With the new millenium, new research areas and fields were established at the Schuman Centre. The Centre reinforced its scientific engagement with policy-related topics, such as the monetary union or migration. The latter was initially integrated into the Mediterranean programme and later developed into the Migration Policy Centre.
Worth mention is the founding of the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) in 2004, which in its first years focused on energy issues and later became one of the biggest success stories of the Centre. The Schuman Centre became a space for academics to carry out their research projects and for young researchers to stabilise their careers.
With Stefano Bartolini as the new director from the end of 2006, the Robert Schuman Centre continued to grow: new projects were launched such as EUDO (European Observatory on Democracy) and the Loyola de Palacio Programme on energy.
In 2008 the Schuman Centre had already evolved into a large and well-known research infrastructure hosting more than 100 people. Its theoretical and methodological pluralism, a characteristic feature of the Centre’s research orientation since the very beginning, had remained constant over the years. The Centre is involved in basic and policy research, it collaborates with other centres of excellence in Europe, it provides opportunities for young scholars and it promotes dialogue with the world of practice.
The Centre was originally financed via the EUI budget but over time, it continued to successfully obtain external funds via competitive grant and fund applications, where the EU remains predominant but the proportion of private donors – firms and foundations – has increased.
From 2013 to 2021 the Centre was directed by Brigid Laffan. By then, the Centre had become a large hub of different programmes and projects, such as the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, the European Union Democracy Observatory, the Florence School of Regulation, the Global Governance Programme, and the Migration Policy Centre.
The Centre had also become the home of a number of highly competitive ERC projects; in 2014 for instance it hosted one starting ERC grant and four senior advanced grants. The Florence School of Banking and Finance was created in 2016 as well as the MEDirections Programme. Finally, the new European Governance and Politics Programme joined the Schuman family in 2018.
The Schuman Centre has four well-established fellowship programmes: the Jean Monnet Fellows, the Max Weber Fellows, the Robert Schuman Fellows, and the EU Fellows from the European Parliament, the Commission, and the External Action Service, intended to attract outstanding scholars and practitioners who wish to pursue their research interests and enrich the academic community. In addition, the Centre has also become an attractive environment for Marie Curie Fellows.
While academic conferences and workshops continue to regularly take place at the Robert Schuman Centre, high-level policy dialogue and executive training have also become main channels of engagement with practitioners. The dissemination of research output and an increased visibility of the different activities of the Centre also became a priority under Brigid Laffan’s direction. In 2018-19 the Robert Schuman Centre obtained several new EU-funded projects and reached a new record in terms of external funding.
The Schuman Centre started as a modest enterprise of five people and in 2019 it was home to almost 200 people between academic and administrative staff.