In September of 2016 the 41st cohort of aspiring PhD and LLM candidates crossed the threshold of the Badia Fiesolana, entering into a European University Institute vastly transformed since its opening in 1976.
From its small but ambitious beginnings in Fiesole, the scenic hill town above Florence, the Institute has grown into a thriving community of more than 1000 scholars from over 60 countries. Its four original departments of Economics, History and Civilization, Law, and Social and Political Sciences are now hosted across 14 historic buildings, along with the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the prestigious Max Weber Programme for Post-doctoral Studies, and the Historical Archives of the European Union. In the Badia, the ‘heart’ of the Institute, the EUI holds an internationally recognised social science research Library and European Documentation Centre.
True to its founding principle of fostering high-level academic training and research on the major issues confronting European society, the EUI has produced more than 2300 doctoral dissertations in its four departments, and 330 masters theses in Law. Our graduates have gone on to distinguished careers not only in academia, but also in EU- and national- level governmental institutions and the public and private sectors. Graduate supervision is a priority at the Institute, where leading academics across the four departments focus exclusively on doctoral training.
Promoting inter-disciplinary research on the problems of Europe and European integration, another priority of the Institute’s designers, has been a long-term activity of the EUI. Formally started with the European Policy Unit in 1984, the EUI subsequently launched the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in 1992. The RSCAS conducts theoretical, normative, analytical and applied policy research in the areas of Integration, Governance and Democracy; Regulating Markets and Governing Money, and 21st Century World Politics and Europe. It hosts more than 60 major research projects and holds hundreds of inter-disciplinary events each year involving academics, practitioners, and policy makers.
In 2006 the academic community was further enriched with the creation of the Max Weber Programme for Post-doctoral Studies (MWP). Funded by the European Union, the MWP brings more than 40 Fellows to the Institute each year for a unique programme of inter-disciplinary academic research and training. It has become one of the largest and most sought-after post-doctoral programmes in the social sciences, and ensures an annual influx of some of the most promising young scholars from around the world.
Thanks to the vision and persistence of its founders, its leaders, its governance, and its academic community and staff, not to mention the support of the now 22 contracting states and the Italian government, the European University Institute, forty years on, has become a standard bearer in doctoral and post-doctoral training and a thriving hub of inter-disciplinary research on Europe and the world.