Conzelmann, T (Thomas)




  • International relations
  • Global Governance
  • International organizations
  • EU External Policy
  • Peer reviews among states



Biographical Note

Thomas Conzelmann is Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), Maastricht University, and currently serves as Director of its Graduate School. He has been Associate Dean of Research at FASoS from 2009-2013 and 2018-2020.

Before coming to Maastricht, Thomas held positions at the University of Darmstadt (2001-2007), at the Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES, 2000-2001) and the University of Mannheim (1995-2000), where he also completed his PhD (magna cum laude). During his doctoral studies he spent a year as Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and at the University of Birmingham. After studies at Berlin (FU), the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Heidelberg, he obtained a MA degree in Political Science (major) and Public Law / History (minors) from the University of Heidelberg (with highest distinctions).


Office hours

I do not operate fixed office hours. Please make appointments through E-mail.

Career History

PhD Mannheim, 2002
Assistant Professor of International Relations, Darmstadt University, 2001-2007
Associate Professor of International Relations, Maastricht University, 2007-2013
Full Professor of International Relations, Maastricht University, since 2013

Go here for my Full CV


Research Profile

My current research focuses on the politics and institutions of global governance, in particular whether non-binding instruments such as peer reviews among states and voluntary self-regulation hold potential in solving global problems.



Research Projects

Beyond the carrot and the stick: What makes peer reviews among states authoritative instruments of global governance? (2013-2019)

The project focuses on peer reviewing procedures among states as an increasingly widely used, yet poorly understood instrument of global governance. It looks at peer reviews in different international organisations (The UN family, the WTO, the OECD and the Council of Europe) and in different policy areas (anti-corruption, human rigths, economic and trade policies). 

The project probed into the conditions under which peer reviews among states will be more or less authoritative instruments. In this context, the project is interested in the concrete functioning of peer reviews in terms of preparation of reviews, interaction during the review meeting, and follow-up after the meeting. In terms of practical relevance, the project wants to help policy-makers arrive at informed choices regarding the use of peer reviews among states in comparison with other ‘softer’ or ‘harder’ international monitoring instruments.

The project ended in October 2018 and was funded by the NWO Innovative Research Subsidy (VIDI). Please visit for more information.

Some larger co-operative research projects in which I was involved in the past dealt with issues of corporate social responsibility, the democratic legitimacy of transnational governance, and international negotiation systems. An overarching interest of these research projects is how global governance by public and by private actors can be made both more effective and more democratically legitimate. The projects were funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the European Union in the context of the Network of Excellence “CONNEX” (FP 6). Furthermore, I have published on multi-level governance and the increasing use of soft law in the European Union, and the role of developing countries in global governance arrangements. This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the European Union, and the ZEIT Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

My PhD research focused on EU regional policy and EU state aid regulations, and their impact on the regional policies of Great Britain and Germany.


PhD Supervision

PhD candidates I am currently supervising as first promotor or as co-promotor:

  • Xing Fan: The United Nations cybersecurity governance – Towards effective global rules? (FASoS, with Hylke Dijkstra) 
  • Martina Kühner: Powerful numbers for effective outcomes? The role of global monitoring to foster sustainable development (FASoS, with Ron Cörvers, ICIS)
  • Giuseppe Zaccaria: Who gets to live forever? The decline of international organisations in trade and finance (FASoS, with Hylke Dijkstra) 

PhD candidates who graduated under my (co-)supervision:

  • Valentina Carraro: Just another brush stroke on the human rights canvas? The design and authority of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review vis‐à-vis the UN treaty bodies (graduated in October 2017, supervised with Sophie Vanhoonacker)
  • Hortense Jongen: Fighting corruption the soft way? The authority of peer reviews to monitor compliance with anti-corruption standard setting instruments (graduated in September 2017, supervised with Giselle Bosse)
  • Maarten Smeets: The WTO Multilateral Trading System in a Globalizing World: Challenges and Opportunities (graduated in September 2017, supervised with Peter van den Bossche).
  • Oxana Slobozhan: Global governance in the management of natural resources: The case of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) (graduated in November 2014, supervised with Luc Soete).
  • Anne-Claire Marangoni: Consistency or inconsistency of EU external policies? A case study on the European Commission (graduated in October 2014, supervised with Sophie Vanhoonacker)
  • Johanna Hoeffken: Power to the people? Civic engagement with small-scale hydroelectric plants in India (graduated in December 2012, supervised with Wiebe E. Bijker)

I have participated in a dozen or so reading committees for PhD candidates at Maastricht University and elsewhere.


Research grants:

  • ‘The Softening and Hardening of Borders’; European Commission COFUND scheme (with Sophie Vanhoonacker); € 1.400.000,-
  • Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for CERiM; European Commission (with 9 other professors from Maastricht University; Principal applicants: Thomas Christiansen and Johan Adriaensen); € 147.085,-
  • Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for CERiM; European Commission (with 9 other professors from Maastricht University); € 99.828,- 
  • Establishment and Founding Director of the Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM) ; Maastricht University (with 9 other professors from Maastricht University); € 1.019.000,-
  • ‘Authority and Control in International Organizations’ (workshop grant); Universiteitsfonds Limburg/SWOL and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University; € 4.500,-
  • (2014) "Reshaping Europe in a Globalising World" (Internal UM grant for the erection of the Centre for European Research in Maastricht -- CERiM; co-applicant with 8 colleagues from FASoS and the UM Faculty of Law); 1.050.000,- €
  • (2013) "No Carrots, No Sticks: How do Peer Reviews among States acquire authority in Global Governance" (NWO Innovative Research Grant VIDI); 800.000,- €
  • (2011) „Beyond the Carrot and the Stick: Peer Reviews as an Instrument of Global Governance“ (Bonus for eligible but not funded project application under the NWO Innovational Incentive Scheme); Maastricht University; 25.000,- €
  • (2010) „Peer Reviews as an Instrument of Global Governance“ (workshop grant); University of Maastricht / DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich 597 (with Kerstin Martens); 9.000,- € 
  • (2007) „Unternehmen als Normunternehmer“ (research project continuation grant) Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (with Helmut Breitmeier and Klaus Dieter Wolf); 121.400,- €
  • (2007) „Private Self-Regulation in the European Union“ (workshop grant); European Commission / Network of Excellence CONNEX (with Anne Flohr and Sandra Schwindenhammer); 10.000,- €
  • (2007) “What Future Shape for the EU? Reflections on Multi-Level Governance” (publication grant) European Commission / Network of Excellence CONNEX; 3.200,- € 
  • (2006) „The Democratic Legitimacy of Soft Modes of Governance“ (workshop and publication grant); European Commission / Network of Excellence CONNEX (with Susana Borrás); 14.600,- € 
  • (2005) „Unternehmen als Normunternehmer“ (research grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (with Helmut Breitmeier and Klaus Dieter Wolf); 202.700,- € 
  • (2005) „Soft Modes of Governance and the Private Sector: The EU and the Global Level" (workshop grant); European Commission / Network of Excellence CONNEX; 15.500,- €
  • (2005) „Nord und Süd im globalen Regieren – Forschungsperspektiven, Politikfelder, Akteure“ (workshop grant); ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (with Jörg Faust); 5.000,- € 
  • (2001) „Argumentieren und Verhandeln in internationalen Verhandlungssystemen“ (workshop grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES) (with Beate Kohler-Koch); 2.200,- DM
  • (2001) „10 Jahre Regionenforschung – Was haben wir gelernt ?“ (workshop and publication grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / MZES (with Michèle Knodt); 15.000,- DM 
  • (1999) “The EU and its Performance in International Organizations and International Treaties” (conference travel grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; 2.100,- DM
  • (1997): “Europeanization of National Policies? Linking the Multi-Level Governance Approach with Theories of Policy Learning and Policy Change” (conference travel grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; 1.850,- DM





I currently coordinate and teach in the following courses:

BA European Studies

  • International Relations: Contemporary Issues and Actors (EUS 2005 / EUS 1015)

MA European Studies:

  • International Relations: Cooperation and Conflict (EUS 4001)

Research Master European Studies

  • Thesis Proposal (RES 5511)
  • Thesis (RES 6800)

I regularly supervise MA and BA theses in the following areas: International Relations, Global Governance, North-South Relations, Foreign Policy, External Relations of the EU (in particular to developing countries), Corporate Social Responsibility

Work for third parties

  • free-lance lecturer at Global River Cruises
  • Member of the Advisory Board at Political Economy Society Maastricht

Other activities

Anonymous referee for the following journals, funding agencies, and academic publishers:

  • Cambridge Review of International Affairs
  • Czech Science Foundation
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)
  • European Integration Online Papers (EIoP)
  • European Journal of International Security
  • European Political Science Review
  • European Research Council (ERC)
  • Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen / Flemish Research Council (FWO)
  • International Studies Review
  • Journal of Common Market Studies
  • Journal of European Integration
  • Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Journal of Public Policy
  • Journal of South East European and Black Sea Studies
  • Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • Oxford University Press
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Redglobe Press
  • Regional and Federal Studies
  • Regulation & Governance
  • Review of International Organizations
  • Socio-Economic Review
  • St. Anthony's International Review
  • Swiss National Science Foundation / Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
  • Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen


Membership of professional organisations:

  • German Political Science Association (DVPW)
  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • Nederlandse Kring voor de Wetenschap der Politiek (NKWP)
  • Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG)
  • Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)
  • Study Committee European Integration (AEI)
  • United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN)
  • University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES)

Additional roles & tasks

Full Professor of International Relations