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Department of Geography



Emilie Canova

PhD student

Political geographer interested in Arctic / European Union relations through region-building and critical geopolitics perspectives, maps and (imaginary/mental) representations. I am funded by the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship.



  • 2018 - 2021: International Maritime Organization (IMO) London ; GI WACAF Project Coordinator then GI WACAF Project Manager ; Technical officer on OPRC Convention
  • 2015 - 2016 French Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Paris, desk officer at European Union Directorate, External relations Service, on Iceland, Norway and the Arctic, then on EU Eastern Partnership and Arctic policy


  • 2021 – 2024 (expected) PhD in Polar studies, supervisor Prof. Richard Powell, Scott Polar Research Institute, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge; Fitzwilliam college
  • 2016 – 2017: Master's degree (Master 2) in Public affairs – Senior Civil Service, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne & ENS (law, economics, politics)
  • 2013 – 2016: Master's degree (Master 2) in Geopolitics, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne & ENS
  • 2013 – 2014: Master 1 in Geopolitics, major in post-Soviet studies, Université Paris VIII and Institut Français de Géopolitique (IFG)
  • 2012 – 2013: Bachelor in European Studies, Université Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle (history, modern languages, politics)
  • 2012 – 2016: École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris, ENS Diploma (2016): Major in Geography, minor in Diplomacy, German literature courses


  • 2022: Fitzwilliam College Senior Scholarship and ED Davies Scholarship
  • Cambridge Zero Public Engagement and Media Fellowship
  • 2021 – 2024: Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship
  • 2012 – 2016: Ecole Normale supérieure (ENS) national fellowship Humanities and Social sciences


My PhD focuses on exploring EU-Arctic relations, understood as the interaction of two supra-national overlapping regions.With rapid climatic and geopolitical changes occurring in the Arctic, the European Union (EU) have shown a growing interest in the region. So far, this has been largely studied as the intervention of a single actor (EU) in a single Arctic region. However, both EU and the Arctic are complex geographical entities with multiple overlapping institutions and territories.

I will use critical geopolitics and qualitative methodology (especially conducting interviews producing mental maps) within the broader region-building theoretical framework. My interests are threefold: (1) better understanding why the EU poses an ontological challenge to the Arctic region-building process by (2) reciprocally understanding the Arctic as a test for the development of the EU as a unitary geopolitical actor, while (3) advancing understanding of macro-regional integration at the intersection of regional geographical imaginaries, representations, and policies.


  • Canova, E. and Escude Joffres C. (2022), chapter « Diplomatie » in Vuillerme, M. and Delaunay, M. L'année arctique 2022. OPSA, p. 108. Available at:
  • Canova, E., Escudé, C., Raspotnik, A., Vidal, F. (2022) 'European policies in the Arctic: national strategies or a common vision?' in Arctic fever: political, economic & environmental aspects of new regional agendas. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 305-332.
  • Canova, E. (2020) 'Pour une prise en compte de la géographie dans la politique arctique de l'Union européenne', Études internationales, 51(1), pp. 89–116. doi:10.7202/1079413ar.
  • Canova, E. (2019) 'L'Europe en retrait ?', in Les régions de l'Arctique. Atlande (Clefs concours Géographie), pp. 277–286.


  • 2022 & 2023: undergraduates supervisor (Geographies of the Arctic)
  • March – Aug. 2021: supervision of research internship in GEG and co-supervisor of a Master dissertation on Kiruna's moving and mining cities resilience in the Arctic
  • July – Sept. 2016, one-to-one private tutor – Geography and German, Institut Tocqueville – Paris

External activities

  • 2019 - 2026: Member of the Observatoire de l'Arctique, French Ministry of Defence
  • March 2018 – 2022: Head of the Arctic programme of the Groupe d'études géopolitiques (GEG)