The EDDA Center at the University of Iceland is an interdisciplinary Center of Excellence in critical contemporary research, with emphasis on (in)equality and difference; the welfare state; societal transitions and  transnational politics; and security and develop­ment. Through its academic activities, EDDA’s goal is also to influence public policy and societal debates, especially in the fields of gender equality; social policies; participatory demo­cracy; and foreign, security and development policies.  EDDA‘s main source of funding is a seven-year Center of Excellence grant from the Icelandic Research Council (Rannis).

The Center seeks to stimulate critical new thinking and methodological innovation.  As a forum for social and political critique, EDDA’s research agenda relies on a variety of scholarly approaches and theories in sociology, gender studies, history, literary criticism, geography, political science, philosophy and cultural studies.

EDDA’s research has focused on topics such as societal transitions; crisis and reconstruction discourses; democracy and decision-making; the welfare state and well-being; memory politics; and security and development.

The Center has forged research partnerships with a number of academic institutes, networks and government ministries. The Center awards research grants, hosts visiting scholars, and organizes academic conferences, symposia and lectures on topics related to its research activities. Apart from their academic contributions, EDDA’s researchers have assumed government advisory roles and been commissioned to write reports for domestic and international organizations.

EDDA is the acronym for Equality, Diversity, Development and Advancement. The word “Edda“ has a significant meaning in Icelandic literature and culture. The word appears in Snorra-Edda, where, in a glossary of names for women, it means great-grandmother or “foremother” (of mankind) with a connotation of transmitting knowledge from one generation to another. Edda also carries other meanings, one of them entailing a reference to poetry and creative processes.