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Charlie Jeffery, director of the Economic and Social Research Council’s research program on devolution and constitutional change, and chair in politics at the University of Edinburgh, will speak on “Tony Blair and the Evolution of Devolution in the United Kingdom” noon today in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 206.

The talk will provide an update on the United Kingdom’s working program for devolution, begun under former British Prime Minister John Major, and how Prime Minister Tony Blair is continuing this process.

Devolution is the transfer and subsequent sharing of powers among government bodies. Since 1998, the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom has undergone dramatic changes. Through the process of devolution, powers once held by the U.K. Parliament have been transferred to new legislative bodies in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

As director of the research program on devolution and constitutional change, Jeffery oversees 35 projects at U.K. universities, including four at Edinburgh. He works in three main fields: German politics, in particular European Union (EU) policy-making, and the German federal system; comparative territorial politics, including multi-level governance in the EU, and the regional dimensions of party systems and voting behavior; and devolution in the U.K.

His research has been funded in recent years by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Leverhulme Trust, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Madison Trust. He has also been commissioned to prepare reports and advice by the Local Government Association, the English Regions Network, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He served this year as specialist adviser for the committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the House of Commons.

He is currently working on the aims and effectiveness of German participants at the Convention on the Future of Europe, an international comparison of voting behavior and party competition at regional levels of government, and the implications of devolution for the welfare state. He is also part of a long-term project managed by the Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at Salford University on the introduction and evaluation of elected regional assemblies in England.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Edinburgh, he had been professor of German politics and deputy director of the Institute for German Studies at the University of Birmingham, and lectured on European politics and was deputy director of the Centre for Federal Studies at the University of Leicester. He was appointed a Reader in German Politics in 1997 and awarded a personal Chair in German Politics in June 1999. From 1999-2002 he was chair of the Association for the Study of German Politics.

Jeffery received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in European studies from Loughborough University. In addition to his current positions, he is a co-editor of two international journals: Regional and Federal Studies and German Politics.

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