The ASCN Programme, hosted at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, launches a call for regional research project proposals in the social sciences, open to researchers from and resident in Georgia or Armenia. By regional projects, ASCN means joint Armenian-Georgian projects, bringing together at least one institution from each of the two countries and covering both Armenia and Georgia as research object. The research proposals to be submitted should be relevant to transition themes and should fit into one of the two topics below, defined specifically for Georgia and Armenia:
1) Regional Cooperation and Security
Proposals for this first topic should examine the achievements, obstacles and prospects for regional cooperation in the South Caucasus. Proposals are invited especially to assess pathways and forms of cooperation between Georgia and Armenia, such as in economics and trade, which may contribute to wider processes of regionalism. Projects may assess actual or potential institutional arrangements or formal structures (hard regionalism). Equally projects may study initiatives arising from within societies which can develop cross-border or transnational linkages (soft regionalism); these may take the form of economic, social, political, intellectual or environmental networks and would reflect the disciplinary knowledge of applicants in these fields. More broadly projects are sought which study comparatively domestic influences on security policy formation in Georgia and Armenia. Proposals are also invited which analyse the role of external actors (organisations such as the European Union and states) in fostering values and norms on a regional basis, as well as the interaction between the processes of regionalism and globalization, in the South Caucasus.
2) Actors and Institutions: A Comparative Approach
Proposals that fall into this second topic should compare domestic actors and institutions in the two countries. In terms of actors, particular consideration should be given to organised interest groups, such as political parties, media (both 'new' and 'traditional'), social movements or sectoral organisations (such organised labour and employers' or business groups). In terms of institutions, we have in mind constitutional arrangements, in particular executive-legislative relations, as well as institutions that determine structures of local and regional government and electoral institutions. Note that the primary aim of projects submitted within this topic should be a comparative study of Georgia and Armenia, but it should have as a point of reference the wider body of literature in the field of study. Moreover, while the focus should be on domestic arrangements, proposals that look at how global changes impact upon domestic actors and institutions will be especially welcome.
The budget made available per project will be 100,000 Swiss Francs (CHF) over two years, with a maximum of 50,000 CHF per year. Projects must have a duration of 24 months. Initial funding is provided for 12 months.
The funding will contribute to cover costs for honoraria, financial management, financial auditing, equipment and field work, access to knowledge, international and regional cooperation and networking, improvement of methods and training, mentoring by internationally recognised researchers, publishing and promotion.
Submitting several applications is permissible; each application will be judged according to its individual merits.
The official application form must be used to submit research proposals by the deadline of Monday 7 October 2013. Applications arriving after Monday 7 October 2013 will not be taken into consideration. The first page of the application form has to be signed and scanned. All documents (application form, CVs, annexes, etc.) have to be submitted as one PDF file to the ASCN Management at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com(for safety reasons, use both addresses) with the following email subject line " ASCN Call for Regional Research Projects - Armenia and Georgia 2013". For any queries or additional information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our local coordinators, Prof. Giga Zedania in Georgia (email@example.com) or Dr. Sergey Minasyan in Armenia (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The following criteria will be applied to assess the submissions for research projects:
- Completeness of application
- Scientific quality (elaboration of research question, use of relevant scientific theoretical concepts, methods and research plan are the most important components);
- Regional dimension (cooperation and networking), alignment with relevant initiatives for changes (regional, European, other), inclusion of at least 2 research institutions (one from Armenia, one from Georgia); inclusion of both Armenia and Georgia as research object;
- Relevance and link to the ASCN research topics;
- Coherence of proposed topic with research already conducted at home institution;
- Scientific competence of the applicants (scientific record);
- Involvement of younger researchers (project leader under 50; at least 2 PhD students under 35 in each country)
- Ability to select an appropriate international mentor
- Level of fluency in English
- Clear outputs (publications)
- Sound financial management capacities and adherence to good governance principles (accountability, efficiency, non-discrimination, participation, transparency).
Research projects are evaluated by an independent and international Scientific Board (visit our website for further details).
Application Deadline: 7 October 2013
The evaluation process will take place in the following steps:
• 7 October 2013: Deadline to submit research proposals
• Mid-December 2013: Final decision of the Scientific Board
• 1 February 2014: Start of approved research projects
Information and Application
The ASCN website (http://www.ascn.ch/en/research.html) contains information on current and completed research projects.
ASCN is a programme aimed at promoting the social sciences and humanities in the South Caucasus (primarily Georgia and Armenia). Its different activities foster the emergence of a new generation of talented scholars. Promising junior researchers receive support through research projects, capacity-building trainings and scholarships. The programme emphasizes the advancement of individuals who, thanks to their ASCN experience, become better integrated in international academic networks. The ASCN programme is coordinated and operated by the Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe (IICEE) at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). It is initiated and supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung.
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