The Centre for the Study of Political Change (CIRCaP) was established in June 1997, with the aim of doing research, analysis, collecting data and promoting advanced education on the problems and processes relating to political change at the sub-national, national and international levels. The academics and founders of the Centre are political scientists, but the Centre also involves the participation of scholars from the main social science disciplines.

After 22 years the Centre has changed its structure and broadened its research scope. The founding partners of the ‘new’ CIRCaP  are the Deparment of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Florence, the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pisa, the Department of Social Political and Cognitive Science at the University of Siena, which serves as the administrative coordinator.

CIRCaP’s new structure is an off-spring of the establishment of an international  Graduate School which runs a Ph.D program in Political Science, European Politics and International Relations, a joint doctoral initiative of the University of Siena, the Universities of Florence and Pisa, the Pisa-based Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies. The programme is taught in English and attended by students from both European and non-European Countries. Within this programme, the Centre regularly accepts Visiting Scholars from Italian and foreign Universities that take part in the teaching activities. Short specialized courses, which are particularly focused on research methodologies, complete the advanced education offered at the Centre.

The Centre mainly promotes research activities in the following areas:
a) Comparative analysis of the European political elites and of their recruitment processes
b) Analysis of public opinion, with a particular focus on the themes of national and European identity and the public’s beliefs on foreign and defence policy issues
c) Study of political behaviour and elections
d) Comparative analysis of parliamentary and governmental institutions
e) Analysis of the relationship between domestic politics and the European integration
f) Analysis of political language
g) Theories of political class

CIRCaP operates as a reference point for international research networks (i.e. the scientific network EurElite, supported by the European Science Foundation, the IntUne project, which is part of the VI Framework Programme of the European Union, the Europolis project and the Transworld project which are part of the VII Framework Programme of the European Union). The Centre also hosts the Standing Group of the Italian Political Science Association (SISP) on Parties, Public Opinion and Elections (POPE).

Connected to these activities, CIRCaP creates and updates some important databases (on the parliamentary and governmental elites; on the programmes of government and political parties; on public opinion and foreign policy), and it also publishes Occasional Papers. Within the framework of our graduate community and in cooperation with the School of International Studies (University of Trento), the Centre also edits Interdisciplinary Political Studies. The primary aim of the journal is to encourage and promote the research of graduate students and young scholars.

Concerning the teaching activities, in recent years the Centre has established a Graduate School with a strong international orientation, which manages the Ph.D program in Political Science, European Politics and International Relations, a joint doctoral initiative of the University of Siena, the Pisa-based Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and the Universities of Florence and Pisa. Both programmes are taught in English and attended by students from both European and non-European Countries. Within these programmes, the Centre regularly accepts Visiting Scholars from Italian and foreign Universities that take part in the teaching activities. Short specialized courses, which are particularly focused on research methodologies, complete the advanced education offered at the Centre.

CIRCaP operates with the collaboration and the administrative support of the Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Siena.