Conzelmann, T




Global Governance, Peer Reviews, Corporate Social Responsibility, International Organizations, EU External Policy



Biographical Note

Thomas Conzelmann is Professor of International Relations at Maastricht University. Since 2015 he is Co-director of the Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM). From 2009 until September 2013 he served as Research Director and as Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Thomas is principal investigator of a comparative research project on peer reviews among states, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Click 'research' on the left for further details.  

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

You can download my full CV here (effective 14 January 2014).

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?

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, sustainable development, human rigths, economic and trade policies). 

Together with three PhD candidates, I probe into the conditions under which peer reviews among states will be more or less effective 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 runs until the end of 2017 and is funded by the NWO Innovative Research Subsidy (VIDI). Please visit http://peer-reviews.info 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. More information (in German)


PhD Supervision


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

  • 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 (FASoS, with Sophie Vanhoonacker)
  • Hortense Jongen: Fighting corruption the soft way? The authority of peer reviews to monitor compliance with anti-corruption standard setting instruments (FASoS, with Giselle Bosse)
  • Martina Kühner: Powerful numbers for effective outcomes? The role of global monitoring to foster sustainable development (FASoS, with Ron Cörvers, ICIS)

PhD candidates who graduated under my co-supervision:

  • Oxana Slobozhan: Global governance in the management of natural resources: The case of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) (graduated in November 2014, co-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, co-supervised with Sophie Vanhoonacker)
  • Johanna Hoeffken: Power to the people? Civic engagement with small-scale hydroelectric plants in India (graduated in December 2012, co-supervised with Wiebe E. Bijker)


Membership in reading committees:

  • Arkady Kudryavtsev (UM Faculty of Law): Private-sector standards as technical barriers in international trade in goods: In search of WTO disciplines (2015, member)
  • Karlijn Haagsman (UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences): Parenting across borders: Effects of transnational parenting on the lives of Angolan and Nigerian migrant parents in The Netherlands (2014, chair)
  • Claudia Engelmann(UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences): Common standards via the backdoor. The domestic impact of asylum policy coordination in the European Union (2014, member)
  • Dennis Niemann (Bremen University): Instruments of IO governance – OECD influence on German education policy (2014, second reader)
  • Ilire Agimi (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance):New governance under limited statehood: The case of local government reform in Kosovo (2014, member)
  • Tamara Lewis (UM Faculty of Law): The Universal Periodic Review Mechanism of the Human Rights Council: Transforming the human rights discourse (2013, member)
  • Natasja Reslow (UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences): Partnering for mobility? Three-level games in EU external migration policy (2013, member)
  • Fernando Souza de Man (UM Faculty of Law): Taxation of cross-border provision of services in double tax conventions between developed and developing countries: a proposal for new guidelines (2013, member)
  • Hylke Dijkstra (UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences): The role of the Council Secretariat and the European Commission in EU foreign policy (2007-2011) (2011, member)


Research grants:

  • (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,- €
  • (2012) "No Carrots, No Sticks: How do Peer Reviews among States acquire authority in Global Governance" (NWO Innovative Research Grant VIDI); 640.000,- € http://peer-reviews.info
  • (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,- € More information
  • (2007) „Unternehmen als Normunternehmer“ (research project continuation grant) Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (with Helmut Breitmeier and Klaus Dieter Wolf); 121.400,- € More information
  • (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,- € More information
  • (2006) „The Democratic Legitimacy of Soft Modes of Governance“ (workshop and publication grant); European Commission / Network of Excellence CONNEX (with Susana Borrás); 14.600,- € More information
  • (2005) „Unternehmen als Normunternehmer“ (research grant); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (with Helmut Breitmeier and Klaus Dieter Wolf); 202.700,- € More information
  • (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,- € More information (in German)
  • (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 More information (in German)
  • (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





List of all publications (effective 7 November 2014).


I regularly teach in the following courses:

BA European Studies:
- Europe and Global Politics after World War II
- Politics and Institutions of the EU

Minor European Studies:
- Politics and Institutions of the EU

MA European Studies:
- International Relations: Cooperation and Conflict
- Refresher Module

Research Master European Studies / Analysing Europe:
- European Integration: State of the Art (co-ordinator)
- Europe in the World
- Information, Expertise and Politics
- Administrative Governance


I regularly supervise MA Theses and Bachelor Dossiers 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

My CV (go to > Profile > Professional Career History in the left-hand menu) contains a full list of courses taught at Maastricht University and during previous appointments at the Universities of Darmstadt and Mannheim.

Work for third parties

  • free-lance lecturer at Global River Cruises

Additional roles & tasks

Professor of International Relations.