Skip to Content


Previous Research at the CIBR

The Centre for International Borders Research initiates, supports and publishes work on topics including border communities, cross-border co-operation, policy networks and governance, territorial management and ethnic and cultural boundaries.

CIBR is a research-active interdisciplinary centre whose members have led and participated in a range of large-scale transnational research projects, some of which are summarised here.

EU Dimensions, Civil Society Co-operation across external borders of EU: 2006-2009 - Liam O’Dowd, Bohdana Dimitrovova and James Anderson were involved in this EU Sixth Framework Project. CIBR was one of ten European partners in the project co-ordinated by James Scott, IRS, Berlin. CIBR’s share of the total grant is €120,000 euros.

Social and Cultural Life on the Irish Border: Hastings Donnan and Kirk Simpson conducted a two-year research project on the history of social and cultural life along the Irish border, focusing particularly on counties Armagh and Monaghan. Data are being collected through archival research, collection of life histories and contemporary survey and ethnographic research. The project began in February 2004 and extends research originally carried out along the border in an EU-funded project directed by Hastings Donnan.

Kirk Simpson graduated from Queen's University in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Politics and Modern History. After gaining a PGCE (Politics) in 1999 at Queen's, Kirk studied for a PhD at the Graduate School of Education, QUB. He graduated in 2002 with a PhD in citizenship education in Northern Ireland. He then became a Research Fellow at the School of Anthropological Studies, QUB, working with Professor Hastings Donnan on a project on social and cultural relations along the Irish border. Kirk's research interests include citizenship and concepts of identity in Northern Ireland; qualitative methods; and the political and social history of post-partition Ireland.

Mapping Frontiers, Crossing Borders: Routes to north/south co-operation in a divided island: CIBR was a major participant in a consortium involving researchers at University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Cross-Border Studies, Armagh and Democratic Dialogue. The project is aimed at examining the intended and unintended consequences of the Irish border since its inception in 1920 with a view to identifying pathways for promoting cross-border contact, co-operation and mutual understanding on the island. Overall funding for the project is c.€600,000 over a two-year period. The EU Peace and Reconciliation Programme (Peace 2) has funded the project via the Higher Education Authority in Dublin.

The project consists of three parts, each one involving researchers from both Universities:

  • A comparative study of the creation of the Irish border in the context of partition as a mechanism for resolving ethnic and national conflict.
  • The evolution and consolidation of the Irish border as a social divide, focusing on political and administrative institutions, the impact of violent conflict and cross-border interaction in economic and cultural fields.
  • The new opportunities for cross-border contact and co-operation in the context of EU membership, British-Irish inter-governmental co-operation and, most recently, the arrangements associated with the Good Friday Agreement. Cross-border projects since the late 1980s will be mapped, a series of in-depth case studies will probe different forms of co-operation and comparisons will be made with cross-border co-operation in other parts of the EU.

Conflict in Cities and the Contested State: Everyday life and the possibilities for transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and other divided cities: CIBR researchers have been awarded a £1.1 million grant to study divided world cities including Belfast as part of a five-year £3.2 million grant awarded by the Economic and Social Research Centre. Entitled Conflict in Cities and the Contested State, the Queens' team led by Professor Liam O'Dowd, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, and James Anderson, now Emeritus Professor of Political Geography, share a multi-disciplinary project that also involves the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

Borders in Globalization (BIG) project ( Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, BIG is an innovative, integrative, and sustainable network of academic partners from Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, which is engaged with non-academic organizations that are involved in the management of borders and borderlands in Canada and worldwide. The basic goal is to build excellence in the knowledge and understanding of borders.  To this end, the partners will work together to create new policy and foster knowledge transfer in order to address such globalization forces as security, trade and migration flows, and also to understand the forces of technology, self-determination and regionalization that are affecting borders and borderlands in regions around the world.

BIG is directed by Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly from the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Victor Konrad at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) co-directs the project. There are ten university partners in Canada: Carleton, école Nationale d’Administration Publique, Lethbridge, Ottawa, Regina, RMCC, Sherbrooke, Trent, Université du Québec à Montréal, and Wilfrid Laurier; and eleven from around the world, including Queen's University Belfast: Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), Ben-Gurion University (Israel), Radboud University (The Netherlands), University of Eastern Finland, Université de Grenoble (France), University of Luxembourg, University of Southern Denmark, The University at Buffalo (SUNY), and Western Washington University. The stakeholder partners with CIBR for the case of the Ireland/UK border are the Centre for Cross-Border Studies and Cooperation Ireland.

Other Research Projects

2003 - O’Dowd, L. (with C.McCall) From Peace I to Peace II: EU-sponsored Third Sector Co-operation across the Irish Border (Funder: Third Sector Programme of Royal Irish Academy, value: €45,000).

2002-5 - Wilson, T. M. European Union Fifth Framework Support Grant [Project acronym EUBORDCONF], to support a three year research project in Northern Ireland, on policy-makers and conflict resolution at the Northern Ireland border, as part of a six-country comparative project, on The European Union and Border Conflict: The Impact of Integration and Association. Coordinators of the Ireland research: Dr. Antje Wiener and Dr. Thomas M. Wilson [Project funding share, Northern Ireland, €90,000, out of a Total Project Fund of €990,000. Project Director: Dr. Thomas Diez, University of Birmingham].

2001-3 - Donnan, H. Sports Council of Northern Ireland, £77,000 to work on border crossing sports migrants and their impact on sport in Northern Ireland

2001 - Wilson, T. M. Leverhulme Research Fellowship, (Reference RF&G/7/RFG/2000/0323), to support one year field research on Europeanization at the Northern Ireland Border.

2001 - Wilson, T. M. The British Academy Research Grant [Reference SG-31933], for project Europeanization in the Northern Ireland Borderlands, May to December 2001.

2001 Wilson, T. M. The Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, Program on Sociocultural Research on MERCOSUR, awarded by the Institute of Social and Economic Development, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May to June 2001.

1997-2001 Donnan, H. European Union, Framework Four, €315,000 to work on borders and social exclusion, with universities of Aegean, Lisbon, Trieste, Corsica and Malaga, 1997 to June 2001

2000 Svašek, M. Dynamics of Politics and Emotions in Border Areas: Discourses of 'home' and 'homeland' among migrants and expellees.

2000 Svašek, M. Property, Power and Politics: Changing Property Relations in West Bohemia.

1997-1999 Svašek, M. Post-doctoral research in the Czech Republic and Germany entitled Social Differentiation, Euregional Integration, and the Impact of Globalising Forces on Identity Formation in the Czech-German Euregion Egrensis.

Postgraduate Research

Ivo Damkat
Ph.D Candidate
School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, QUB
Thesis title: Discourses of Cross-border Co-operation in Ireland

Jaume Castan Pinos
Ph. D Candidate
School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, QUB
Thesis title: 'Globalisation, Europeanization and Islam:
the new challenges for the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla’