It is one of the most competitive research programmes in Europe and North America
Marouane Laabbas is the first URV PhD student to obtain a place on the European Fulbright programme, which includes researchers from all over the European Union. He has been granted a predoctoral stay of a total of nine months at two U.S. universities, Colorado State University (Colorado) and Rutgers University (New Jersey), both with leading researchers in the field of environmental and labour policies.
The Fulbright-Schuman programme offers 21 places to predoctoral, postdoctoral and senior researchers from all over the European Union. Only one place is for predoctoral positions and it has been awarded to Marouane Laabbas, who is pursuing a PhD degree in Law at the URV. It is a highly competitive grant-prize, which funds researchers from the European Union who wish to carry out their research or give lectures on topics related to the reality of the EU, European integration or relations with the United States.
In this case, the grant will allow Laabbas to continue with his doctoral thesis on the link between labour law and environmental protection. During the research visit he will focus on how trade unions and workers’ representatives can help to protect the environment. According to Laabbas, “the environment has to be understood from an interdisciplinary perspective without borders and this involves labour relations and labour law”.
Laabbas states that it is not possible to change the economic and energy system without taking a retrospective look at what is happening in the labour market, since work is the livelihood of many families. In this regard, he states that it is necessary to study how the paradigm shift towards renewable energies and climate neutrality will affect working people, so that the transition is fair. “This process involves helping people who are forced to leave their place of work because of Just Transition policies to find livelihoods, and giving them the skills to switch to a sector that is more compatible with the environmental situation (inside or outside the company where they work) or to meet their social needs,” says Laabbas.
The Fulbright programme has delegations in almost every country in the world. In 2020-2021, Jorge Mellado was the first member of the URV to receive the Fulbright Spain predoctoral fellowship, while this year, Marouane Laabbas has been awarded the Fulbright-Schuman European fellowship. Mellado spent his time as a doctoral student in vibrational spectroscopy at Ohio State University. During his six-month stay in Columbus, Mellado participated in two projects. “It was a very good experience, I learned a lot and I would do it again,” says Mellado.