»THESEUS – creating a European society« is a joint program of the Jean Monnet Professorship at the University of Cologne, the Centre d’études européennes of the University of Sciences Po in Paris, the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) in Brussels and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The program is dedicated to fostering the process of European society/societies growing together and supports the transnational scholarly discourse. It is directed by Prof. Wolfgang Wessels, holder of the Jean Monnet Professorship at the Research Institute for Political Science and European Issues at the University of Cologne.

Since its inception in 2007, THESEUS has grown into an important network for common reflection over European challenges by research and policy. More than 500 scholars, experts, policy-makers, civil servants and junior researchers have taken part in project events.

More than fifty years after the signing of the Treaties of Rome, the perspectives and perceptions of European policy at times still diverge considerably in the member states of the European Union. There moreover appears to still be deficits in understanding between societies. Not least the debates accompanying the Euro crisis demonstrate that the process of opinion-formation in Europe often ends at national borders. This is also to be witnessed in the field of science and research as well. Everyday research still devotes too few resources to seeking an exchange of ideas with knowledge communities and political decision-makers of other European states. In spite of a large number of important initiatives, this also goes for Germany and France, even though both countries in tandem remain important sources of impetus for European projects.

THESEUS' objective is to encourage an open, constructive dialogue between scholars and policy-makers over future challenges for Europe. Conceived as a Franco-German initiative, THESEUS seeks to promote mutual understanding between European societies. As a result of their key role in European policy, France and Germany are at the heart of project activities, which take place all over Europe. The states of Central and Eastern Europe and changing living conditions in an expanded Union have also become an important parameter for the work of the program over the last few years, however.

Junior researchers and leaders from all over Europe get together each year at THESEUS seminars for junior European leaders to analyse current challenges facing Europe.

The THESEUS Guest Professorship at the University of Cologne in cooperation with the Faculty for Economic and Social Sciences welcomes a renowned French scholar each semester. Teaching and research by this guest professor always addresses a dimension of European integration as a focal point. The guest professorship is also intended to strengthen scholarly cooperation in Europe and make it possible for German students to gain insight into other scholarly cultures.

THESEUS conferences offer scholars and decision-makers from the fields of policy and society a forum in which to exchange and compare ideas. The conferences analyse developments in European policy with a special focus on global challenges.

The THESEUS Prize for Promising Research on European Integration is awarded for excellent research work by a junior scholar in the area of research on European integration.

Additional information on the program can be found in the following brochures:

European leadership in challenging times - academia & politics in dialogue
Published by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation – Hildesheim etc.: Olms, 2012. 97 pages (THESEUS – establishing a European society)

Which way forward? Present challenges, strategic choices and future perspectives of the EU. Published by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. – Hildesheim usw.: Olms, 2013. 170 pages (THESEUS –establishing a European society)

We will send you this brochures at your request free of charge.

Current information:


Dipl.-Vw. Mirja Schröder
Jean Monnet Lehrstuhl Prof. W. Wessels
Universität zu Köln
Gottfried-Keller Str. 6
50931 Köln
E-mail: mirja.schroeder@uni-koeln.de