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Academic leads on interdisciplinary research project awarded NORFACE funding

In the latest announcement of funding, 14 new research projects have been supported by New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE) to offer timely investigation into the challenges to democratic governance and politics.

The transnational, interdisciplinary research project entitled Populist Backlash, Democratic Backsliding, and the Crisis of the Rule of Law in the European Union (POPBACK) will be led by Dr Gerhard Schnyder, Director of the Institute for International Management at Loughborough University London.

The POPBACK project aims to inform strategies to increase democratic resilience by studying the mechanisms ‘exclusionary populists’ use to increase their power by undermining the Rule of Law in the areas of law, the economy, and the media. The project also seeks to identify the ‘coping strategies’ societal actors use when faced with exclusionary populism.

The project, which is organised into four work packages (legal changes, business and economics, media and communications, and impact), also includes Dr Burçe Çelik from the University’s Institute for Media and Creative Industries who will co-lead the third work project, Media and Communications, with academics from the Peace Institute in Slovenia and the University of Vienna in Austria.

On receiving the funding for the project, Dr Gerhard Schnyder said: “I'm delighted to have the privilege to work with this interdisciplinary team of world-leading scholars from eight institutions in six different countries. The project provides a great opportunity for Loughborough University London to further strengthen its already excellent international research network and continue on its path to becoming a renowned hub for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on the societal challenges of the 21st century.

“Populist backlash against liberal democracy is one of the most formidable challenges facing various European countries. While the electoral politics of this trend have been extensively studied, our project will shed light on a less-well studied aspect of this phenomenon, namely the legal and political economy of populism.”

More information about the project can be found here.