Giving Grants, Making History: Five decades of European funding for historical research (1970-present)

Start - End 
2018 - 2023 (ongoing)
Department of History
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Additional tags 
sociology of knowledge
European Union
theory of history



Over the past fifty years, funding agencies have come to occupy a central place in academic knowledge-production. As distributors of money, power, and prestige, funding agencies can nowadays change fields, careers, and institutions. Giving Grants, Making History: Five decades of European funding for historical research (1970-present) analyzes this growing importance of funding by addressing what the rise of European Union funding has meant for the discipline of history since the 1970s. Which kind of histories, historians, and historical institutions have been sponsored by the European Union? Who are the so-called winners and losers in this story? And which idea(l)s about good and bad historical knowledge have been implicit in these funding decisions? This dissertation lifts the lid on evaluations, evaluators, and decisions within EU milieux. As such it provides a unique view into the behind the scenes of European-level funding for history. Analyzing both European policy-oriented research programmes, the European Science Foundation, and the European Research Council, this is the first comprehensive history of how this supranational institution became a crucial influence on what it means to be a professional historian today.

The PhD project is carried out by Marie-Gabrielle Verbergt (Ghent University) and supervised by Prof. dr. Berber Bevernage and Prof. dr. Frederik Buylaert with support from the FWO - Research Foundation Flanders (2018-2023). For this project, Marie-Gabrielle has received additional support from the Historical Archives of the European Union with a Postgraduate Vibeke Sørensen Grant (2021) to consult the archives of the European Science Foundation at the European University Institute in Florence. She has also received a travel grants from the Commission Scientific Research of the Ghent University Faculty of Arts for research stay at Leiden University (with Herman Paul) in February-March 2022 and at Roskilde University (with Kristoffer Kropp) in March-April 2023. The defense of the dissertation is planned in the Spring of 2024.




Phd Student(s)