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My research focuses on the interaction between knowledge, evidence, data, and governance. I analyse how governance by and of knowledge influence transformations of politics and policies. This includes the analysis of measuring and the use of statistics as governance technique; data-based governance; data and evidence literacy in policy-making; evidence-informed policy-making; multilevel and anticipatory governance: socio-economic as well as eco-social policies: and sustainable development.

My fields of expertise furthermore include European integration studies and theories; Europeanisation; multi-level and new modes of governance; policy co-ordination; environmental, employment and socio-economic policies; EU constitutionalisation and institutionalisation; EU enlargement; and curriculum development in EU studies.

Global Governance Programme: Research Area ‘Knowledge, Governance, Transformations’

The research area was inaugurated in July 2022 and explores the dynamic interaction between knowledge, evidence, data and governance. It analyses how governance by knowledge and governance of knowledge influence transformations of politics and policies. In doing so, it connects four elements of contemporary societal, political and scientific concern knowledge production and science advice in politics; ethical and normative aspects of knowledge production and quantification; evidence-informed policy-making and governance innovations; the contribution of knowledge and governance transformations to sustainability.

The research area’s activities focus on the role of knowledge, its sources and use in evidence-informed policy-making; responsible and trustworthy evidence and data; data-driven innovation and future-oriented governance; and transformative dynamics between these elements supporting the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Methodologically, the research area is based on both qualitative and quantitative research and nurtures engagement with the world of practice in all its activities. Its main aim is to shape and facilitate a dynamic, adaptive and engaged research and learning environment for the future-oriented analysis of data, evidence, knowledge, governance and transformations. It ultimately aims to establish a community of research and practice of academics and practitioners dealing with the generation, use and transformation of knowledge and governance for politics and policy-making.

GlobalStat, our well-established open access data gateway, is the data backbone of the research area. It empowers users through knowledge about how we live, which freedoms we enjoy and what limitations we face in our globalised societies. It offers statistical data free of charge from international sources for all 193 UN member states, from 1960 to present day, and presents them in an easy-to-use way.

TRIGGER – TRends In Global Governance and Europe’s Role

TRIGGER was a research consortium funded by the EU’s H2020 framework for research and innovation.  It was composed of 14 partners, including four non-EU countries:

  • Centre for European Policy Studies, Belgium (Co-ordinator)
  • Asotsciatsia Evropuli Gamokvlevebi Saqartvelos Inovaciuri Ganvitarebistvis, Georgia
  • Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales, Argentina
  • École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Elinkeinoelämän tutkimuslaitos Kannatusyhdistys, Finland
  • Euro – Mediterranean Economists Association, Spain
  • European University Institute, Italy
  • Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • Eurasian Institute of International Relations, Kyrgyzstan
  • Istituto di Studi per l’Integrazione dei Sistemi – Società Cooperativa, Italy
  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação – Consultadoria empresarial e fomento da Inovação S. A., Portugal
  • Technische Universität München, Germany

Running from 2018 to 2022, the ultimate objectives of TRIGGER were to provide EU institutions with knowledge and
tools to enhance their actorness, effectiveness and influence in global governance; and to develop new ways to harness the potential of public engagement and participatory foresight in complex governance decisions, thereby also tackling emerging trends such as nationalism, regionalism and protectionism. These overall objectives were designed to be measurable, realistic and achievable within the 36-month duration of the project.

TRIGGER sought achieve its objectives thanks to the combined effort of four research sub-groups:

  • a group focused on global and EU governance, which will create an unprecedented Atlas of Global Governance REGulation and Europe’s AcTORness (AGGREGATOR); 
  • a group focused on the relationship between governance and emerging technologies;
  • a group dedicated to strategic foresight and public engagement, which will use new techniques such as AI-enabled sentiment analysis and innovative public engagement methods to develop a tool on Co-Creating the European Union (COCTEAU); and
  • a group specialised in dissemination and communication.All major deliverables will eventually merged into a
    toolkit dedicated to Public Engagement for Responsive and Shared EU Strategies (PERSEUS), which will be released at month 36 of the project. 

Within the project consortium, I led the research pillar on global governance and EU actorness which contributes
to the development of the new ‘Atlas of Global Governance REGulation and Europe’s AcTORness’ (AGGREGATOR).

GLOBALSTAT – Database on Developments in a Globalised World

GlobalStat, the Database on Developments in a Globalised World, is a public information tool for users around the
world. All data and metadata are freely accessible for personal information purposes and research.

Accounting for the multi-dimensional nature of globalisation and sustainable development, GlobalStat adopts a ‘beyond GDP’ approach to the collection of data and focuses on different aspects of the performance of nations. As the gateway to developments in a globalised world its ultimate aim is to provide information about the way human beings live, the freedoms they enjoy and the limitations they face.

GlobalStat is easily accessible, intuitive to use, and free of charge. In just three clicks it offers data from 1960 onwards for 193 UN countries gathered from over 80 international sources. At the time of its official launch in May 2015 it contained over 500 indicators and is designed to grow over time. It is structured in 12 thematic areas (such as Economic Development & Trade; Environment; Food, Agriculture & Fisheries; Human Mobility) and 3 horizontal areas which offer insight into cross-cutting aspects of sustainable livelihood, human well-being and quality of life.

On the Political Economy of Measuring State Capacity and Governance: Mapping Transnational Approaches and their Production

Cooperation with  A. Savoia, D. Hulme, ESID Research Centre, Univ. of Manchester & D. Malito, A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

Given the immediate relevance of ‘good’ governance for both the academic and the policy debate of the Post-2015 and Post-2030 Development Agendas, the project takes the problematic state of measuring governance and state capacity as its starting point.

It maps the political economy of governance and state capacity measures by systematically analysing who rates state capacity and governance where, how, what for, and funded by whom. It moreover assesses the differences between and the performance of the different measures. This analysis will be a particularly innovative contribution to the research on state effectiveness and governance, in which space so far matters little.

Its research improves the current understanding of measurement tools and pays particular attention to state effectiveness issues. It analyses existing measures according to four key dimensions:

– Who: Producers and development process of measures;
– Where and how: Geographical location and governance level of their development and production;
– What for: Purpose and use of the measurement tools; and
– Funded by whom: Funders of the production of measures.

Global Governance by Indicators

Cooperation with  N. Bhuta, EUI & D. Malito, A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

The study of indicators and their use in global governance is an urgent contemporary concern, related to fundamental questions of political steering, regulation and governance at global level.Indicators, as instruments of global governance, quantify and simplify empirical phenomena, favouring a better understanding of complex realities. Indicators are also fundamental to measure and evaluate many aspects of global governance, such as state action, policy specific developments or international institutions. Composite indicators and indices are applied to describe and measure multi-dimensional concepts (such as sustainable development, governance, human well-being or competitiveness), as well as the performance of states, international or regional organisations and different domains of policy implementation. These measures are therefore often closely connected to policy judgements and prescriptions, and may become a means of benchmarking and standard-setting.The research project focuses on the analysis of indicators as instruments of global governance that impact the behaviour of actors in global governance contexts, potentially bypassing traditional, public authority-based forms of global governance and international law. The project aims to examine the development, application and impact of indicators, sets of indicators, composite indicators and indices in global governance and global administrative law. It seeks to understand these differently institutionalised governance forms, and investigate questions of democracy and accountability that accompany their deployment.The project results will be published in 2016/17 in the “Palgrave Handbook on Indicators in Global Governance”, ed. by N. Bhuta/D.V. Malito/G.Umbach.

Full List of Research Projects and Collaborations

2021 → UN Resident Coordinator Learning Path Programme – Online Module ‘Data-driven Evidence-informed
Policy-making for Sustainable Development’

  • Funded by: United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC); Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development
  • Online training course for UN Resident Coordinator Offices
  • Module development on evidence-informed policy-making; data analysis and literacy; sustainable development

2020 → Interdisciplinary Research Cluster ‘Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority’

  • Funded by: European University Institute 
  • Co-Principal (together with Professor David Levine and Professor Peter Drahos)
  • Analysis of the impact of expertise on the political process; knowledge and science transfer in politics; trust and distrust; dis-information, false information; facts vs. emotions
2020 → Workshop series ‘Strengthening and connecting eco-systems of science for policy in Europe’
  • Scientific advisory activity
  • Lead: Joint Research Centre, European Commission
  • Interdisciplinary Research Groups
  • knowledge generation and transfer; evidence-informed policy-making; governance research; Systems and institutional theory
  • Analysis of evidence-informed policy-making; scrutiny of the of knowledge transfer structures in political institutions

2019 → TRIGGER – Trends In Global Governance and Europe’s Role

  • Funded by: European Commission, H2020-SC6-GOVERNANCE-2018 (Proposal 822735) (own network and fundraising activity)
  • Coordinator: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
  • Partner: Association of European Studies for Innovative Development (ESIDG), Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI), Elinkeinoelämän tutkimuslaitos (ETLA), Eurasian Institute of International Relations (EIIR), Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA), Fraunhofer ISI (ISI), Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), Innovation for Sustainability (ISINNOVA), International Risk Governance Council at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (IRGC), Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI), Southern Voice (SOUTHV), Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  • Leadership Work package I “Mapping and Measuring EU Global Governance”
  • Analyse and map global governance practices, regimes, processes and partnerships, including international regulatory cooperation, as well as their development over time, to lay the ground for the analysis of the interrelation between global and EU governance by other WPs
  • Broaden the traditional definition of global governance by including international regulatory cooperation, private governance schemes, and “orchestration” schemes
    Develop Online Atlas of the EU’s involvement in global governance; develop and test the first pillar of the AGGREGATOR database
  • Establishment of various databases, scientific publications on global governance, co-creation in global governance and measurement
  • Project conceptualisation, implementation and management (academic and managerial responsibility)

2018 → Democracy and Parliamentary Involvement in EU Trade policies – Jean Monnet Chair of Prof Dr Andreas Maurer (University of Innsbruck)

  • Funded by: European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme
  • Member of the adjunct faculty (own network and fundraising activity)
  • Set up of curriculum on “Democracy and Parliamentary Involvement in EU Trade policies”
  • Teaching focus on environmental and climate policies; European and global governance arrangements and parliamentary involvement
  • Curriculum development and implementation (academic responsibility)

2011 → GlobalStat – Database on Development in a Globalised World

  • Funded by: Global Governance Programme, RSCAS, EUI/Florence and Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos/Lisbon
  • Partner: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos/Lisbon
  • Founding Director (own fundraising activity)
  • Set-up of a statistical on-line data repository
  • Database conceptualisation, design and development, data visualisation, international cooperation, development of joined publication series with international partners
  • Globalisation, sustainable development, human development, indicators and indices, statistics
  • Scientific publications on indicators, global governance, globalisation, sustainability, country cases, institutional network-creation, infographics, twitter campaign, outreach activities and events
  • Project conceptualisation, implementation and management (academic and managerial responsibility)

2018-2020: STG InnoHub – Public Policy Innovation & Outcomes Hub

  • School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute
  • Set up of research programme; own conceptualisation of research agenda and structure
  • Measuring public policy outcomes, development of training agenda, database development, international cooperation and network set up

2015 – 2016: On the Political Economy of Measuring State Capacity and Governance: Mapping Transnational Approaches and their Production

  • Funded by: Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Research Centre, University of Manchester
  • Cooperation partner: ESID Research Centre, University of Manchester
  • Interdisciplinary research project
  • Research Project Co-Director (own fundraising activity)
  • Global governance, indicators and indices, statistics, measuring as governance technique, institutional practices
  • Dataset creation, research and publications on the political economy of indicators in global governance
  • Project conceptualisation, implementation and management (academic and managerial responsibility)

2012 – 2016: Global Governance by Indicators

  • Funded by: Lifelong Learning Programme, European Commission; Global Governance Programme, RSCAS,
  • Cooperation partner: EUI Faculty of Law
  • Interdisciplinary research project
  • Research Project Co-Director (internal grant; own fundraising activity)
  • Global governance, indicators and indices, statistics, measuring, post-regulatory governance techniques, evidence-based policy-making
  • Research and publications on indicators in global governance, governance and corruption measurement, measurement of fiscal sustainability
  • Project conceptualisation, implementation and management (academic and managerial responsibility)

2010 – 2011: Global policy crises and institutional responses of the early 21st century – Emerging logics of an “inter-sectoral trans-level international institutionalism?”

  • Funded by: Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; European University Institute/Florence
  • Post-Doctoral Jean Monnet Fellowship (own fundraising activity)
  • Conceptualisation of and fundamental research for post-doctoral research agenda
  • Sustainable development, indicators, measuring, policy paradigms & ideas, international organisations, strategy and policy design based on statistical evidence

2009 – 2010: Centrum für Interdisziplinäre Frankreich- und Frankophoniestudien / Centre for interdisciplinary studies on France and Francophony (CIFRA)

  • Funded by: Embassy of the French Republic to Germany; Rector of the University of Cologne; Dean of the Department of Humanities of the University of Cologne
  • Interdepartmental, multi-disciplinary research group on France
  • Senior Research Associate responsible for setup of political science department (academic and managerial responsibility)

2007 – 2009: EU-CONSENT – Constructing Europe Network (Network of Excellence)

  • Funded by: EU, 6th Framework Programme
  • 54 international institutional partners
  • Leader Work Package X „Teaching and Training“ (managerial responsibility)
  • Conceptual guidance and supervision of Work Package II/III „Theories“ (academic and managerial responsibility)

2005 – 2006: Die Biographie naturbezogener Raumbilder / The Biography of Representations of Nature and Space

  • Funded by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) / German Research Foundation
  • Partner: Department of Geography, University of Cologne
  • Senior Research Associate (own fundraising activity/academic and managerial responsibility)

2004 – 2007: Konstitutionalisierungsprozesse in der EU / Constitutionalisation of the EU

  • Funded by: Rectorate, University of Cologne
  • inter-disciplinary, inter-faculty co-operation, University of Cologne
  • Starting grant for the development of a DFG special research area
  • Leading Senior Research Associate responsible for conceptualisation and lead drafting for fund-raising (academic and managerial responsibility)

2004 – 2005: GOVECOR – EU Governance by self co-ordination? Towards a collective “gouvernement économique

  • Funded by: EU, 5th Framework Programme
  • Partners: EIPA, SCORE, University of Pau, TEPSA
  • Research Associate

2003 – 2004: A study on the impact of Member State policies on social and economic cohesion at regional level

  • Funded by: Directorate General Regional Policy, European Commission 
  • Partner: London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE )
  • Research Associate (own fundraising activity/academic and managerial responsibility)

2003: Enhancing Political Science Teaching Quality and Mobility in Europe II: A Teaching Companion in European Studies

  • Funded by: SOCRATES, European Commission
  • Partner: epsNet
  • Research Associate (academic and managerial responsibility)

2002 – 2003: Employment Policies in Germany and the United Kingdom – The impact of Europeanisation

  • Funded by: Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society
  • Partner: Southbank University, London
  • Research Associate (academic and managerial responsibility)

2002 – 2003: Enhancing Political Science Teaching Quality and Mobility in Europe: A Core Curriculum on European Integration Studies – An epistemic community for tomorrow’s Europe?

  • Funded by: SOCRATES, European Commission
  • Partner: epsNet
  • Research Associate (academic and managerial responsibility)

2002: A constitution for the European Union?

  • Funded by: Federal Ministry for Education, Research and Culture (Austria)
  • Partner: Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • Research Associate

2001: Establishing a Monitoring System for the Charter of Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society

  • Funded by: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)
  • Partner: TEPSA
  • Research Associate

2000 – 2003: Europäisierung von Ministerialverwaltungen in Mittel- und Osteuropa / Europeanisation of Public Administrations in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Funded by: Volkswagen Foundation
  • Partner: Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP)
  • Research Associate (shared academic and managerial responsibility)