GEM Stones

GEM-STONES (2016-2020) Logo gem stones

Lead by the ULB and funded by the European Union's H2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, the GEM-STONES project brings together 14 partners, including 8 higher education institutions, and 6 non-academic partners across three continents.

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

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; and 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 2 academics from 2 universities belonging to the consortium and by a mentor from one of the non-academic consortium members. GEM-STONES therefore systematically deliver international double PhD degrees which are further enriched through the inclusion of a non-academic professional dimension.

Lastly, GEM-STONES' “research excellence” and “innovative doctoral training” dimensions are 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.); the organisation of, or participation in, research events; and the organisation of fora aimed at building sustainable links between researchers, academics, civil society representatives and decision-makers.

GEM-STONES Project website:

GEM PHD SCHOOL (2009 – 2015)

Launched in 2010, the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme on "Globalisation, the European Union and Multilateralism" - GEM PhD School – was an endeavour set up with the support of the European Commission. It fostered first-rate Social Science doctoral research centred on the common challenges facing the European Union and other Regional Organization within a multi-polar global system. All dissertations written within the GEM PhD School's framework are subject to joint tutorship and double doctoral degrees involving two of its partner universities.

The GEM PhD School came to foster a pan-European learning environment geared towards attracting promising doctoral researchers from across the globe. Ultimately, it brought together 10 institutions - from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, Japan, the Peoples' Republic of China and Mexico – intent on taken the lead in the interdisciplinary study of Globalisation, Europe and Multilateralism. The resulting epistemic community covered a wide range of Social Sciences amongst which: International Relations and Security Studies; International Political Economy; International and EU Legal Studies; Comparative Regionalism; Comparative Political Sociology; Comparative Political Theory and Sociology; and EU Studies.

The various personal projects developed with the GEM PhD School focus on one or several of the three interdependent phenomena acknowledged in its heading: Globalisation, Europe and Multilateralism. The uniting factor binding the programme’s diverse activities is a shared interest in: (1) the international dimension of contemporary governance challenges; (2) the lessons to be drawn from comparative research; and (3) the broader insights born from the specific institutional experience of the EU.

At the time of GEM-STONES launch, the GEM PhD School had already seen more than 20 fellows successfully graduate, while some 25 Fellows remain enrolled as they work towards completing their dissertations by 2018 at the latest.

GEM PhD School website:


GEM-STONES Project Management Office

Institut d’études européennes – ULB

39-41 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt

1050 Brussels

Tel. +32 (0)2 650 4917 / E-mail :


GEM-STONES Lead Scientist: Anne WEYEMBERGH -

1st year POLI-D-514 Seminar on Theory, Methodology and Research In Political Science: Christian OLSSON - & Seda GÜRKAN -

GEM-STONES Project Central Manager: Ulla HÄRMÄLÄ -

GEM-STONES Research & Training Officer: Frederik PONJAERT -