Skip to content

Research project

HEIDI - Higher Education Informal Diplomacy: the case of the European Universities Initiative

This project is funded by the EU's Horizon Europe programme.

In a world of shifting geopolitics and increasing societal and economic challenges, higher education institutions (HEIs) have become critical actors in promoting economic, social, and educational relations among nations. They also contribute to enhancing the global science-policy interface by providing knowledge and expertise during crises while pursuing Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, we know surprisingly little regarding how higher education institutions combine political agency with knowledge production and thus act as autonomous agents of informal diplomacy.

A truly interdisciplinary project bringing theoretical, methodological and empirical innovations, HEIDI studies HEIs' nature and role as informal diplomatic actors. Focusing on the European Universities Initiative (EUI), HEIDI:

  1. defines the concept of higher education informal diplomacy;
  2. maps the nature, governance, and policy practices of HEIs as informal diplomatic actors;
  3. traces how HEIs are advancing informal diplomacy by looking at the role of stakeholders in this process.

HEIDI bridges a major scientific gap and represents cutting-edge research in a vital field for the future of Europe in enhancing awareness of the importance of higher education to foster international cooperation and solve global challenges.


Upcoming event

"Universities as Informal Diplomatic Actors"? Open/Hybrid event at the University of Loughborough, London, 14 May 2024. Registration link.

The team

Group members

Go back to top of the page