Introducing the Center for Comparative and International Studies Zurich, Switzerland (CIS)

CIS ZurichThe Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) is a joint research and teaching center of ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and the University of Zurich. Launched in 1997, it has developed into a leading European center of excellence in the area of political science and today claims approximately twenty professors and research groups with roughly 150 PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and other scientific and administrative staff.

Research at CIS concentrates on five broad themes, namely Democracy, Markets and Politics, Political Violence, Sustainable Development and Security Studies. Among other research activities, CIS acts as the leading house for a large, multidisciplinary research program, the National Center of Competence in Research “Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century” (NCCR Democracy). This program examines the impact of globalization, supranationalization and European integration on the capacity and legitimacy of the nation-state and representative democracy and explores the ways in which democratic institutions are able to adapt to settings beyond the nation-state.

CIS offers a series teaching programs: an undergraduate BA program in Political Science (at the University of Zurich), two Master’s programs (the joint MACIS program and a Master in Political Science at the University of Zurich), and various doctoral programs at ETH Zurich and the University. CIS regularly hosts workshops, colloquia and conferences that bring together scholars from around the world.

EU-related research is conducted in many of the CIS research groups. The European Politics research group headed by Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig carries out research on European integration, with a focus on institutional development, democratization, and policy-making in the EU. Past and current research projects have spanned the enlargement of the EU, its impact on current and prospective member states, the constitutionalization and democratization of the EU, EU democracy promotion, compliance with EU law, and differentiated integration in Europe. In addition, the Comparative Politics group of Prof. Daniele Caramani has done research on the Europeanization of electorates and party systems, and Prof. Stefanie Walter is conducting a research project on the financial crisis in Europe, to name just a few examples.

CIS Director: Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig

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