2.5M ERC grant awarded to research on intergovernmental organizations and the private sector

Professor Jan Klabbers’ project aims to change how IGO law and lawyers perceive and understand IGOs.

Jan Klabbers, Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki, has been awarded a € 2.5 million Advanced Grant by the European Research Council. Klabbers’ research project PRIVIGO investigates the tension between intergovernmental organizations and the private sector.

Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the World Health Organization or International Maritime Organization have always been assumed to work for the public good. Yet, they also engage with the private sector in many ways. Some are funded by the private sector or set up public-private partnership, and IGOs themselves act and compete in markets when procuring goods and services or when marketing their own services. Their operations and standard-setting activities inevitably affect the distribution of benefits between private parties.

“PRIVIGO will investigate this tension, for example by examining how widespread private sector involvement is and how IGO law responds to this involvement,” Jan Klabbers says.

Klabbers’s research group will also examine how the underlying framework of the law is affected.

“The legal rules are informed by theoretical considerations that are, in turn, informed by assumptions and axioms that are rarely questioned. Yet they may be fundamentally irreconcilable with private sector involvement.”

The aim of the project is to develop the law relating to intergovernmental organizations and build up solid theoretical foundations, mindful of the huge impact of IGOs on our everyday lives.

ERC Advanced Grants are a form of funding for researchers for established principal investigators who are leaders in their field and have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years. The funding is for a period of five years.

The European Research Council (ERC) supports ground-breaking research in all branches of science by funding the work of top researchers. Read more about ERC-funded research at the University of Helsinki.


Further information:

Jan Klabbers

Professor of International Law