Choosing to do a MaRBLe project last semester has definitely proven to be one of the best choices I have made during my time studying at Maastricht University. This is because MaRBLe allows you to do what perhaps an ordinary course does not – that is diving into a research area which really interests you and spending a semester on what hopefully becomes a truly novel and interesting contribution to academia and practice.
The greatest part is, however, the support that you receive from UM throughout the whole process. Besides the benefit my two fellow law students and I received from constantly getting meaningful feedback and guidance from our supervisor, Dr. Mariolina Eliantonio, we also received a MaRBLe scholarship from EDLAB. Our MaRBLe experience was enriched even further, as the grant enabled us to attend a 3-day EU Commission-funded Soft Law Research Network conference (SoLaR) at King’s College London last December.
Our Day 1 in London began with us arriving at London’s St. Pancras by a Eurostar from Brussels and rushing to King’s to make it on time. First up was a joint SoLaR seminar, where we, along with King’s LLM students, presented our research to a panel of experts from King’s and UM in the field of our research topics – new governance methods in the EU. The seminar did not only provide me with the opportunity to receive in-depth feedback on my research from a ‘fresh’ perspective but also made me feel that our Maastricht group was genuinely able to have high-level discussions with the LLM and PhD students there.
During Days 2 and 3, we attended SoLaR’s Conference on EU Financial Regulation Soft Law. After listening to presentations of Sir Francis Jacobs (former Advocate General at the European Court of Justice) as well as representatives from institutions such as the Bank of England and the European Banking Authority, I confirmed how the research I am conducting is actually extremely relevant in practice. This, I think, is what many other students would have also found very useful, as it is a common (mis)conception that academia and practice are very distant from each other.
Overall, going to London has been an unforgettable experience, and it has definitely pushed me to develop my research skills and see how they can be relevant in my future career in legal practice. Therefore, if you are reading this and have the chance to do MaRBLe, I strongly recommend finding opportunities like this and making the most out of them!