Walton Institute at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recently launched a 24-month project dedicated to the support of strengthening transatlantic relations between the European Union and the Unites States.

The main objective is to establish a mutually beneficial collaboration platform between EU and US civil society organisations (CSOs) and dialogues on seven vital policy areas in EU-US relations. The seven policy areas include climate change, particularly the European Green Deal, energy, circular economy and biodiversity, digital economy, trade and investment, democracy and transparency and regulatory cooperation.

TRACK-STAR, which stands for TRAnsatlantic Civil society dialogues with Key policy STAkeholdeRs, is funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. The three partner institutions in the project are: Waterford Institute of Technology (Ireland), James Madison University (USA), and the Lares Institute (USA).

James Clarke, EU Liaison Manager in Walton Institute, and project coordinator, outlines the project aspirations to reinvigorate and support transatlantic policy dialogues regarding economic policy, environmental policy, and the promotion of resilient democratic governance. “This two-year project will provide a mutually beneficial collaboration platform between EU and US CSOs to stimulate policy dialogue in EU-US relations at this opportunistic moment in time.” Clarke continues.

Welcoming the launch of this unique project to the Walton Institute is its co-directors, Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam and Kevin Doolin, “the timing of this EU – US project is particularly important as we evolved to a research Institute in March 2021. A key objective of the Institute is to develop and expand our existing cooperation with international partners, especially with partners in the United States. The TRACK-STAR project fully dovetails into the Walton Institute’s internationalisation strategy and we as Directors are excited by the opportunities this will enable.”

Ms. Sinead Day, International Affairs Manager in WIT, also welcomed the addition of this project to WIT’s research portfolio adding “the Office for International Relations has been actively encouraging collaborations with United States’ institutions for many years and have recently been awarded three European ERASMUS+ projects for student and staff mobilities, specifically with the United States, which is a priority international education area for WIT and Irish Higher Education.”

Core outputs of TRACK-STAR will include strategic policy recommendations for US and EU officials in late 2022 with the aim of facilitating dialogues to increase understanding of European, US, and transatlantic efforts and improve feedback loops linking society with policymakers.