Differentiation: Clustering Excellence (DiCE) is a Horizon2020-funded project, which started in January 2020 and will run for three years. Its main objective is to ensure that state-of-the-art research on differentiation is translated into policy advice and made accessible to policy-makers at European, national and regional levels. The ultimate goal is to better prepare the EU for various scenarios of differentiation; ‘differentiation’ describes the process where some member states decide to move ahead together on some policy areas, while others do not.
DiCE, as a Coordination and Support Action, aims to create a unique cluster of excellence by bringing together, through their coordinators, the three successful H2020 projects on differentiation: EU Differentiation, Dominance and Democracy (EU3D), Integrating Diversity in the European Union (InDivEU), and EU Integration and Differentiation for Effectiveness and Accountability (EU IDEA). These projects collectively constitute an unparalleled critical mass of scholars on differentiation.
DiCE is coordinated by the Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute in a consortium of five prestigious academic institutions and organisations and will pool the research and experience on differentiation of 38 partner institutions from across Europe, involving more than 50 leading scholars and including universities, think tanks and media.
DiCE aims to foster the link between research and policy by establishing a dynamic and inclusive network of stakeholders on differentiation, open to academic and non-academic experts, policy-makers and others, expanding beyond the existing consortia of the project cluster. It also aims to provide the basis for a long-term involvement of those in the network and beyond in activities related to differentiation beyond the lifetime of the project and its three constituting parts.
The project will undertake a comprehensive stocktaking and synthesis of research in order to provide a complete picture on this complex subject. The outcome of this work will be illustrated in a ‘Differentiation Manual’, and presented in a ‘Differentiation Portal’. This will include extensive information on academic publications and experts across the continent.
DiCE will map, synthesize and develop future scenarios on differentiation across a selection of policy areas and test them. The project will provide decision-makers with an understanding of uncertain future(s) with the objective of stimulating the EU’s capacity and resilience. Its communication and dissemination activities play a major role in achieving the project’s goals. In fact, DiCE will not only synthesize and exploit the results of InDivEU, EU3D and EU IDEA projects, but also increase their output’s dissemination and communication towards the community of scholars, policy-makers and civil society, thereby leveraging the full potential of excellence.
Thanks to the unique nature of its consortium, DiCE can count on a broad and geographically relevant outreach. The 38 partner institutions of the three cluster projects are located in 19 countries, of which 14 EU Member States and five affiliated countries (Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey). DiCE’s outreach is further amplified by the comprehensive research and policy network provided by Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), present in 37 European countries. The geographical scope of DiCE is illustrated in Figure 1.
European University Institute (EUI), Italy
Arena Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo (UiO), Norway
International Affairs Institute (I.A.I.), Italy
Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), Belgium
University of Exeter (UNEXE), UK
The DiCE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870789.