The Transfer Projekt T3 is a joint project between SFB 700 and the German Federal Foreign Office to extract the main foreign-policy implications emanating from years of basic research at SFB 700. Fragile states or areas of limited statehood have become ever more pertinent to German foreign policy, not least since the recent emergence of conflicts and crises in the European neighborhood. Foreign policy is increasingly engaged in these areas, employing means beyond the traditional arsenal of diplomacy which aim at fostering peace and security and ensuring the actual provision of governance services. The research conducted at SFB 700 allows for critical reflections on the conditions for and effects of German foreign policy in fragile environments and thus for developing its toolbox to better fit these contexts. At the same time, the research community at SFB 700 benefits from the practitioners’ perspectives and feedback as part of a structured exchange between academia and policy.
The German Foreign Office has recently reformed its internal organization to create a new ‘Department for Civilian Crisis Prevention, Stabilization, Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Aid’ (Abteilung S). The academic staff of the T3 project is affiliated with Abteilung S and works with officials on a daily base, thus establishing close and trust-based modes of cooperation between academia and policy practice, which may serve as a model for future projects.
The Transfer Project provides conceptual input and conducts trainings for the Foreign Office. The conceptual contributions follow three main themes: rule of law promotion, security sector reform (SSR) and conditions for effective stabilization. Each theme reflects a different cross-cutting research topic at the SFB 700. For each of these topics, the T3 projects sponsors a Scholar in Residence to work within the Foreign Office for six months. He or she is supported by the core team consisting of three permanent research fellows.
The close cooperation at the working level allows our project team to tailor the conceptual contributions to the needs of our colleagues at the Foreign Office and for critical exchange with the actual users of academic expertise. Some recent examples of the conceptual contributions include the “Tool Box Rule of Law Promotion”, a questionnaire for designing SSR projects and guidelines to measure the impact of stabilization projects.
T3 is furthermore disseminating research results through training activities at the Foreign Office. In the last two years, T3 has organized, amongst others, an inter-agency training for young professionals as well as a pre-deployment training for diplomatic posts in fragile states. In addition, SFB 700 and the Foreign Office are regularly co-hosting public events on issues relating to foreign policy in areas of limited statehood in order to facilitate a meaningful exchange with a broader public audience.