Call for Applications: CATS Project Funding 2024/2025

The Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, aims to strengthen research cooperation between European and Turkish institutions working on Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy, and acts as curator of the CATS Network. As part of this endeavour, CATS offers funding for policy-oriented research projects.

For the funding year 2024/25, CATS is offering research grants for the following topics:

Topic 1: What is Turkey’s role in the multiple crises in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

Possible research questions include:

  • In a region of often interconnected armed conflicts, what are the implications of Turkish arms sales and cooperation for regional stability and alliance-building in the MENA? What leverage does Turkey gain from it? How do Turkey’s aspirations to a role as regional mediator relate to its defence industry ambitions? 
  • The security landscape of the MENA region has changed in the past decade. Does Turkey have a grand strategy to navigate these changes? How do the Turkish ruling elites perceive the changing security landscape in the MENA? What are their regional threat perceptions, in particular in relation to the war in Gaza and other armed conflicts surrounding the Eastern Mediterranean?
  • Iran-Turkey relations are shaped by cooperation and rivalry. How might the new dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean, as underlined by the new phase in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, affect Turkey-Iran relations? How could their rivalry and cooperation play out in Iraq and Syria?  
  • How do the interests of Turkey and the EU overlap in the Mediterranean and the Middle East? To what extent can Turkey’s relations with Europe be harnessed for conflict resolution in the MENA? To what extent does Turkey’s regional policy create obstacles in its relations with the EU?

Topic 2: How does Turkey position itself in a changing global system?

Possible research questions include:

  • What is Turkey's vision for expanding its regional and global influence (often referred to as the “century of Turkey”)? How do these aspirations shape its foreign policy behaviour and relations with other powers?
  • How does Turkey’s foreign policy relate to the liberal rules-based international order, in particular concerning its relations with the United States, the European Union and NATO? What are the implications of great power competition and shifting global dynamics for Ankara’s positioning in this context?
  • What interests are shared between Turkey and Western powers, and where do they diverge? How can shared interests be better leveraged for mutual benefit? 
  • In what ways do Turkish public opinion, media coverage and a sense of being “taken for granted” by the West influence Ankara’s foreign policy decision-making? How do Turkey’s evolving economic, military and technological capabilities shape its pursuit of greater autonomy and influence on the regional and global stage? 

Topic 3: How do structural changes in the global economy affect economic ties between the EU and Turkey?

Possible research questions include:

  • Industrial policy is making a comeback – globally and in Europe. What kind of Turkish industrial upgrading is needed? How can individual sectors benefit from this development and be integrated into EU-Turkey economic relations?
  • What is Turkey’s potential for benefitting from technological and corporate reshoring in Europe and what does it take for Turkey to fulfil this potential? 
  • What is the potential for greater EU-Turkey cooperation on connectivity?
  • How can EU-Turkey economic and trade relations be insulated from autocratisation in Turkey and the overall deterioration of the EU-Turkey relationship?
  • What do capital inflows of non-Western origin mean for the trajectory of the Turkish economy and Turkey-EU economic relations? Can Gulf states, Russia or China replace economic relations with the EU? 

Topic 4: What do Turkey’s socio-political challenges mean for Europe-Turkey relations?

Possible research questions include:

  • How do socio-economic changes (such as access to education and health services, employment trends, labour migration and earthquake reconstruction) affect different constituencies in Turkish society? 
  • What specific ideological shifts and emerging trends have been observed among Turkish youth in recent years and what factors contribute to these changes? In what specific ways do economic factors such as employment prospects and income inequality impact the ideological perspectives of Turkish youth across different socio-economic and geographic backgrounds? 
  • How do significant European ideologies and movements, such as nationalism, liberalism, and green politics, affect the ideological outlooks of today’s Turkish youth, and how do these events contribute to broader social and political transformations in Turkey? How has the ongoing debate on Israel and Gaza impacted Turkish perceptions of “the West”?

Projects should foster transnational research and debate that reflects on European policy towards Turkey.The total funding on offer is approx. €270,000, capped at max. €75,000 per institution. We welcome collaborative projects.

Grants may cover costs for:

  • Personnel (a proportion of the salaries of staff of the applying institution)
  • Fees (for external experts and service providers)
  • Travel (transport, accommodation, etc.)
  • Events (including venue rental, catering, interpreting)
  • Publications

Grants do not cover infrastructure costs, fellowships, or the procurement of goods.

The funding period must start between 1 September and 1 November 2024. The maximum project duration is 12 months.

Applying institutions must be officially recognised as non-profit organisations (organisations that work for the public good). Selected institutions will be required to submit the necessary documents. The recipient of funding must be a legal person. SWP will act as the contract partner on behalf of CATS.

Beneficiaries must comply with our funding guidelines. The CATS team (cats@swp-berlin.org) can supply further information on the guidelines and regulations (e.g., max. hotel costs in specific countries/cities) and their administrative implementation. 

Applications must be submitted in the form of a single PDF document containing the following elements (in the specified order):

  • A written proposal (max. 5 pages; 2 cm margin, 1.5 spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font, including expected results and public outreach, excluding the items listed below);
  • A schedule; 
  • A list of persons involved, their responsibilities, and their CVs; 
  • A draft budget.

The selection criteria are: significance for policy advice, innovation, quality of the application, expected outputs, profiles of researchers involved, cost effectiveness and feasibility.

Applications will be evaluated by a panel consisting of CATS team members, other experts from SWP, and experts from CATS Network partner institutions that have not themselves applied for funding.

The deadline for application is 16 June 2024. Please send your application by email to CATS@swp-berlin.org. Incomplete applications will not be considered. For more information, please read our FAQs.

For more information about the CATS Network, please see the website: https://www.cats-network.eu/

As part of the application process, we will store and process the data you send us and share it with members of the jury that will consist of SWP employees and other members of the CATS Network. To ensure that you are fully aware of the collection, processing and use of your personal information, please read our Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with the processing of your data by SWP, you can object at any time by contacting cats@swp-berlin.org.

Please also note our data protection declarations for events and stored addresses at SWP at https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/data-protection/.