• General information

    The Institut des Frontières et Discontinuités (IFD, Institute of Borders and Discontinuities) is a cross-border academic network specialised in border studies, particularly in the Franco-Belgian cross-border region. It takes the form of a Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS, Scientific Interest Grouping) resulting from an agreement between 5 research units of 6 Belgian and French universities: Université Catholique de Louvain, Université d’Artois, Université du Littoral – Côte d’Opale, Université de Lille, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne and Université de Lorraine.

    Recognised by the official research authorities in both Belgium and France, the IFD facilitates the networking of researchers specialised in borders and their transformations, according to a multidisciplinary approach of human and social sciences. It brings together the confirmed and plural competences of its members, making it possible to deal with various contemporary issues related to border and cross-border spaces and their challenges.

    Further information:

    https://ifd.hypotheses.org/

    Contact:

    francois.moulle@univ-artois.fr

  • Role of the institution regarding cross-border issues

    The Institute of Borders and Discontinuities (IFD) is a cross-border academic network specialised in border studies, particularly in the Franco-Belgian cross-border region.

    A Franco-Belgian academic partnership

    Founded in 2011 in the form of a Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS, Scientific Interest Grouping), the IFD is recognised by the official research authorities in both Belgium and France. It currently brings together 5 research units from 6 Belgian and French universities in one agreement:

    • Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Mons (UCLouvain FUCaM Mons),
    • Université d’Artois in Arras,
    • Université du Littoral – Côte d’Opale (ULCO) in Dunkerque and Boulogne,
    • Université de Lille,
    • Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA), and
    • Université de Lorraine.

    A multidisciplinary cross-border network

    The Institut des Frontières et Discontinuités puts together researchers, young researchers, and teachers who are specialists in borders and their transformations. It recognizes and facilitates their networking in a multidisciplinary approach of regional science. It brings together the confirmed and plural competences of its members in the fields of geography, political science, history, planning and urbanism. It deals with various contemporary issues related to border and cross-border spaces: environment, coastline, urbanisation, governance, cooperation, exchanges, etc. In a multi-scalar and multi-level perspective, it analyses processes of actors and territories restructuring.

    The IFD focuses mainly on the internal borders of the European Union, the border being considered as a spatial and social object. It analyses border effects and discontinuities as well as cross-border cooperation processes and related transformations. The IFD was born from an expertise of the Franco-Belgian border. But its competences now largely extend to the analysis of other regions of the world concerned by borders and discontinuities.

  • References regarding cross-border issues

    A room for scientific debate

    The Institut des Frontières et Discontinuités is also a meeting place to deepen the concepts of border and discontinuity by crossing disciplinary approaches. The researchers find a stimulating framework to exchange regularly, to keep informed of scientific events, to answer collectively to calls for papers in international conferences. The IFD plays a full role as a training centre for its members. Thus, each member can broaden his or her scientific knowledge and launch operational research projects.

    Every year, the IFD organises the Journées scientifiques de l’IFD (IFD Scientific Days) consisting of a doctoral seminar and a research seminar where doctoral students, researchers and practitioners meet. It also implements INTERREG projects for exchanges between students and teachers.

    A response to the needs of public actors

    Local authorities regularly need external expertise to help them make the best decisions for the benefit of their citizens. The complexity of the issues raised by the proximity of the border requires specific skills and a large experience of scientific analysis. Local authorities and public actors sometimes lack the information they need to find border related knowledge. With the Institut des Frontières et Discontinuités, they benefit from the expertise of a network of competences, specialised in border and cross-border issues. The IFD has the means to set up operational studies e.g. in the field of planning, governance analysis of public and private actors, and analysis of the issues generated by cross-border flows.

    The IFD has worked, for example, with the Métropole Européenne de Lille (MEL), the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT), the Eurometropolis Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai EGTC and the DG Regio of the European Commission.

    The IFD is member of the European academic network TEIN (Transfrontier Euro-Institute Network) and works with the international networks Borders in Globalisation (BIG) and the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS). Thanks to its involvement in such networks, it can mobilise resources and compare research fields in other regions of the world.