Aleks Szczerbiak Professor of contemporary European studies, Sussex European Institute, Sussex University - Job advertised in The Times Higher, August 12, 2005
Aleks Szczerbiak did not really expect to be made the new professor of contemporary European politics at the Sussex European Institute when his predecessor left to take up a post in Strasbourg.
"I was extremely surprised and excited when they offered me the job," he said.
"I think this is a brave move for the institute. By choosing me, they have deliberately chosen to take a somewhat different strategic direction.
"I have different expertise from my predecessor, who was into core European policies such as justice and home affairs. My expertise is in looking at the impact of European Union policies on the domestic politics of member states."
The Sussex European Institute is a major player in European political research and has always set a very high standard. "It has always been good at spotting trends. The choice of domestic politics research is hopefully part of this process," Professor Szczerbiak said.
He has been at the institute since 1998 and is a specialist in the comparative politics of post-Cold War Europe and the politics of Poland. He feels he has a personal mission to bring academic study into the mainstream.
"I like to think that academics can have influence and that is why it is important to produce relevant academic research," he said. "I'm aware as a professor I have to give senior academic leadership and it is very exciting intellectually."
"I'm lucky to have my colleagues backing me very strongly. It is good to have the recognition, but there is also a heavy weight of expectation on my shoulders."