Participation of Morocco and Tunisia in the European Research Area: Research-intense Collaborative Patterns Across the European Southern Neighbourhood


  • Zane Šime Norwegian University of Science and Technology



European Research Area, European Southern Neighbourhood, research cooperation, Morocco, Tunisia


The purpose of the study is to explore the research-intense collaborative patterns that weave the EU Southern Neighbourhood into the European Research Area through EU-funded projects. The task of this article is to test the straw-in-the-wind hypothesis which, as the results demonstrate, rightly argues that the EU Framework Programmes do not encourage very restrictive engagement in projects among Morocco- and Tunisia-based entities. The study design entails explaining-outcome process-tracing performed with data-set observations of the collaborative patterns engaging Morocco and Tunisia. Despite taking part in projects coordinated primarily by managers from the European Mediterranean littoral countries, many European centres of expertise located elsewhere included Morocco and Tunisia in their consortiums. As a result, both countries are exposed to very rich European scientific expertise, including diverse subfields, habitus and capital transactions of the European Research Area facilitated by various project management styles. The Moroccan National Institute for Agricultural Research and the Tunisian Pasteur Institute stand out because, when comparing Framework Programme 7 and Horizon 2020 project portfolios, both sustain increasing engagement. Research cooperation addresses the pressing challenges of the neighbourhood, especially in environmental and agricultural domains and the capacity to engage in international collaboration. The article commences filling the gap in the literature on the EU Southern Neighbourhood.


Acker, S., K. McGinn, M., & Campisi, C. (2019). The Work of University Research Administrators: Praxis and Professionalization. Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 1(1), 61–85. doi:10.47989/kpdc67

Adler-Nissen, R., Pouliot, V., Villumsen Berling, T., Guzzini, S., Mérand, F., Forget, A., … Guiraudon, V. (2013). Bourdieu in International Relations: Rethinking Key Concepts in IR. (R. Adler-Nissen, Ed.), The New International Relations Series. London, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. doi:10.4324/9780203102282

Åm, H., Solbu, G., & Sørensen, K. H. (2020). The Imagined Scientist of Science Governance. Social Studies of Science, 1–21. doi:10.1177/0306312720962573

Atkinson, W. (2011). From sociological fictions to social fictions: Some bourdieusian reflections on the concepts of “institutional habitus” and “family habitus.” British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32(3), 331–347. doi:10.1080/01425692.2011.559337

Atkinson, W. (2013). Some further (orthodox?) Bourdieusian reflections on the notions of “institutional habitus” and “family habitus”: A reply to Burke, Emmerich, and Ingram. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(2), 183–189. doi:10.1080/01425692.2012.746266

Atkinson, W. (2019). Time for Bourdieu: Insights and oversights. Time and Society, 28(3), 951–970. doi:10.1177/0961463X17752280

Atkinson, W. (2021). The Swedish space of lifestyles and symbolic domination. Social Science Information, 60(1), 63–85. doi:10.1177/0539018421991785

Bátora, J., & Fossum, J. E. (2020). Introduction. In J. Bátora & J. E. Fossum (Eds.), Towards a Segmented European Political Order: The European Union’s Post-crises Conundrum (pp. 1–21). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781351024341

Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2013). Process Tracing Methods - Foundation and Guidelines. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2018). Selecting Appropriate Cases When Tracing Causal Mechanisms. Sociological Methods and Research, 47(4), 837–871. doi:10.1177/0049124115622510

Bennett, A., Checkel, J. T., Jacobs, A. M., Schimmelfennig, F., Waldner, D., Evangelista, M., … Pouliot, V. (2015). Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytical Tool. (A. Bennett & J. T. Checkel, Eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blackburn, R. T., Chapman, D. W., & Cameron, S. M. (1981). “Cloning” in academe: Mentorship and academic careers. Research in Higher Education, 15(4), 315–327. doi:10.1007/BF00973512

Boncourt, T., & Calligaro, O. (2017). Legitimising Europe With the Social Sciences and Humanities? The European University Institute and the European Integration Project (1976–1986). Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 2(1), 69–89. doi:10.25364/11.2:2017.1.5

Boussaguet, L., Deshousse, R., & Jacquot, S. (2010). Change and Continuity in European Governance (Les Cahiers europeens de Sciences Po. No. 06). Paris: Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparée. Retrieved from

Breuer, F. (2010). Between Intergovernmentalism and Socialisation: the Brusselisation of ESDP (EUI Working Papers No. 48). Florence: European University Institute. Retrieved from

Capponi, G., & Frenken, K. (2021). On the sudden rise of Dutch science at the end of the nineteenth century: a core-periphery approach. Industry and Innovation, 28(9), 1175–1195. doi:10.1080/13662716.2021.1929867

Cianciara, A. K., & Szymański, A. (2020). Differentiation, Brexit and EU-Turkey relations. In S. Gänzle, B. Leruth, & J. Trondal (Eds.), Differentiated Integration and Disintegration in a Post-Brexit Era (pp. 182–201). Abingdon: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780429026959

Cointe, B. (2021). The Project-ed Community. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook vol. 31, pp. 127–144). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Collier, D. (2011). Understanding process tracing. PS: Political Science & Politics, 44(4), 823–830. doi:10.1017/S1049096511001429

CORDIS. (2020a). BEYOND. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020b). ClusMED. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020c). H2020 WP2017-2018. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020d). IST-Africa 2012-13. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020e). IST-Africa 2016-2018. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020f). IST-Africa Initiative 2014-2015. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020g). MED-Dialogue. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2020h). MyOcean FO. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2021). CINEA. Retrieved from

CORDIS. (2022). SOIMON. Retrieved from

Davies, S. R. (2021). Atmospheres of science: Experiencing scientific mobility. Social Studies of Science, 51(2), 214–232. doi:10.1177/0306312720953520

Dehousse, R. (1997). Regulation by networks in the European Community: The role of European agencies. Journal of European Public Policy, 4(2), 246–261. doi:10.1080/13501769709696341

Drine, I. (2021). Climate Change Adds to Risks in North Africa. WIDER Angle. Helsinki: United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). Retrieved from

Feldman, M. S., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2011). Theorizing Practice and Practicing Theory. Organization Science, 22(5), 1240–1253. doi:10.1287/orsc.1100.0612

Fossum, J. E. (2015). Democracy and differentiation in Europe. Journal of European Public Policy, 22(6), 799–815.

Georgakakis, D. (2011). Don’t Throw Out the “Brussels Bubble” With the Bathwater: From EU Institutions To the Field of Eurocracy. International Political Sociology, 5(3), 331–334. doi:10.1111/j.1749-5687.2011.00137_2.x

Georgakakis, D., & Weisbein, J. (2010). From above and from below: A political sociology of European actors. Comparative European Politics, 8(1), 93–109. doi:10.1057/cep.2010.6

Gibson, C., Stutchbury, T., Ikutegbe, V., & Michielin, N. (2019). Challenge-led interdisciplinary research in practice: Program design, early career research, and a dialogic approach to building unlikely collaborations. Research Evaluation, 28(1), 51–62. doi:10.1093/reseval/rvy039

Glevarec, H. (2018). Du «capital culturel» au savoir: Critique des usages substantiels et cognitifs d’un rapport social arbitraire. Sociologie et Sociétés, 50(1), 205–234. doi:10.7202/1063697ar

Glevarec, H. (2020). La distinction n’est pas une différenciation. Recherches Sociologiques et Anthropologiques, 51(1). Retrieved from

Hamati-Ataya, I. (2012). IR Theory as International Practice/Agency: A Clinical-Cynical Bourdieusian Perspective. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40(3), 625–646. doi:10.1177/0305829812442234

Hansen, T. T. (2020). The Impacts of Academic Events: Cycle of Credibility as an Analytical Framework. Aalborg Universitet. Det Humanistiske Fakultet. Ph.D.-Serien. Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag. Retrieved from

Heilbron, J., Bedecarré, M., & Timans, R. (2017). European Journals in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 2(1), 33–49. doi:10.25364/11.2:2017.1.3

Heilbron, J., Bouncourt, T., Sapiro, G., Sorá, G., Karady, V., Brisson, T., Jeanpierre, L. (2017). Indicators of the Internationalization of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 2(1), 131–147. doi:10.25364/11.2:2017.1.8

Heilbron, J., Thibaud, B., & Timans, R. (2017). Understanding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Europe. Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 2(1), 1–9. doi:10.25364/11.2:2017.1.1

Hess, A. (2016). An Operation Called Comparison - Some Critical Observations. Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 1, 89–92. doi:10.7146/serendipities.v1i1.122880

Holst, C., & Molander, A. (2020). Epistemic Worries about Economic Expertise. In J. Bátora & J. E. Fossum (Eds.), Towards a Segmented European Political Order: The European Union’s Post-crises Conundrum (pp. 72–92). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781351024341

Jarke, J. (2021). Community Template? Considering the Role of Templates for Enacting Membership in Digital Communities of Practice. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, vol .31, pp. 183–204). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Juncos, A. E. (2018). Resilience in peacebuilding: Contesting uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity. Contemporary Security Policy, 39(4), 559–574. doi:10.1080/13523260.2018.1491742

Kauppi, N. (2003). Bourdieu’s political sociology and the politics of European integration. Theory and Society, 32, 775–789. doi:10.1023/B:RYSO.0000004919.28417.7c

Keukeleire, S., Lecocq, S., & Volpi, F. (2020). Decentring Norms in EU Relations with the Southern Neighbourhood. Journal of Common Market Studies, 1–18. doi:10.1111/jcms.13121

Lueg, K. (2018). The internationalization of higher education in Europe: a discussion of English as a medium of instruction and its implications for (in)equalities. Culture, Practice & Europeanization, 3(1), 47–67. Retrieved from

Maesschalck, M. (2001). La réduction du contexte chez Bourdieu et Habermas. Revue Philosophique de Louvain, 99(2), 254–290. doi:10.2143/RPL.99.2.634

Mahoney, J. (2012). The Logic of Process Tracing Tests in the Social Sciences. Sociological Methods and Research, 41(4), 570–597. doi:10.1177/0049124112437709

Matthies, H., & Torka, M. (2019). Academic Habitus and Institutional Change: Comparing Two Generations of German Scholars. Minerva, 57(3), 345–371. doi:10.1007/s11024-019-09370-9

Mérand, F., Hofmann, S. C., & Irondelle, B. (2010). Transgovernmental Networks in European Security and Defence Policy. European Integration Online Papers, 14(5), 1–19.

MICAfrica. (2021). University of Sfax. Retrieved from

Milzow, K., Reinhardt, A., Söderberg, S., & Zinöcker, K. (2019). Understanding the use and usability of research evaluation studies. Research Evaluation, 28(1), 94–107.

Mu, G. M. (2020). Chinese Education and Pierre Bourdieu: Power of Reproduction and Potential for Change. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 52(12), 1249–1255. doi:10.1080/00131857.2020.1778195

Paasi, M. (2010). European Research Area (ERA) From hte Innovation Perspective: Knowledge Spillovers, Cost of Inventing and Voluntary Cooperation (EUI Working Papers No. 40). Florence: European University Institute. Retrieved from

Parlar Dal, E. (2013). Assessing Turkey’s “Normative” Power in the Middle East and North Africa Region: New Dynamics and their Limitations. Turkish Studies, 14(4), 709–734. doi:10.1080/14683849.2013.861113

Pudelko, B. (2012). Habitus et compétences incorporées: regards croisés sur « logique pratique » des pratiques enseignantes. Phronesis, 1(3), 69–83. doi:10.7202/1012564ar

Punton, Melanie, and Welle, K. (2015). Centre for Development Impact Smoking Guns: What can Process Tracing Offer to Impact Evaluation ? (CDI Practice Paper No. 10). Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. Retrieved from

Raimbault, B., & Joly, P.-B. (2021). The Emergence of Technoscientific Fields and the New Political Sociology of Science. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, col. 31, pp. 85–106). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Roehrkasten, S., & Quitzow, R. (2016). Advancing an International Energy Transition Policy in North Africa and Beyond (IASS Policy Brief No. 4). Potsdam: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. Retrieved from

Roelofs, S., Edwards, N., Viehbeck, S., & Anderson, C. (2019). Formative, embedded evaluation to strengthen interdisciplinary team science: Results of a 4-year, mixed methods, multi-country case study. Research Evaluation, 28(1), 37–50. doi:10.1093/reseval/rvy023

Saga, M. L. (2019). Experts at Networking ? The Constrained Influence of Experts in Norwegian Policy-Networks (ARENA Report No. 7). Oslo: ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo. Retrieved from

Sbragia, A. M. (2002). The Dilemma of Governance with Government (Jean Monnet Working Paper No. 3). New York: New York University School of Law. Retrieved from

Schikowitz, A. (2021). Being a “Good Researcher” in Transdisciplinary Research: Choreographies of Identity Work Beyond Community. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, vol. 31, pp. 225–245). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Schindler, S., & Wille, T. (2019). How Can We Criticize International Practices? International Studies Quarterly, 63(4), 1014–1024. doi:10.1093/isq/sqz057

Scholten, W., Franssen, T. P., Drooge, L. Van, Rijcke, S. De, & Hessels, L. K. (2021). Funding for few, anticipation among all: Effects of excellence funding on academic research groups. Science and Public Policy, 1–11. doi:10.1093/scipol/scab018

Schumacher, T. (2018). The EU, Middle Eastern Powers and Milieu-Shaping in the ‘Shared’ Arab Mediterranean Neighbourhood: A Story of Mutual Neglect. Contemporary Politics, 24(1), 46–64. doi:10.1080/13569775.2017.1408170

Schunz, S. (2016). Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy - towards a research programme. In S. Gstöhl & S. Schunz (Eds.), Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy (pp. 267–282). London: Routledge.

Schunz, S., Gstöhl, S., & Van Langenhove, L. (2018). Between Cooperation and Competition: Major Powers in Shared Neighbourhoods. Contemporary Politics, 24(1), 1–13. doi:10.1080/13569775.2017.1408174

Senocak, N. S. (2018). The Perception of the EU Cultural and Science Diplomacy in Turkey (EL-CSID Working Paper No. 14). European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID). Retrieved from

Shih, T. (2020). Managing Internationalization in a Complex Research Landscape. International Higher Education, (103), 11–12. Retrieved from!/action/getPdfOfArticle/articleID/2974/productID/29/filename/article-id-2974.pdf

Šime, Z. (2021a). European Union Science Diplomacy in the Southern Neighbourhood: Mapping the Field and Plurality of Resilience-Builders (EU Diplomacy Paper No. 8). Bruges: College of Europe. Retrieved from

Šime, Z. (2021b). Mediterranean Lasagne of Migration Governance: What is the Way Forward for the Regions in Governance the Euromestic Sphere? An EU-Centric Perspective. Bruges: United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS). Retrieved from Migration Governance Regionalism European Union

Simões, A., Carneiro, A., & Diogo, M. P. (2017). Earth Sciences and History in the Work of Correia Da Serra (1751-1823). Varia Historia, Belo Horizonte (Vol. 33). The Scientific Electronic Library Online - SciELO. doi:10.1590/0104-87752017000300005

Spurling, N. (2009). Becoming and Being: University Reform, Biography and the Everyday Practice of Sociologists (Working Papers on University Reform No. 10). Aarhus: Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus. Retrieved from

Tampakis, K. (2016). The Science of Practice and the Practice of Science: Pierre Bourdieu and the History of Science. Sociology Compass, 10(9), 813–822. doi:10.1111/soc4.12402

Trampusch, C., & Palier, B. (2016). Between X and Y: how process tracing contributes to opening the black box of causality. New Political Economy, 21(5), 437–454. doi:10.1080/13563467.2015.1134465

Trondal, J., & Kühn, N. (2020). Governing “post-Brexit” Europe and the case of Norway Integration without membership in an affiliated state. In S. Gänzle, B. Leruth, & J. Trondal (Eds.), Differentiated Integration and Disintegration in a Post-Brexit Era (pp. 164–181). Abingdon: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780429026959

Trondal, J., Murdoch, Z., & Geys, B. (2015). Representative Bureaucracy and the Role of Expertise in Politics. Politics and Governance, 3(1), 26–36. doi:10.17645/pag.v3i1.65

Ulnicane, I. (2015a). Broadening Aims and Building Support in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy: The Case of the European Research Area. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 11(1), 31–49. Retrieved from

Ulnicane, I. (2021). Self-Organisation and Steering in International Research Collaborations. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, vol. 31, pp. 107–125). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Vanderstraeten, R., & Eykens, J. (2018). Communalism and Internationalism: Publication Norms and Structures in International Social Science. Serendipities: Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences, 1, 14–28. doi:10.25364/11.3:2018.1.2

von Wülfingen, B. B. (2021). “Big Interdisciplinarity”: Unsettling and Resettling Excellence. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, vol. 31, pp. 263–282). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Walakira, L. K., & Wright, S. (2017). The Mobile Academic: A Survey of Mobility Among Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Fellows (Working Papers on University Reform No. 25). Aarhus: Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. Retrieved from

Warren, J.-P. (2012). Le capital symbolique des médailles: Autour de l’histoire de la réception de la Légion d’honneur au Québec. Recherches Sociographiques, 53(1), 63–82. doi:10.7202/1008919ar

Wolf, M. (2014). “Prompt, at any time of the day…”: the Emerging Translatorial Habitus in the Late Habsburg Monarchy. Meta, 58(3), 504–521. doi:10.7202/1025048ar

Wylie, C. D. (2021). The Epistemic Importance of Novices: How Undergraduate Students Contribute to Engineering Laboratory Communities. In K. Kastenhofer & S. Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds.), Community and Identity in Contemporary Technosciences (Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, vol. 31, pp. 145–162). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61728-8

Zelnio, R. (2012). Identifying the global core-periphery structure of science. Scientometrics, 91, 601–615. doi:10.1007/s11192-011-0598-0

Zolberg, V. L. (1989). Sociologie et sociétés Le Musée des Beaux-Arts , entre la culture et le public: Barrière ou facteur de nivellement? Sociologie et Sociétés, 21(2), 75–90. doi:10.7202/001847ar






Social Evolution of Europe