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PolyCIVIS: Confronting the Polycrisis in Europe and Africa

22 September 2023
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A new CIVIS Alliance project entitled PolyCIVIS paves the way for new partnerships with African Universities by bringing to the forefront the global challenge-oriented science. PolyCIVIS is a new 3-year Erasmus+ co-funded project within CIVIS Alliance that will start on October 1st, 2023!

What is PolyCIVIS?

PolyCIVIS is a Jean Monnet Network (Policy Debate: Foreign policy issues: EU-AFRICA) mobilising a consortium of 21 universities: all 11 CIVIS Alliance universities, all 6 CIVIS African strategic partners, and an additional 4 African universities.

PolyCIVIS proposes to jostle against 4 factors impeding our capacity to resolve the polycrisis (the combination of several concurrent major societal crises that we currently face) by actively working through and across 4 groups of boundaries:

  • Across the different crises (contemplating holistically how they interact),
  • Across time (combining the latest science with overlooked lessons of the past),
  • Across disciplinary clusters (the complexity of the polycrisis requires a fully integrated multidisciplinary response), and
  • Across territories and languages (at the local, the national, the regional, the continental, and the global levels, and across language barriers).

Moreover, these 4 approaches will be applied to 3 fundamental dimensions: research, policy, and teaching. The proposed network offers to bring down the walls between the crises, between the scientific disciplines trying to understand them, and between the levels of policy response across nations and continents.

The project is coordinated by Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and each of the work packages is jointly led by one European and one African university. Overall, the work plan includes conferences, workshops with policy makers, publications, and more.

PolyCIVIS will provide a major boost for the collaborations with our African strategic partners, one of the main strategic priorities for CIVIS. 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.

In turn, for CIVIS and its African partner universities, this Jean Monnet network is the first, joint, larger academic project that not only brings all CIVIS member and partner institutions together, but also contributes thereby directly and significantly to one of the main objectives of our strategic partnership – jointly addressing global challenges facing Africa and Europe. As such, it shows the strong potential of the partnership between CIVIS and African universities and will certainly inspire our academic communities to more of such endeavours. So, congratulations to all future “bridge builders”, and especially to its main architects – the coordination team at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)!”