The Brridge project

The BRRIDGE project brings together Matej Bel University (UMB) and three of Europe’s premier institutions: Central European University, European University Institute, and the University Galway. With a focus on enhancing research capabilities in democracy and policy at UMB, BRRIDGE delves into the contemporary challenges to democracy, influenced by shifts in technology, culture, governance, and inequalities. Through this exploration, the project aspires to enrich the democratic landscape in both Slovakia and the broader European context.

Project Management and Advisory Board

Matej Bel University (UMB)

Professor Kamila Borseková

Project Coordinator

Dr. Jozef Michal Mintal

Project Co-Coordinator

Professor Alexandra Bitušíková

Project Advisor

Zuzana Kvetková

Financial Manager

Katarína Lukáčová

Financial Manager

Central European University (CEU)

Professor Martin Kahanec

Head of team

Veronika Csapo

Project Manager

Dr. Felix Butzlaff

Postdoctoral Fellow

European University Institute (EUI)

Professor Erik Jones

Head of team

Joanna Wielgo

Project Manager

University of Galway (UoG)

Professor Ekaterina Yahyaoui

Head of team

Our goals

Our overarching objective is to build research excellence at UMB in the domain of democracy and policy, as well to as advance UMB’s research management and administration, while generating knowledge that benefits society — all through joint-collaboration, knowledge transfer, exchange of best practices, and networking between UMB and top-tier partner institutions (CEU, EUI, NUIG).

Four objectives are established for the project


To enhance networking activities between UMB and top-class partner universities and to create an efficient and sustainable networking environment in the BRRIDGE consortium.


To build capacity in research management and administration at UMB through intensive exchange of ideas and experience, knowledge transfer, and good practice recommendations from partner institutions to UMB.

Research excellence

To build excellence in research on democracy and policy in four challenges to democracy and policy, namely, culture, governance, inequalities, and technology. Excellence in research is built through joint-collaboration, intensive exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experience, and short-term mobilities.

Democracy via community and policy engagement

To foster democracy via engagement and a wider cooperation of various stakeholders in research processes. Mainly through the creation of the Democracy Living Lab in the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region (Central Slovakia), leading to the proposal and implementation of tangible interventions to democracy’s challenges based on evidence and expertise.

Institute for democracy

UMB‘s Institute for Democracy has its roots in the university’s post-communist development and the rapid institutional response to the rise of a neo-nazi movement that swept the 2013 regional elections in the university’s home of the Banská Bystrica region, historically a center of anti-nazi movement in Slovakia. In response UMB academics worked together with civic organisations and local activists and set up successful initiatives aimed at countering this threat and fostering democracy. The resulting tight-knit collaboration with local communities and Slovakia’s civic sector produced a significant pool of talent in defending democracy which was recently formally institutionalized in the Institute for Democracy at UMB, which serves as the hub of BRRIDGE activity.