Research at the Department of Political Science – University of Copenhagen

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Research

In a world that is getting ever more complex, it is essential to be able to understand, explain, and predict issues which – also in the future – will have an impact on our society. At the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, we conduct research into social issues from both a national and an international perspective. This research will contribute to solving such complex issues.

Our expertise covers a range of disciplines – including disciplines of such diversity that, elsewhere in the world, they would be allocated their own separate departments. Our research activities are organised in different research centres and groups whose subject areas intersect and overlap. This opens up unique opportunities for collaborating and combining approaches and methods. Combining core subjects within political science with other areas of research, therefore, is an intrinsic part of the Department’s DNA and it serves to promote a pluralistic research environment where we aim to combine, experiment, and develop.

Our research specifically impacts on the way we organise our society, how we solve common issues, and how we perceive the future. To illustrate, this is an extract of our recent research projects: the Images and International Security research project was launched in 2014 with the aim of contributing theoretical and empirical insight into why and how images influence international relations. In 2014 Centre for Results, Effects, Measurement, and Evaluation initiated another research project which set out to investigate citizens’ experience of public welfare and the implications this has for public management. A third research project from Centre for Voting and Parties examine the impact of rising immigration on the social cohesion in Denmark. Further, Centre for Military Studies have contributed knowledge and analyses on an on-going basis to the Ministry of Defence’s decision-making process on the procurement of new fighter aircraft.

A recent research evaluation concludes that the Department is one of the ‘best research environments in Europe with pioneering research of international standard in all aspects of core political science and international politics’. At the same time, the Department is commended for its emphasis on theoretical and methodical pluralism which, according to the evaluation, creates a ‘fertile environment for theoretical and methodical innovation, essential to bring about scientific and social impact’. Especially the concept ‘impact’ neatly expresses the theoretical background for our research: we want to conduct research that makes a difference – research that contributes to solving the basic problems in society with an impact on academic as well as public life.