Department of Comparative Politics
Fernand Braudel Fellowship

Creativity, networking and innovative thinking in Florence on the Fernand Braudel fellowship

From her office with a view over the Tuscany hills in Badia Fiesolana, Adriana Bunea reports on the opportunities that the fellowship provides – both on an academic and on a personal level.

Portrait of Adriana at EUI
Adriana reports good weather and optimal temperatures from The European University Institute in Florence
Adriana Bunea

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Adriana moved to Florence in mid-September with husband and fellow professor at Sampol Raimondas Ibenskas and their 10-month-old son Sebastian. Adriana was awarded a Fernand Braudel Fellowship in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute for a period of three months. This means Adriana and her family will be in Florence until mid-December.

A great opportunity to consolidate international networks

- My decision to apply for the Braudel fellowship was informed by several reasons, says Adriana. First, EUI offers an excellent academic environment for networking and discussing research with other international scholars that conduct research on topics relevant for my ERC project CONSULTATIONEFFECTS, such as democratic governance, regulatory policymaking, EU politics and policymaking. My fellowship at the EUI represents thus a great opportunity to consolidate my international network and to get feedback on different aspects of my ERC project. I knew how rewarding the academic and social environment at the EUI would be because during the 2013-14 academic year I was a Max Weber fellow here at the beginning of my academic career.

Second, I wanted to get access to the great EUI library which has some online resources that are currently unavailable at the UiB Library such as for example the Factiva database of news reports and political analyses from around the world.

Third, from a personal perspective, I always find that a change in my working and professional environment stimulates my creativity and innovative thinking. This is important when leading and implementing an ERC project. In this respect, having an office with a view over the Tuscany hills in Badia Fiesolana helps.

Last but not least, the fellowship is also an opportunity to maintain and further consolidate the visibility of UiB and our department in an academic community with which we have strong ties with, Adriana explains. For example, three of SAMPOL’s professors did their PhD at the EUI in the SPS department, and in the past prof. Georg Picot was also a Fernand Braudel fellow at the EUI during the spring of 2020. Also, the SPS Department at the EUI hosts the Stein Rokkan chair.

Contributing to the department

The Fernand Braudel fellows are expected to also take an active part in academic activities at the department. Adriana elaborates on how she plans to spend her days at the EUI.

- During my fellowship I will spend most of my time working on completing two research papers as part of my ERC project, attending the seminars organized by the Department of Political and Social Sciences and the Robert Schuman Center on research topics related to my project, while also attending social meetings and events organized by members of the newly established Transnational School of Governance

A chance to start missing your colleagues

- Throughout my academic career, I have been extremely fortunate to receive research fellowships such as the Marie Curie, Max Weber and the Fulbright-Schuman fellowships, says Adriana. These research fellowships offered me the chance to conduct research in well-known universities in Europe and the US and offered me unique time to focus on my research and publish and to enhance my professional development and networking opportunities.

- I am confident that my current Fernand Braudel fellowship will be equally rewarding. It already is. I consider such fellowships a fantastic opportunity to get to know different institutions and academic environments, meet new people, be exposed to new research ideas and thus develop a comparative understanding of how different academic institutions and professional environments work. Almost always, they also represent an opportunity to renew your appreciation for your permanent workplace and a chance to start missing your colleagues.