert their positions in the policy-making processes; and to what extent their positions respond to public demands across and within member states.

Methodologically, the project will apply state-of-the-art natural language processing (NLP) methods to various sources of political text (manifestos of political parties, transcripts of speeches from the European and national parliaments, and EU legislative proposals) to establish and analyze the policy goals and policy-making influence of different EU institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council representing national governments). This will enable explaining the mechanisms that drive or obstruct policy change at the European level in different policy areas (e.g., common currency, internal market, environment, public health, consumer protection, immigration, or security).


NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe) is a partnership of national research funding agencies in Europe (for The Netherlands, this is the Dutch Research Council, NWO) dedicated to the promotion of excellent transnational research in the social sciences. Since its inception in 2004, NORFACE provides joint funding facilities, supports existing networks and encourages the formation of new networks.

Within the NORFACE Governance Research Programme, the projects were selected for funding in a competitive two-stage procedure. Out of the initial 197 Outline Proposals, 46 research consortia were invited to submit a Full Proposal, of which 14 were selected for funding.

Further reading

Profile page Nikoleta Yordanova

› NORFACE Network: Democratic governance in a turbulent age

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