IFZO is...

... the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Baltic Sea Region Studies and our researchers analyse cooperation-driven and conflict-driven narratives of futures in the societies of the Baltic Sea Region. Hereby, we concentrate on question and challenges of current urgency. The spatial dimension of research includes the countries and cultures at the shores of the Baltic Sea as much as its hinterland along the rivers. Historically, cooperation across the Baltic Sea emerged from security issues. Collaboration strengthens common interest and lowers conflict potential between neighbouring states. Furthermore, the advances of collaboration nurtured regional development. Narratives of inter- and transnational cooperation legitimised cross-border initiatives. However, current developments of new national policies and their narratives challenge the cooperative approach, thus also bringing security issues to the fore again. In this context, we have to observe and take care of cooperation-driven and conflict-driven projections of future at the same time.

Currently, the Baltic Sea region is one of the most integrated maritime spaces in the world. The post 1989 challenges of systemic change in Eastern Europe and Germany led to different solutions between integration and re-bordering. Particularly important is collaboration in the fields of ecology, digital development, energy and security. Accordingly, researchers of the University Greifswald and their partners in the Baltic Sea region will address the following six thematic fields:

(1) International Relations and Security (Hard and Soft Security)

(2) New Nationalisms

(3) The Topicality of Cultural Heritage

(4) Regional Development and Rural Areas

(5) Sustainability in the Baltic Sea Region

(6) Energy

The issues addressed within this thematic framework relate to national strategies and discourses as well as to those on interregional, international and interorganisational levels [Council of Baltic Sea States, Baltic Development Forum (BDF) und EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)]. During the concept phase, interdisciplinary research clusters will formulate broad research programs and specific research projects based on common challenges in the fields of ecology, digital innovation, energy and security for the implementation phase. The research activities have high practical relevance for political, economic and societal stakeholders in Germany and the Baltic Sea Region, and thus knowledge transfer will be a central task for the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Baltic Sea Region Studies, which will combine expertise from across disciplines and faculties, whilst being firmly anchored in the social sciences and humanities.