The title puts Aston in an exclusive group of Europe’s leading institutions for researching EU topics, and is a serious marker of Aston Centre for Europe’s (ACE’s) achievements in developing world-class expertise on the political bloc.
Jean Monnet Centres for Excellence have a major role in leading research activities on specific EU subjects, developing content and tools to update and compliment degree courses, and enhancing the debate through the exchange of experiences of the EU.
Dr Carolyn Rowe, co-director of ACE, said: “Brexit will lead to a historical recalibration of both Britain's relationship with the EU and its individual, bilateral relations with the 27 member states. ACE prides itself on undertaking excellent research that engages with the multiple economic, cultural and political dimensions of these relationships.”
Professor John Gaffney, Aston 50th Anniversary Professor and co-director of ACE, said: “Being honoured with the award of a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence underscores the important role we continue to play in making sense of Europe today. We are looking forward to building on our role as a hub for the analysis of contemporary Europe and to continuing our conversations with the local and regional public, voluntary and private sectors about European issues, as we have done since ACE was established in 2009.”
The achievement follows an annual series of public events organised by ACE called The New EU Agenda. These are workshops and debates designed to engage a broad audience in European policy issues and their impacts on the West Midlands and beyond, such as green growth, relations with countries with newly advanced economies and Eurozone governance.
On the EU’s website, Jean Monnet Centres for Excellence are defined as “a focal point of competence and knowledge on European Union subjects”. The centres have a project duration of three years, and have the responsibility of reaching out to students from faculties who do not normally deal with EU issues as well as to policy makers, civil servants and the general public at large.
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