Project Summary

EUCTIRL provides research-led excellence in teaching and learning at the intersection of two fundamental areas of EU policy – the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (formerly known as Justice and Home Affairs) and EU counter-terrorism policy and law (also within the CFSP, notably in relation to counter-terrorist financing). The objective is pursued by advancing cutting-edge learning formats, strong inter-disciplinarity, policy relevance by creating three courses (including distance and blended learning) and contributing to the creation of a Jean Monnet Chair in Terrorism and Security in the EU – the first such hub in Ireland, and one of the very few in Europe as a whole.

Popular discourse often depicts the European Union (EU) as an ‘undemocratic and bureaucratic monster’ imposing its will upon the unwilling and ‘sovereignty-less’ member states. This Jean Monnet Chair project aims to demonstrate that this is not necessarily the case. It is possible to teach EU politics to putative a priori ‘non-EU friendly’ students and make them enthusiastic about this subject.

This argument is informed by the experience of teaching various modules on European Union politics, including an EU simulation module based on the problem-based learning (PBL) approach.

‘Problem-based learning’ is learning that is centred on a problem, a query or a puzzle that the learner wishes to solve.

The features of a PBL curriculum and how they can inform an EU simulation can be summarised as follows: Cumulative learning, Integrated learning, Progression in learning, and Consistency in learning.

PBL is a radical way of putting tasks at the centre of learning and is based on the assumption that students are motivated to solve problems. The Jean Monnet Chair project includes simulation experiences for students each year, which are both build on the same teaching philosophy: the EU Simulation embedded in teaching courses, the Simulation experience embedded in the Summer School, and the TACEUSS transatlantic EuroSim teaching trip.

Our Research

We investigate the European Union, counter-terrorism, security, and foreign policy.

We engage students, academics and policy-makers/practitioners in a dialogue on:

The ‘EU acquis’ on EU Justice and Home Affairs has grown significantly over the last years; a majority of Union citizens, according to Eurobarometer (1997-2021) periodic surveys, increasingly feel that EU-level actions have an added value compared to those taken solely at a national level and two thirds of citizens support EU-level actions in the fight against organised crime, irregular migration and terrorism.

Our Outputs

Thus, the project aims to achieve the following outputs: (1) teaching modules on European integration, and specifically with a focus on EU Justice and Home Affairs, to putative a priori non-EU friendly students to make them enthusiastic about this subject, even students who would not normally come into contact with the EU.

The interest in the EU will be strengthened through the problem-based learning (PBL) as well as the distance/blended learning approach, which aims to generate students who are independent, enterprising problem-solvers, through the provision of real-life problems.

Beside Teaching EU modules, we facilitate a series of public events allowing scholars from across Europe to share their research with one another and engage in broader debate with key decision-makers and the general public.

We will disseminate research findings through traditional academic publication channels such as books, articles or working papers, as well as through our webinars and workshops.