Faculty of Social Sciences
How to exit Brexit

ERC grant holder Adriana Bunea left the UK for UiB

– The UK is heading towards very uncertain times. It is hard to push the scientific borders when you feel that you are under siege, says Adriana Bunea. The former lecturer at The University of Southampton made a swift exit from Brexit and brought a prestigious grant to Bergen.

Adriana Buena portrait
– I am very pleased that both my husband and I got our positions at the University of Bergen. We have worked a lot for this, Adriana Bunea says.
Ida Bergstrøm, UiB

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This spring, Adriana Bunea starts her new academic life at the University of Bergen.

– We faced a lot of uncertainty in the UK regarding the future. We feared what would happen to university funding and whether we would need working visas or not. We were uncertain about the basic conditions of our academic work. And we saw a true deterioration of the situation, Adriana Bunea says.  

Bunea has settled down with her husband, Raimondas Ibeskas, who holds the position of associate professor at Department of comparative politics at the UiB. Along she brought her ERC Starting Grant, opening for the position as an associate professor for her as well.  

Concerns regarding Brexit

Before coming to Bergen, Buena was a lecturer at The University of Southampton, UK.

Together with her husband, she had serious concerns regarding the consequences of Brexit. 

– Fundamentally, Brexit is a story about parts of the British system that was left behind by the UK state. I can understand that some people, who are facing lack of social mobility, welfare cuts and the constraints of the labour market, are blaming it all on the EU. 

Bunea describes a change in the public attitude towards foreigners. She recalls incidents loaded with racial hostility and a rising fear of what would be next. 

– You cannot be creative when you are in a constant fight or flight mode. Or when you are worrying about your work status or your legal status. It is hard to push the scientific borders when you feel that you are under siege, Bunea says. 

Living in a cloud

Originally Romanian, she finds similarities between Bergen and her hometown Brasov in the mountains of Transylvania. 

– In many ways, this was like coming home. Even though we lacked the fjords and the water, we had the same sense of living in a cloud. 

She finds the academic environment at UiB very pleasant. 

– The good will of colleagues who encourages each other; the egalitarianism. Norwegians are more open and more friendly than I imagined. I love the relaxed atmosphere in Bergen, she says.  

ERC grant opens doors

Her 5 years ERC Starting Grant was awarded a project named "CONSULTATIONEFFECTS - Effects of stakeholder consultation on inputs, processes and outcomes of executive policymaking."

The project aims to investigate stakeholder consultations as institutions of political participation and representation. During the project period, the Buena will also systematically study their effects on policy inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes of executive policymaking. The project scope is all 28 EU Member States and the EU polity.

– Your project mainly focuses on the EU. Do you think Norway will serve as a good platform for this purpose? 

– Generally speaking, it does not really matter much where you are based. Travels can easily be made from Norway. Moreover, Norway may serve as a good reference point. The country is considered having a good and serious academic system and having the ERC stamp will also contribute to facilitate the access we need.