Sussex European Institute

About SEI

The Sussex European Institute was set up in 1992 and has developed into an outstanding postgraduate training and research centre of excellence in contemporary European studies. As well as delivering internationally renowned Masters and doctoral courses, the SEI is also one of the foremost centres of cutting edge academic research on contemporary Europe.

The Sussex European Institute (SEI): 

You can find out more about SEI's activities in Euroscope, the Institute's termly newsletter.

SEI's mission

SEI's disinctive core intellectual mission, and what makes its approach to studying and researching contemporary Europe distinctive, is built on four pillars:

Inter-disciplinarity

For SEI, inter-disciplinarity is based on the notion that you need to bring to bear insights from a variety of disciplines in order to make sense of the key issues confronting contemporary Europe. Problems such as migration in Europe, EU enlargement, economic and monetary union and European security, to name a few, require an inter-disciplinary approach. Inter-disciplinarity was part of the original Sussex ethos dating back to when the University was established in the 1960s and SEI is now one of the main repositories of this tradition. SEI is the hub of a network of scholars researching contemporary Europe at Sussex and beyond from a range of disciplines: political science, law, sociology, economics, geography, anthropology, international relations, history, linguistics and media studies.

Breadth and inclusivity

SEI treats Europe as a whole and not just 'the EU' or 'Western Europe' engaging with the often 'forgotten' parts of the continent, particularly the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe that form the 'new EU' and 'European neighbourhood'. Many 'European studies' researchers and institutes often treat these countries as an 'add on'. This gives broader perspective to SEI's postgraduate students and researchers - who often end up working in European institutions or in jobs which bring them contact with the European integration process - compared to those who take a straight 'EU studies' postgraduate course.

Grounded, policy-relevant research at the academic cutting edge

SEI comprises outstanding academic researchers. It produces bold and ambitious scholarship that is at the academic cutting edge and pushes forward the conceptual and theoretical boundaries of knowledge. But SEI also believes strongly in making its research policy relevant and accessible to a wide range of non-academic audiences, including policy makers, think tanks, NGOs, the media and the business community. This underpins our development of a vibrant network of so-called 'practitioner fellows'. All SEI researchers believe in engaging with and producing research that is relevant to non-academic audiences as a core element of the Institute's rationale and ethos.

Integrating the European and national levels of analysis

In recent years in particular, SEI has developed a critical fourth distinctive strand to its core mission: integrating the European and national levels by studying how the European integration processes interacts with, shapes and is shaped by domestic political processes. Recent European referendums and elections that point to the collapse of the 'permissive consensus' have, for example, demonstrated the absolute necessity of understanding this advantage over other European stdies research and postgraduate training centres. It is another example of how SEI is at the cutting edge and engaging with a new, emerging field of scholarship in European studies, giving its postgraduate students and researchers an edge when trying to sell themselves as European specialists.