Institute for European Studies

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Institute for European Studies (IES) (Belgium)

The Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is an academic Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and a policy think tank that focuses on the European Union in an international setting. The Institute advances academic education and research in various disciplines, and provides services to policy-makers, scholars, stakeholders and the general public.

The International Security cluster at the Institute for European Studies operates at the crossroads of geopolitical analysis, strategic studies and European studies. In keeping with an increasingly turbulent international landscape, cluster researchers analyse the on-going re-ordering of the European political architecture and how it relates to the wider world. In doing so, they pay particular attention to geopolitical competition between Russia and the West, instability in the broader Middle East, the rise of Asia and its implications for Europe and the transatlantic relationship, the changing face of international diplomacy and the exigencies of modern warfare.

Contact information

International Security Cluster
Institute for European Studies (IES)
Vrije Universiteit Brussels

Pleinlaan 5
BE – 1050 Elsene

Tel: +32 2 614 80 01



Maaike Verbruggen

The team

Name, Surname, contact Resume Speciality/Research Focus
Antonio Calcara

Ph.D. Researcher, LUISS

Adjunct Professor, Vesalius College

Antonio Calcara is a Guest Researcher at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at the at the LUISS “Guido Carli”- Department of Political Science. He is currently working on his dissertation on armaments cooperation programmes at the European level, with a specific focus on how different configurations of state– defence industry relations in France, Germany, Italy and the UK impact on the choice to cooperate or not cooperate in multinational defence procurement projects.

In 2013 Antonio received a M.A. In International and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Bologna (Forli Campus). In 2014 he was an intern at the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm.


·      International Relations

·      Armaments Cooperation

·      Defence Industries

·      European Defence


Dr. Tongfi Kim

KF-VUB Korea Chair Senior Researcher, Institute for European Studies
Assistant Professor, Department of International Affairs, Vesalius College

Tel +32(0)2 614 8180


Tongfi Kim is an assistant professor of international affairs at Vesalius College and a senior researcher at the KF-VUB Korea Chair in Brussels, Belgium. He specializes in military alliances and international security of East Asia. He is the author of The Supply Side of Security: A Market Theory of Military Alliances. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Ohio State University (2010) and has previously worked at Purdue University (USA), Griffith University (Australia), and Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (Germany). ·      International Security

·      East Asia

·      Military Alliances

Dr. Chantal Lavallée

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Tel +32 2 614 80 12


Chantal Lavallée (Canada) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow (2017-2019) at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research project “The European Commission in the Drone Community: a New Cooperation Area in the Making” evaluates to what extent the Commission’s involvement in the civil drone sector helps to strengthen its position in the field of security. Her research and publications focus on the contribution of the European Commission to the security and defence sector.


·      European security and defence

·      European Commission in the security and defence sector

·      Drone sector


Elie Perot

PhD Researcher


Elie Perot has been a PhD Researcher at the Institute for European Studies (IES) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) since October 2016. Previously, Elie has carried research work for the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) on nuclear deterrence and missile defence systems. As an intern, he has also worked for the Director of the National Police (DGPN) in the French Ministry of Interior as a speechwriter, as well as for the Defence Office of the French Embassy in Italy (Rome) and for the Conseil d’Etat, France’s supreme court for public law.

He holds a Master in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, (Summa cum laude) (2014) and a M.A. in European Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe, Bruges (Chopin Promotion 2015-2016). His current research focuses mainly on the responses of the EU and of NATO to the Ukraine crisis.


·       EU – CSDP

·       NATO

·       Deterrence policy

·       Alliance politics

Maaike Verbruggen

PhD Researcher

Maaike Verbruggen is a PhD researcher at the International Security Cluster of the Institute of European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. She conducts research on military innovation in artificial intelligence and robotics for military applications. Her expertise is on the development of emerging military technologies, their military and societal impact, and the implications for arms control. Previously she worked at SIPRI, and interned at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNODA.


·       Emerging military technologies

·       Autonomous weapon systems

·       Drones

·       Military human enhancement

·       Arms control

·       Export controls

Dr. Raluca Csernatoni

Guest Professor

Raluca Csernatoni is a guest professor at the Institute for European Studies (IES) of Vrije
Universiteit Brussel (VUB), lecturing on European Security and Counter-Terrorism for the
EuroMaster MSc postgraduate programme. She is currently concluding her two-years
postdoctoral research at the Institute of Political Studies (IPS), the Department of
International Relations, at Charles University in Prague. Her postdoctoral project, ‘Capacity
Building in the European Union (EU): Technological Innovation, Civil-Military Capabilities,
and Dual-Use Drones’, makes use of innovative theoretical lenses at the intersection of
Science and Technology Studies (STS), Critical Technology Theory, and Security Studies.
Raluca completed both her master and doctoral studies with the Department of
International Relations at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. She has also
conducted research in Brussels at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence (RHID) and its
Centre for Security and Defence Studies, and at the International Security Information
Service – Europe. She was a recipient of the Study Programme on European Security (SPES)
research fellowship at the Institute for European Politics (IEP) in Berlin. Her research and
publishing focus on European security and defence, critical theoretical approaches to
security and technology, human-technology mediation scholarship, the enhanced or post-
human war fighter, and emerging technologies such as dual-use drones, cyber weapons,
autonomous robotics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Raluca is now researching the security
governance of AI, by exploring how various state and non-state actors frame and adapt their
tools and policies and react to the latest transformations and inherent challenges of this
game-changing technology in the areas of security and defence. 
·      European security and defence

·      Emerging technologies

·      Critical theoretical approaches to security and technology