The Institute of International Affairs places much emphasis on increasing research focused specifically on international affairs, small state studies and issues related to the Arctic. The Institute, as well as the Centre for Small State Studies and Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, cooperate extensively with foreign scholars and research centres.
In the years 2009-2012 the Institute of International Affairs participated in the international project EU4SEAS. The main goal of the project was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the sub-regional multilateralism (notion and practice) in the four maritime basins (Mediterranean, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas) as a specific approach for the EU in handling relations with those spaces. EU4SEAS examined the development of sub-regional cooperation in its specific contexts as well as the EU’s impact on it.
The Centre for Small State Studies was awarded a Centre of Excellence grant from the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme in 2013. The Centre for Small State Studies will thus become a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the next three years. In regard to the grant, the Centre will focus on three specific projects. Firstly, to strengthen interdisciplinary research and teaching on European integration, the European Union and the European Economic Area. Secondly, to establish an international school on small states, their public administration and their position within the European Union. Thirdly, to publish an Icelandic textbook on European integration for high school and university students. In addition, the Centre will continue organising various meetings and conferences, as well as publications, on European affairs. The Centre of Excellence grant is a great acknowledgement of the work done by the Centre for Small State Studies, which has specialised in the position of small states in Europe. The establishment of a Centre of Excellence is a continuation of previous acknowledgements that the Centre has recieved, such as grants from the Lifelong Learning Programme to organise a Small States Summer School for the last 12 years, as well as grants to develop teaching in European Studies led by Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science, in collaboration with the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland. Those involved in the application, in addition to professor Thorhallsson, were Pia Hansson, Director of the Centre for Small State Studies, Guðmundur Hálfdánarson, Professor of History, Ómar H. Kristmundsson, Professor of Public Administration, Alyson Bailes, Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and Maximilian Conrad, Lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science. In addition, the Centre received a special grant to host an international conference on governance in small states and the challenges they face in the international community.