Tallinn University (TLU), leading the project, is the fastest developing university in Estonia, a country located at the margins of historic empires, with borders that have recently metamorphosed from the historic Iron Curtain into the EU, NATO and Schengen external borders. Estonia is the first country to offer e-residency and operate a data embassy, making it a breeding ground for discussions on bordering issues yet to emerge. TLU is thus well-positioned to investigate new issues arising from the paradoxical proliferation concurrently of both border walls and trans-national virtual flows and emerging spatialities.
The School of Humanities, hosting the project, has TLU’s largest faculty and robust research traditions with several interdisciplinary research centres. Its Centre for Landscape and Culture, home for most of the project’s TLU researchers, uniquely merges different disciplines/fields such as geography, anthropology, political science, history, semiotics/philosophy, sociology, migration and border studies. The School of Humanities also hosts the CLUster on Bordering (CLUB), recently launched to bring together researchers at TLU and the visiting staff and students working on Asian borderlands.
The University of Eastern Finland’s (UEF) Karelian Institute (KI) is among the world’s leading multidisciplinary research units. KI supports the study of the historical change and various peripheral borderlands, the consequences of both European integration and developments in Russia, and the practical challenges of cross-border interaction. Its VERA Centre for Russian and Border Studies hosts this project, while its Borders, Mobilities and Cultural Encounters strategic research area and the Spatia – Centre for Regional Research provide further support. KI has coordinated numerous international large-scale research consortia in which its scholars have played significant roles in several projects. Since 2007, the departments associated with the Centre have carried out 30 large-scale research projects on borders and border areas, focusing on Europe’s territorial borderlands, integration, neighbourhood and security at peripheral regions and the EU external borders with Russia. Importantly, UEF/KI is a long-time leader of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS), the leading international scholarly association dedicated exclusively to the systematic interchange of ideas and information relating to international border areas.
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is world-renowned for studying mobility and migration across Asian and European borders and critically interrogating the construction of contemporary world regions in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia. For example, Willem van Schendel’s research, paradigmatic for Asian borderlands, has, in particular, dislocated much of the earlier understandings, introduced a new look at borderlands through more globally oriented approaches and precipitated a wave of studies on the mobility of people, ideas, capital and goods in Asian borderlands. The UvA staff involved in the project (Tina Harris and Willem van Schendel) are among the initiators and organizers of Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN) and its conferences, and are the editors of Amsterdam University Press’s Asian Borderlands Book Series.
UvA is consistently ranked among the world’s best universities in global rankings—a top 100 university in the Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings.