GRASS - EU governance of natural resources: geopolitics, regions and sectors

GRASS is a 24 months (2017-2019) Jean-Monnet project studying EU sectoral, regional, & global natural resource governance, its implications for Russia (RU) and Belarus, and their perspective on this. In particular, we explore the perspective of Northwest Russia and a specific region (Pskov) that borders the EU and Belarus. In its broader set of objectives, building on the outcomes of previously implemented EU projects, GRASS will:

  • Consolidate research & praxis expertise in EU studies in general at Pskov State University (PSU) and in the Russia's NW region, in particular in relation to water & biodiversity governance, Baltic & the Arctic;
  • Promote the PSU group as a centre of excellence in EU studies, increase its visibility and connectedness with(in) RU&EU research networks and globally;
  • Create knowledge co-production opportunities for stakeholder groups in the region to encourage their involvement in curriculum development & research;
  • Enhance the teaching & research portfolio of GRASS members, develop and strengthen their networks;

The project brings forward three issue areas within the EU governance of natural resources and their external dimension:

  1. The Arctic: Manifesting EU geopolitics;
  2. The Baltic Sea: An example of EU regional policies; and
  3. Biodiversity: A case of EU sectoral policies.

These three issue areas will be analysed through the lenses of two crosscutting themes: Water and Energy. The coupling of the three issue areas with two broader research domains will enable a solid theoretical rooting of the work on the issues. It will also serve as an incentive for social science and humanity researchers to engage meaningfully with the issue areas instead of an often observed auxiliary role of these disciplines. To put EU/RU relations in the perspective, we additionally explore Belarusian cases.

The project activities will include 3 academia-praxis workshops one for each issue area. An International research conference in Pskov will bring together the outcomes of the workshops and further elaborate on them with a large group of international and RU scholars & policy-makers. The workshops on the Baltic & Arctic will be also accompanied by roundtable talks bringing together practitioners from both sides of the RU/EU border. To ensure international dissemination, the workshops will aim at producing one peer-reviewed publication each. In addition, a capstone article bringing all strands of activities and their respective findings together will be prepared. All this will form a core of a special issue of a high impact international journal. As a parallel research activity, we will explore the isolation of research and higher education in Russia and Belarus from the EU academic communities; the findings will be shared in a peer-reviewed paper.

Other deliverables will include a project brief (in Russian) targeting the practitioners from Russia and the Eastern Neighbourhood Area, a teaching sessions (and teaching materials) on the issue areas (12 hours) to be piloted at the HEIs hosting the workshops. All the project outputs will be made available as open educational resources from the PSU e-learning platform.

Project partners:

Erda RTE will contribute to all the project activities, including the development of detail research agenda, organisation of seminars and the final conference, and development of publications.