Key words: Policy analysis, Policy evaluation, Evidence based policy, Policy advice, Policy advisers, Policy work, Think tanks, Evaluation methods, Qualitative Comparative methods
COST Action “Professionalization and Social Impact of European Political Science”
The COST Action ProSEPS focuses on the social visibility and advisory roles of political scientists in 36 countries, their disciplinary identity, and their degree of internationalization. I am myself contributing to Working Group 4, in which we study the advisory role of political scientists in Europe.
Government, Academics and Policy Making (GAP): Use of scientific evidence by civil servants
The GAP project (Governments, Academics, and Policymaking) starts off from the perceived gap between science on the one hand, and policy on the other. In a larger comparative effort, a survey has been launched in a number of countries (such as the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Lithuania). The focus is on academic knowledge utilisation by ministerial officials.
Policy work and policy advice by think tanks and political party think tanks
While think tanks are no longer solely a feature of Anglo-Saxon countries, they still appear less prevalent and politically prominent in neo-corporatist political systems. To what extent do central characteristics of these systems, such as a closed and strongly institutionalized system of interest intermediation, shape the profile, functioning, and influence of think tanks and political party think tanks? I have been publishing about different aspects of this intriguing question in the past few years (with an emphasis on the Belgian think tank landscape), and I am further pursuing this line of research (mainly in collaboration with Dr. Bert Fraussen, Leiden University) now also with a focus on the Netherlands.
Impact Evaluation ESF Interventions: ‘Trainings in Firms’.
Under which conditions do ESF funded training projects in firms generate more (or less) value? In this evaluation, commissioned by the Flemish Department of Work and Social Economics, we address this question by relying on a cutting-edge theory based impact (realistic) evaluation (cfr. Pawson and Tilley, 1997), and by relying on state of the art management and organizational research. Unique about the evaluation is the systematic combination of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and process tracing, which are two methods that have only seldom been combined in an evaluation setting. Beyond the investigation of the leading evaluation question, we also want to draw lessons about the application of these methods in an evaluation context. The evaluation runs from October 2017-February 2020.
Other research team members: Bart Cambré (Antwerp Management School), Benoît Rihoux (UCLouvain), Priscilla Alamos Concha (UC Louvain).
Understanding the evaluation capacity and culture of public sector organisations
While all OECD countries have taken major steps forward in institutionalizing the policy evaluation function, there is still extensive variation in evaluation capacity across public sector organisations also within single countries. In this project, I focus on an understanding of the conditions that foster or impede the evaluation capacity and evaluation culture of public sector organizations. The research builds on my PhD (KU Leuven, 2014), in which I analyzed organizational variation in policy evaluation activity in the Flemish public sector (Belgium).
H2020 Project ITS4Land 'Geospatial Technology Innovations for Land Security in East Africa'
This project delivers an innovative suite of land tenure recording tools that responds to sub Saharan Africa’s immense challenge to rapidly and cheaply map millions of unrecognized land rights in the region (Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia). Established local, national, and international partnerships drive the project results beyond R&D into the commercial realm. Its4land combines an innovation process with emerging geospatial technologies to deliver land recording services that are end-user responsive, market driven and fit for purpose. The transdisciplinary work also develops supportive models for governance and capacity development, to which I am contributing.
Coordinator of the project is University of Twente. Other partners are Universität Münster (Germany), KU Leuven (Belgium), Hanse Luftbild AG (Germany), Institut d'Enseignement Superier de Ruhengeri (Rwanda), Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia), Technical University of Keny (Kenya), Esri Rwanda (Rwanda). As Leiden University staff member I work as subcontractor for KU Leuven.
Past research projects
July 2016- April 2017: Evaluatie Wet Kinderombudsman (Evaluation of the Law on the Netherlands' Ombudsman for Children). Joint evaluation by different institutes of Leiden University: Youth Law; Educational Sciences; and Public Administration. Commissioner: ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development).
Jury: Marleen Brans (supervisor, KUL); Annie Hondeghem (KUL); Christopher Pollitt (KUL); Frédéric Varone (Université de Genève), and Benoît Rihoux (UCLouvain). The PhD was shortlisted for the Jaarprijs Politicologie 2014, the annual prize for the best PhD dissertation, defended in the Netherlands or Flanders; a joint initiative of the Dutch and Flemish Political Science Associations NKWP and VPW.
2014-2015: The use of Green papers and White papers in the Flemish government (Commissioner: Steunpunt Bestuurlijke Organisatie Vlaanderen).
February- November 2014: An evaluation of HIVOS-implemented media support programmes in Tanzania and Kenya (Commissioner: HIVOS International. The Netherlands).
February- December 2013: Continuity and change in times of crisis. An analysis of Belgium's administration 2010-2011.
December 2009- September 2010: Evaluation of the Effects of the Municipal Culture Policy Plans 2008-2013 (Commissioner: Flemish Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media).
May 2008- September 2008: First evaluation of the Decree on the policy concerning the Covenants Municipal Development Cooperation (Commissioner: Flemish Agency for International Cooperation (VAIS)). Jointly evaluation by the Public Management Institute and the Institute for Higher Labour Studies, K.U.Leuven).
January 2007- March 2008: Euro-Med Public Administration Researchers Network (EUMEPAR-Network), “Tendencies and determining factors of autonomisation in the MENA area. Experiences in Algeria, Lebanon and Tunisia in the water management and telecommunication sector”. Funded by the Anna Lindh EuroMediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures.