Aston Centre for Europe granted special status by EU

Aston Centre for Europe

26 August 2016

  • Aston Centre for Europe (ACE) joins a global network of Jean Monnet Centres for Excellence, recognised for world-leading research on the EU.
  • Prestigious award emphasises ACE’s key role as the Brexit debate continues.

The European Commission has awarded Aston Centre for Europe the prestigious status of a Jean Monnet Centre for Excellence for outstanding competence and knowledge on European Union subjects.

The title puts Aston in an exclusive group of Europe’s leading institutions for researching EU topics, and is a serious marker of Aston Centre for Europe’s (ACE’s) achievements in developing world-class expertise on the political bloc.

Jean Monnet Centres for Excellence have a major role in leading research activities on specific EU subjects, developing content and tools to update and compliment degree courses, and enhancing the debate through the exchange of experiences of the EU.

Dr Carolyn Rowe, co-director of ACE, said: “Brexit will lead to a historical recalibration of both Britain's relationship with the EU and its individual, bilateral relations with the 27 member states. ACE prides itself on undertaking excellent research that engages with the multiple economic, cultural and political dimensions of these relationships.”

Professor John Gaffney, Aston 50th Anniversary Professor and co-director of ACE, said: “Being honoured with the award of a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence underscores the important role we continue to play in making sense of Europe today. We are looking forward to building on our role as a hub for the analysis of contemporary Europe and to continuing our conversations with the local and regional public, voluntary and private sectors about European issues, as we have done since ACE was established in 2009.”

The achievement follows an annual series of public events organised by ACE called The New EU Agenda. These are workshops and debates designed to engage a broad audience in European policy issues and their impacts on the West Midlands and beyond, such as green growth, relations with countries with newly advanced economies and Eurozone governance.

On the EU’s website, Jean Monnet Centres for Excellence are defined as “a focal point of competence and knowledge on European Union subjects”. The centres have a project duration of three years, and have the responsibility of reaching out to students from faculties who do not normally deal with EU issues as well as to policy makers, civil servants and the general public at large.


Notes to the editor

  • Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce.
  • The Aston Centre for Europe acts as a ‘hub’ for a range of Europe and EU-related research projects and teaching activities across the University. Reflecting the European strengths of Aston’s research culture, ACE has since 2009 become a major centre for research in European politics and society and ensured the real-world applicability of that research through practitioner engagement.

For more information, call Ben Kennedy, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4592 or email