The GEM-STONES' specific research agenda is rooted in a shared observation: that the rapid rise in the number of international institutions increases the complexity of the global system, and that managing the latter efficiently and fairly constitutes both a necessity and a challenge for the EU.

Press release Oct 2020 (PDF)

Objective of the research programme

GEM-STONES’s overall objective is to assess how the European Union contributes towards the purposeful management of regime complexes in response to the increased number of institutions, and an ever-greater sophistication of the international system. To this effect, GEM-STONES will investigate the EU's capacity to: (1) project its political choices through international institutions; (2) ensure public policy consistency via existing institutional networks; (3) collaborate in a targeted manner with other regional institutions; and (4) frame rational behaviours within international institutions.

In a nutshell, GEM-STONES seeks to find an answer to the following question:

Does the complexity of the global system resulting from the proliferation of international institutions strengthen or weaken the EU's capacity to  interact with the world?

An international and interdisciplinary training program

Anchoring the implementation of its research agenda in an innovative doctoral school, the GEM-STONES project will seek to answer this question by offering:

  • Transnational methods training provided through a series of collective activities organised by the participating universities
  • An internship programme hosted by the 6 non-academic partners aimed at providing work experience to the PhD candidates
  • An interdisciplinary research environment involving legal scholars, political scientists, economists and sociologists from top research centres in European studies.

As a result, the project will also actively contribute to the internationalisation of research and higher education through the institutionalisation of “joint doctorates”. Concretely, this means that each of the 15 PhD candidates will be jointly supervised by two academics from two universities belonging to the consortium, and by a mentor from one of the non-academic partners. GEM-STONES will therefore deliver international double PhD degrees that are further enriched through the inclusion of a non-academic professional dimension.

Reaching a wider audience beyond the Consortium

Lastly, GEM-STONES' objective to create research excellence and to offer innovative doctoral training to the selected students is complemented by an extended impact strategy based on a set of concrete initiatives.

These include a peer-reviewed series published by Routledge; the dissemination of non-academic products (policy recommendations, documentaries, etc.); participation in, or organisation of public research events; and the organisation of a fora aimed at building sustainable links between researchers, academics, civil society representatives and decision-makers.


GEM-STONES receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Grant Agreement.

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Please note that there are no new PhD positions open for AY2020-2021

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.