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PolyCIVIS: Confronting the Polycrisis in Europe and Africa through Research, Policy and Education

PolyCIVIS is a 3-year Euro- African collaboration that brings to the forefront the global polycrisis, allowing a better understanding of the impacts of several concurrent major societal crises challenging the world in the form of a polycrisis.

In the wake of the global polycrisis, urgent challenges has emerged, prompting PolyCIVIS to take proactive measures. Our initiative is dedicated to addressing these pressing global issues and their interconnected consequences. At the forefront are escalating economic and social disparities, environmental degradation, and the overarching climate crisis.

A Jean Monnet Network of 21 Universities

Initiated in late 2023, PolyCIVIS allows discourse, collaboration and action arising out of the collaboration between universities in Europe and Africa. A Jean Monnet Network, (Policy Debate: Foreign policy issues: EU-AFRICA), PolyCIVIS mobilises a consortium of 21 universities: all 11 CIVIS Alliance universities, all 6 CIVIS African strategic partners, and an additional 4 African universities.

PolyCIVIS is a new CIVIS Alliance innovative project that brings together a great pool of international experts, reinforcing interdisciplinary collaborations between academics and scientists to work together towards the development of shared research, policy and education responses to polycrisis.

PolyCIVIS will explore polycrisis across:

  • The  different concurrent crises: looking at the intersection of  current risks in a holistic approach in all the different crises

  • Time: combining the latest science with overlooked lessons of the past
  • Scientific disciplines and clusters: taking a multidisciplinary approach to responding to complexity of the polycrisis
  • Territories and languages: understanding the different crises in terms of local, national, regional, continental specificities as  well in terms of the language barriers

The Consortium

The project is coordinated by Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and work packages are jointly led by African and European universities. In the span of the 3 years, the work plan includes conferences, workshops with policy makers and stakeholders and publications, allowing a strong response to complex and urgent transactional issues.

The partners:

Université libre de Bruxelles 

Aix-Marseille University

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Paris Lodron University of Salzburg

Stockholm University

University of Bucharest

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Sapienza University of Rome

Université de Lausanne

University of Glasgow

Université Hassan II de Casablanca

University of  Sfax

Makerere University

Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar

University Eduardo Mondlane

University of the Witwatersrand

University of Cape Coast

Université de Lubumbashi

Egerton University

Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo

A bridge between CIVIS and its strategic partners

Christian Möllmann, CIVIS Global Partnerships Officer, underlines the importance of this new project within CIVIS:

“I see PolyCIVIS as a bridge between CIVIS and its strategic partner universities in Africa on the one hand, and Africa-EU foreign policy, targeted by the EU’s Call for Proposals, on the other. It brings the rich experience of academics from CIVIS and its partners in transdisciplinary, global challenge-oriented science to the foreign policy debate of our home continents. It does so through an analytically powerful and thought-provoking concept – the polycrisis – and a solidly built, yet diverse inter-continental academic network”.

Organising the work of PolyCIVIS

Work package 1: Management and governance

WP1 is led by ULB and it aims to maintain regular communication and coordination of all partners and to assure that they work together efficiently with a view to produce high quality deliverables as indicated in this work plan.

Work Package 2: Researching the Polycrisis

WP2 will be organised in a way that generates interdisciplinary new knowledge on EU-Africa relations, strengthens the partnerships between the researchers already affiliated with CIVIS and new experts, and develops original research on the multiple and mutually reinforcing crises faced by both continents.

Work Package 3: Polycrisis and policy

WP3 aims to bridge the distance between research and practices surrounding European and African policy-making, by providing tailor-made advice and access to innovative and up to date results, tools and ideas. In close consultation with all partners, this knowledge will then be shared with Euro-African policymakers, the European Comission and selected regional institutions in Africa.

Work Package 4: Teaching about the Polycrisis

WP4 complements the research and policy-driven perspectives of the project. Through an open dialogue between partners and gathering students’ perspectives on the Polycrisies, the WP4 will be a joint effort to design and implement new teaching programmes suitable for both European and Africal higher education institutions.

Work Package 5: Communication and dissemination

The ultimate goal of the PolyCIVIS project is to achieve outreach to wider society through online, hybrid and cultural events through which we aim to foster a dialogue between the academic world and the society in both Europe and Africa.