The grant is intended to fund a five-year research project, which will explore the impact of the increasingly illiberal government of the Russian Federation on the doctrine of international law and its application.
The research project will focus on fundamental issues of international law and also on some of its more specific fields, such as the implementation of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and international maritime law. The principal question to be answered by the project is whether international law governing relations between Russia and the West has preserved its universality and uniformity, or whether these have, to a certain extent, been replaced by a particular regional interpretation.
According to Kristjan Haller, UT Vice Rector for Research, the grant is a serious recognition of both the university and Estonia. “The competition for ERC research grants is intense, which is why receiving one is a great honour to the University of Tartu and an important event for Estonia as a whole,” said Kristjan Haller.
Professor Mälksoo explained the background of this historic opportunity, “The international law scholars from the Baltic region served as an intellectual bridge between Russia and the West already in the 19th century. We hope that this project will help us rejuvenate this tradition.”
Vice Rector Haller expressed his satisfaction with the fact that it was an Estonian social scientist to whom the ERC decided to award its grant. “This international recognition is evidence of the progress made in social sciences in Estonia.This particular project will make good use of our dual competence in the field, since it relates to both our eastern neighbour and Western law. It is wonderful that in that particular niche, where we have great potential to excel in the world, we have now finally achieved a significant breakthrough,” said Haller.
Three scholars from the University of Tartu will participate in the the research project led by Professor Mälksoo. In addition to them, three PhD students will also be involved in the project to explore specific research questions. According to Professor Mälksoo, initial results of the research conducted as part of the project should be published in two years’ time.