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NIG Annual conference 2023

NIG Annual Work Conference 2023 @ Delft University

The 2023 NIG Conferend was hosted at Delft University of Technology. The conference took place on November 2 & 3 at the TU Delft campus.

NIG-VB Dialogue + breakfast

Why does equality in higher education and research remain a contested ideal?

During the VB-NIG Dialogue on Thursday 2 Nov, 09.00 – 10.30 am, we want to discuss both fundamental (e.g., what does it mean to provide equal opportunity in higher education?) and practical (how do, e.g., gender and being first-generation shape opportunities?) topics related to equality. We want to jointly reflect on our role as scholars in shaping a future of equal opportunity in higher education.

While enjoying breakfast, you will experience our our format Science Dates live and discuss statements on equality in higher education in which your personal experiences can come forward.

Panels 2023


Robin Bouwman (Erasmus University Rotterdam)  
Rosanna Nagtegaal (Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands) 
Amandine Lerusse (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Glenn Houtgraaf (Radboud University)

Description of the panel and themes

The behavioral public administration stream aims to integrate psychological research within the study of public administration (Grimmelikhuijsen et al. 2017). Theoretically, public administration scholars have started to borrow and extend theories from the field of psychology and micro-economics. This panel focuses on the use of psychological insights within the field of public administration. This includes the attitudes and judgments of citizens, elected and non-elected public sector workers, including the influence on their decision-making and behaviors.

Examples are the identification of the influence of heuristics on the decision-making of citizens and public officials (DellaVigna and Linos 2020). Citizens can for instance be ‘nudged’ to increase vaccination rates (Milkman et al. 2021) or public sector workers can be biased when interpreting performance information (Baekgaard et al. 2019). Other examples include studies on preferences of local public managers for different policy instruments (Migchelbrink & Raymaekers, 2022).

Methodologically, public administration scholars have recognized the potential of experiments as an advancement of the methodological tool-kit of public administration (Bouwman & Grimmelikhuijsen, 2016; James, Jilke, & Ryzin 2017; Margetts, 2011). Most importantly, experimental research enables systematic research of causes and effects. This panel welcomes papers which use such designs. However, we are also open to other methodological approaches such as surveys and interviews to increase understanding of the relationship between psychology and public administration. We also welcome innovative methods such as diary studies and machine learning.

Currently, the behavioural public administration field is maturing into a field with different subtopics such as administrative burden and the inclusion of micro insights with meso and macro phenomena (Christensen et al. 2020; Roberts 2020). We welcome papers dealing with such topics as well.

The central question we pose is: How can we understand the attitudes and behavior of individual citizens, civil servants, and elected officials in the public domain?

We invite two types of submissions: regular full papers and research design papers. 

The latter are shorter papers that only consist of introduction, theory and methods. This way researchers are encouraged to receive feedback early in the research process, at a time where changes in the design are still possible and useful.

In this panel, we welcome: 

  1. Papers from national and international scholars;
  2. Papers that employ psychological theory to study the behavior of individuals; citizens, elected and non-elected public sector workers;
  3. Papers that use sophisticated methods using the experimental logic of enquiry and other techniques of measurement or reflect on this;
  4. Papers that focus on the discrepancy between (self) reported and actual behavior within the realm of public sector organizations;
  5. Papers that explore meso and macro-level public administration theories with micro-level (individual) data;
  6. Papers that investigate the effects of choice architecture, organizational structure and practices on behavior in the public sector

In terms of topics, we – for instance – welcome papers that focus on: 

  1. Citizen-state interactions;
  2. Administrative burdens
  3. Judgment and decision-making in public organizations;
  4. Citizen satisfaction and trust in government;
  5. The interpretation of performance information by citizens/public managers/politicians;
  6. The effects of administrative reforms on citizens/public employees;
  7. Human-computer interactions
  8. Public servants’ competencies and (individual) performance
  9. The use of behavioral science by and on public officials (for instance through nudges); – Psychology of and pressures on public employees.


Reinout van der Veer, Radboud University
Gijs Jan Brandsma, Radboud University
Esther Versluis, Maastricht University

Description of the panel and themes
This panel is organized by the NIG Colloquium on EU and International Governance, and is open to both members and non-members of the colloquium.
The European Union is under ever-increasing pressure to solve complex societal problems that transcend national borders. Some of these problems are slowly unfolding, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, whereas others present themselves in the form of urgent crises, such as the refugee crisis, the COVID-19-pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
At the same time, effective collective problem-solving is complicated by the decline of permissive consensus, the upsurge of Eurosceptics and populism, and the strong politicization of EU governance at the national level. This contestation hampers further sovereignty transfers to the EU level and makes effective collective action problematic, especially in domains that touch on core state powers and involve distributional conflict. 

As a consequence, the EU is confronted by an increasingly pressing governance paradox: member states’ desire to solve common problems without surrendering too much power to supranational institutions. This paradox, or even contradiction between collective action and member state control, has had important ramifications for the institutional setup, functioning and outputs of EU governance.
Firstly, in recent years we have seen fundamental changes of an institutional nature. The upsurge of crisis and strengthening role of member states has led to important shifts in power between the EU institutions, as epitomized by the rise of the European Council and increasing manifestation of the European Parliament in the wake of the Treaty of Lisbon. These shifts in power also have important ramifications at the national level. The strengthening of the European Council, for instance, requires a recalibration of national coordination structures and complicates effective scrutiny and control by national parliaments.
Furthermore, to bridge the gap between collective problem solving and national control over implementation and enforcement, the member states have pieced together a European Administrative Space, characterized by composite administrative structures such as European Administrative Networks, comitology committees and European agencies. These developments coincide with a more political, flexible approach to enforcement of policies by EU institutions, which further undermines member states’ commitment to adequate implementation of EU legislation.
A second set of changes is attitudinal and behavioral in nature: both EU-level and domestic actors have repositioned themselves in response to these institutional shifts. A key development is the politicization of the European Commission, introduced by Juncker and continued by Von der Leyen. Furthermore, national parliaments have sought to ‘claw back lost powers’ by utilizing newly acquired institutional powers such as the Early Warning System, or improving their information position.
Thirdly, the European governance paradox has played out rather differently in various policy areas. Some areas are characterized by policy stagnation, as is the case in the field of the Common European Asylum Strategy. In other areas, rapid and unprecedented collective action ensued in response to crisis, as evidenced by the Recovery and Resilience Fund and the recent Green Deal.

Types of papers and topics we welcome
1. The domestic public and political attitudes to European integration;
2. The consequences of this political contestation for the EU’s inter-institutional balance and its effects on EU decision making and accountability;
3. The characteristics, functioning and impact of the different institutional elements of the European Administrative Space (European Administrative Networks, comitology);
4. The implications of these EU-level institutional developments for national systems of EU coordination and control;
5. The variant EU’s policy responses to pressing collective action problems, both of a crisis and non-crisis nature;
6. Member states’ responses to these policies, in terms of compliance, implementation and enforcement;
7. EU institutions responses to these national patterns of policy delivery, e.g. in terms of enforcement.
8. Normative assessments of EU governance, e.g. focusing on notions of transparency, accountability, or legitimacy.

Papers can be theoretical, empirical or normative in nature. We welcome both papers that reflect on these topics in general terms, or in applied terms, i.e. focusing on one or more EU policy areas.


Bram Klievink (Leiden University,;
Sarah Giest (Leiden University,;
Albert Meijer (Utrecht University;;
Lukas Lorenz (Utrecht University,
Haiko van der Voort (Delft University of Technology,;
Roel Dobbe (Delft University of Technology,

Description of the panel and themes
The work of government is increasingly digitized and automated. The process has been ongoing for decades and is still in full swing, with new innovations and old systems presenting opportunities and challenges. For instance, governments on all levels increasingly use algorithms – a set of defined steps structured to process instructions/data to produce an output (Kitchin 2017) – for their services and their decisions, as part of a wide push for data-driven and learning-based techniques. Especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) gets a lot of attention. In past years, both promises and concerns of AI use are widely described in the literature. AI may serve public values by making governments more effective and efficient. However, AI may be a threat to public values as well, as they may prove imperfect or biased and its inherent inscrutability may hamper transparency and accountability of governments using AI.

The anticipated effects of AI use by governments are still high. Some authors argue that AI radically alters the nature of the public sector and leads to algorithmic governance, based on its transformative and disruptive character. Nevertheless, the impact of AI can also be heavily constrained by institutional structures in place leading research increasingly to the assumption that its transformative and disruptive character is determined by policy context (e.g. Beer, 2009; Musiani, 2013). Specifically for automating decisions, some scholars point towards the limitations of AI linked to discussions around accountability and clarity of how decisions are made (e.g. Diakopoulos 2013). Research on AI use in the public sector is maturing quickly. In the past, important groundwork has been done on potentials and concerns based on anecdotes and exploratory case studies. As AI use by governments is slowly leaving its infancy, the debates about AI can increasingly be fueled with solid empirical work. Furthermore, it can be better connected to the rich body of work done on digital government, information- and innovation management, and data use in government. This gives inspiration for second order questions that go beyond general promises and concerns of AI use, and embed them in a more integrative view on digitization and government.

Emerging approaches increasingly crosses disciplinary borders, to tackle more nuanced question, such as:
1. What can public administration learn from fields of research such as humanities, law, and computer sciences? (Seaver, 2017; Yeung, 2018);
2. How can AI practices account for existing biases in data as well as marginalized developments and cultural factors (Treré and Milan, 2021);
3. What political or organizational institutions affect tradeoffs between effectiveness and transparency on multiple organizational levels;
4. How do public organizations deal with challenges related to personnel management, the organizational embedding of AI expertise, and a gap between technical experts and decision-makers.
5. What socio-material practices are used in public organizations to adopt machine learning algorithms, work with algorithms, and address unintended consequences (Christin, 2020);
6. What are the specific ethical or operational challenges faced by individual public servants as a result of (big) data and algorithmic governance;
7. Finally, how can one ‘engineer’ (semi-)algorithmic services that are based based on citizen input and short feedback loops?

For more engineering-oriented scholars more integrative approaches can be used, bridging engineering, law, institutions, policy making, execution.

There is still lots to discover. This panel aims to explore and investigate these second order questions and to provide answers about the role, use and effects of AI in the context of a digitizing public sector.The panel welcomes empirical and theoretical papers, and is also open to more normative and reflective work. It especially welcomes interdisciplinary contributions and transdisciplinary work. On the basis of a set of diverse contributions, we aim to engage in an academic debate on the state of the art of AI use and its consequences for a digital government. In this way, we hope to contribute to the ongoing debate as to advance the maturing academic field of Algorithms and Digital Governance.

Types of papers and topics we welcome

Topics include but are not limited to:
– Public values in relationship to AI and (big) data analytics
– AI applications in the public sector
– AI and policy monitoring and analytics
– Smart cities
– Organizational consequences of AI in government
– Big data analytics for policy making
– Digital innovations and innovation management in the public sector
– Public sector information management
– AI implementation cases and strategies
– Regulatory issues related to AI
– The politics of algorithms, including the emergence of new professionals
– The dynamics of ‘networked’ decision-making in relationship to AI
– The impact of AI on democratic values and the governance thereof.


Margot Kersing, PhD Candidate at Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Erasmus University ( | coordinating chair
Kim Loyens, Associate Professor at Utrecht University School of Governance, Utrecht University (
Nadine Raaphorst, Assistant Professor at Institute of Public Administration, FGGA, Leiden University (
Shelena Keulemans, Assistant Professor at Department of Public Administration, Radboud University (
Gabriela Szydlowski, PhD Candidate at Utrecht University School of Governance, Utrecht University ( | coordinating chair) 
Lieke Oldenhof, Associate Professor at Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University (
Noortje de Boer, Assistant Professor at Utrecht University School of Governance, Utrecht University (   

Description of the panel and themes

Street-level professionals, such as social workers, police officers, inspectors, nurses, or teachers, often determine what, how and to whom public services are delivered while operating in uncertain and complex environments. They (must) make these decisions while facing limited resources, juxtaposing different (and often conflicting) values, and operating in challenging and changing environments. These environments are increasingly inter-organizational in nature. They simultaneously navigate ongoing developments such as digitalization, citizen co-production, changing regulatory pressures, and responsive lawmaking that can put conflictual demands on street-level bureaucrats. This panel focuses on understanding the impact of those environments on decision-making of street-level professionals as well as the impact it has on how citizen-clients are evaluated and treated.

First and foremost, street-level professionals must determine how written policies are implemented in real-life situations. These written policies, however, often do not match the complex realities and needs of the citizen-clients with whom street-level professionals interact (Lipsky, 2010). Moreover, policies often involve terms deliberately left open or vague for streetlevel professionals to interpret (Linthorst & Oldenhof, 2020; Raaphorst, 2018). Theoretically, it is important to understand these interpretations because they could involve or lead to, among other things, value tradeoffs, certain attitudes or enforcement styles, and stereotypes in decision-making (e.g., de Boer, 2019; Harrits, 2019; Keulemans & Van de Walle, 2020; Loyens & Maesschalk, 2010; Loyens & Paraciani, 2021; Oldenhof et al., 2014; Raaphorst et al., 2018; Zacka, 2017).

Moreover, in order to deal with societal challenges street-level professionals increasingly collaborate across organizational and professional borders (Noordegraaf, 2011). Instead of making decisions individually, street-level professionals operate in teams, deliberate with other professionals (Møller, 2020), and sometimes have joint decision-making responsibility (Rutz et al., 2015). Moreover, citizen-clients are not passive receivers of services, but are active actors who contribute to this process (Nielsen et al., 2021; Oldenhof & Linthorst, 2022). Different types of street-level professionals are, indeed, perceived differently in terms of intention and ability by citizen-clients (de Boer, 2020) and this has consequences for service delivery. To illustrate, matching individual-level characteristics, such as gender, can increase efforts of both professionals and citizens (Guul, 2018). In this light, it has become ever more important to understand how social dynamics and social relations affect street-level decision-making (Keulemans, 2020), from both the side of the professionals and the citizen-clients.

Lastly, the roles of street-level professionals as decision-makers have been prone to substantial change. Digitalization by means of algorithms and other automated systems have become a core part of how service provision is structured and how professionals and citizens interact (Dunleavy et al., 2006; Eubanks 2018). In turn, discretion has been partially moved from street-level professionals to those designing the automated systems (i.e., system-level bureaucrats). It is important to understand these changing roles of street-level professionals and its effects because it alters the way individual cases are handled (Bovens & Zouridis, 2002; Buffat, 2015). These changes can, ultimately, lead to street-level professionals altering their behavior towards citizen-clients or unfair treatment of some groups of citizen-clients (Eubanks, 2018). Street-level decision-making, thus, has major implications for citizens, who may be discriminated against, differentially treated, or subjected to complex bureaucratic realities.

Ultimately, this panel aims to answer the following questions:
1. What decisions do street-level bureaucrats make and what behaviors and routines do they develop in complex contexts?
2. How do individual, interactional, organizational, and environmental characteristics impact streetlevel bureaucrats’ decisions and behavior, and working conditions, including their evaluation and treatment of citizen-clients?
3. To whom do street-level bureaucrats direct their efforts and grant access to public resources?

Types of papers and topics we welcome

We welcome both empirical and/or theoretical submissions. The research scope of our panel includes the micro-level focus of frontline decision-making and behavior, yet also welcomes contributions that focus on the meso and macro contexts in which these decisions and behaviors are performed.

Furthermore, we welcome submissions from a multitude of research philosophies and (quantitative and qualitative) methods. Methods can include discourse analysis, ethnographic studies, storytelling analysis, interviews, surveys, and experiments.

Since public administration is an interdisciplinary field, we welcome insights from different disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, and organizational studies. Contributions from other relevant fields are also welcome.
Submitted papers can be full manuscripts, research proposals (including PhD proposals or research designs), or anything in between.


Roberta N. Haar (Maastricht University) 
Wolfgang Wagner (VU Amsterdam) 

Description of the panel and themes

Multilateralism, transnational democracy, global governance and the liberal international order are under threat on many fronts. The very nature of global problem solving is being called into question. Russia’s war of choice in Eastern Europe represents only the most recent major challenge to multilateralism and the liberal international order in international affairs. Simultaneously, ongoing challenges continue to undermine multilateralism around the world:

China’s rise as the most important economy is accompanied by increasing tensions in the AsiaPacific region and its preference to form bonds with authoritarian regimes; the United States’ prospect to be led by transactional neo-isolationists who disregard the value of multilateralism and the rise of populist parties in liberal democracies elsewhere; and problems that affect the most vulnerable, including climate change, aging and health, migration, pandemics, information disruption and globalization-fostered inequality.

These challenges are shaping the international community and relations in an unprecedented way, coalescing into two competing world order propositions—one from Moscow and Beijing and the other led by a liberal internationalist Washington, D.C. and Brussels. It could even be that these current contests are a litmus test for the EU’s priorities and aspirations. Certainly, civilianpower measures are prominent in the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This translates into opportunities for the EU to reinvigorate a multi-stakeholder dialogue in a way that moderates politico-military tensions and conflict on a socio-economic terrain.

Types of papers and topics we welcome

The papers in this panel address these questions by a) analyzing the defense, reform, and extension of a range of current multilateral institutions and b) political contestation of multilateralism and the liberal international order in the democracies of the Global North. We welcome papers that draw on either qualitative or quantitative methods (or a mix of both).


Wieke Pot (Wageningen University)
Jorren Scherpenisse (Netherlands School of Public Administration)
Paul ‘t Hart (Utrecht University)

Description of the panel and themes

Today the world is faced with multiple grand sustainability challenges that require governments to develop long-term policies and investments: think of the energy transition, the transition to a circular economy, climate change adaptation, and the loss of biodiversity. Also in other domains, like organized crime and healthcare, there is a need to signal and prepare for contingencies and to think about root causes and prevention, instead of only focusing on immediate response. Meanwhile, short-term crises require a lot of attention and resources and the democratic rule of law is put under pressure by some political leaders and post-truth discussions among citizens. Democratic systems are designed to be accountable to present-day citizens’ needs. Governed by electoral and budgetary cycles, democratic governments have been regularly accused of being myopic – and compared unfavorably to certain forward-looking autocracies – but the evidence is mixed (Bonfiglioli & Gancia, 2013; Nair & Howlett, 2017). In some respects, the public service and other non-majoritarian institutions can exercise stewardship of long-term thinking and interests, but they are either caught up in forms of (functional) politicisation or face the same kinds of pressures of news cycles and social media dynamics that conduce towards short-termism.

To safeguard the needs of future generations within present-day policy making and enable governments to deal with deep uncertainties and address long-term problems more adequately, several innovations are currently being proposed and developed. For example, in evidence-based decision making, several futuring techniques and decision-support methods have been developed to help governments to grasp future uncertainties and develop future visions but they remain underused and often do not support actual decisionmaking processes (Rickards et al., 2014). There are also frameworks available for governments to improve their forward-looking capacities (Gupta et al., 2010) and several authors have listed ideas about new institutions for future generations (IFGs) (Boston, 2017; González-Ricoy & Gosseries, 2016). Wales has a commissioner for Future Generations. Israel had a parliamentary committee. Some municipal councils around the world have reserved seats for ‘the future’ or ‘the unborn’. So far, however, the impact of such institutions and democratic innovations remains unclear.

This panel aims to further explore the causes of and solutions to institutional shorttermism within advanced democratic systems and aims to analyze how democratic innovations, institutional reforms, new collaborations, the interaction between politics and bureaucracy, particular strategies and decision-support methods may stimulate governments to undertake timely action for addressing long-term policy problems. The panel will further develop our understanding of long-termism and inter-generationality in public policy making. It will contribute to evidence-based assessments of various modalities of enhancing long-termism and strengthening intergenerational fairness. It will contribute to research on sustainability governance, futuring, evidence-based policy making, democratic innovations, climate justice, strategic planning, participation and deliberative democracy and political robustness.

The workshop convenors have secured a special issue of the journal Policy Studies to be devoted to these issues. Papers for the NIG panel may be considered for inclusion.

The panel is part of the NIG colloquium on Robust and Time sensitive governance, but people beyond the colloquium are also invited.

Types of papers and topics we welcome

  1. What are needs of future generations and what does inter-generational policy making mean?
  2. What are forms and causes of political myopia at an institutional, cultural, organizational and behavioral level?
  3. How do democratic innovations and institutions for future generations and long-term policy making affect political decision-making processes and strengthen long-term policy making?
  4. How are futuring techniques used by governments, what is their impact on policy making, and how can they better inform policy making?
  5. What is the interplay between bureaucracy and politics when working on long-term policy problems and sustainability transitions? How can bureaucracy strengthen long-termism and what do civil servants do to stimulate long-term policy making?
  6. What are characteristics of collaborations, political leadership or governance arrangements that contribute to forward-looking and inter-generational governmental decision making?
  7. What are governance conditions that enable governmental action towards sustainability transitions?
  8. What type of political and administrative leadership strengthens long-term policy making?
  9. How can governmental systems and organizations be re-thought, re-structured, or redesigned to strengthen long-term policy making and accelerate sustainability transitions?


Susana Coroado (University of Antwerp)
Koen Verhoest (University of Antwerp)
Kutsal Yesilkagit (University of Leiden)
Rik Joosen (University of Antwerp)

Description of the panel and themes

The panel “Public Governance in Turbulent Times” will focus on public organizations and various aspects of governance in times of crisis, polarization, and populism.
In the last few years, societies have faced a number of creeping crises of different nature – the financial crisis, climate change, migrations, the Covid-19 pandemic – which demand fast, but robust action from governments. In other words, amidst a crisis, governments have been expected to formulate policies and take measures that are simultaneously effective in outcome (i.e. that achieve certain policy goals), legitimate in process (i.e. that ensure democratic and legal decision-making), and mindful of the ability and capacity of public organizations to design and implement them (in terms of resources, skills and resilience). At the same time, public organizations are currently faced with increasing distrust, populism and polarization in societies, which create obstacles to face these crises and may undermine the relationship with citizens. These challenges are difficult to understand and reconcile.

Types of papers and topics we welcome:

  1. Resilient public organizations in times of crises: How can public organizations effectively respond to crises while maintaining their organizational resilience and ensuring continuity of service delivery?
  2. Trust in public organizations: What are the factors that influence trust in public organizations, particularly in times of turbulence? How can public organizations build and maintain trust with citizens and stakeholders?
  3. Citizen, civil society, and public governance relationships in times of polarization: How do polarization and political divisions impact the relationship between public organizations, civil society, and citizens? What strategies can public organizations employ to navigate these challenges?
  4. Populism, polarization, and leadership in public organizations: How do populist and polarizing movements impact leadership within public organizations? How can public leaders effectively lead in turbulent times?
  5. Turbulence and bureaucratic autonomy: how do crises, polarization and populism condition and impact upon autonomy in and of public organizations at different levels (individual front-line workers, leaders and at the level of the organization itself) towards its political principals and societal stakeholders?
  6. Legitimacy of crises governance: What are the criteria for evaluating the legitimacy of crisis governance? How can public organizations ensure that their crisis governance approaches are legitimate and effective? 

We invite researchers to submit paper abstracts of 300 to 500 words that address and contribute to our understanding of effective and legitimate public governance in turbulent times, in a context of crisis, polarization, populism. We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers and encourage interdisciplinary perspectives. Proposals should provide the focus, and indications of theoretical frameworks, methodologies as well as data used.


Erik-Hans Klijn (Erasmus University Rotterdam) 
Lauren A. Fahy (Utrecht University) 
Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen (Utrecht University) 

Description of the panel and themes

An authoritative reputation of inspectorates, and comparable supervisory bodies, is key for public trust in regulatory decisions and for compliance by regulatees. Such authority exists when inspectorates are perceived as both competent and fair. Traditionally, such perceptions were grounded in inspectorates’ technical expertise and rational decision making competence. But inspectorates are increasingly subject to contestation (WRR 2013; Twist et al 2013; Koop & Lodge 2020). Their authority, independence, expertise and professionalism are openly questioned in professional sectors, in media, and in public debate. And there are a range of actors that actively try to influence agencies decisions and policy. Increasingly, inspectorates compete with citizen scientists – citizens collecting or reviewing data – and societal ‘surrogate inspectors’. Growing societal complexity changes inspectorate’s work from (more or less straightforward) rule-application to performance amidst ambiguity, uncertainty and dilemmas.

The professional norms, protocols and scientific standards developed alongside legal rules do not solve inherent tensions around professional judgement of inspectors and inspectorates. Inspectorates nowadays are expected to earn public trust not solely through professional technical and legal decisions, but also through public perceptions of their performance and outcomes as legitimate and in the public interest. They seek to establish authority beyond technical and legal expertise, in contributing to the public value for society and in demonstrating effectiveness, empathy, and justice. This is not self-evident in times of increased mediatization of governance where communication and images are key factors (Opperhuizen et al 2020; Schillemans & Pierre 2020); polarization and societal divisions around value conflicts (Stoker 2019; Bressanelli et al 2020; Koop & Lodge 2020); and politicization of scientific expertise. This calls for the question how public authority by inspectorates can be understood, explained, and strengthened. 

Over the last twenty years of scholarship on the topic, bureaucratic reputation (Carpenter 2001) has proved a valuable concept through which to understand the multi-dimensional, contested nature of regulatory authority in contemporary society (Lee & Van Ryzin 2018; Overman et al 2020). Bureaucratic Reputation refers to what people believe an organization to be like:  what they believe it stands for and what they believe it to be capable of (Carpenter 2010) rather than whether it is simply ‘good’ or bad’. Bureaucratic Reputation adds to existing governance concepts such as public trust (Kooiman 2003; Klijn et al 2010; Six & Verhoest 2016); responsiveness (Ayres & Braithwaite 1992) and legitimacy (Scharpf 1997; Kooiman 2003; Tyler 2006). 

Research to date has deepened our understanding of reputation as a shaper of public authority of inspectorates. Critically, studies suggest that when inspectorates have a strong reputation, it fosters collaborative relations with stakeholders and the general public and success (Capelos et al 2016; Busuioc & Rimkuté 2019; Rimkuté 2019), and protects against attacks on autonomy (Carpenter 2010). However, research into inspectorate reputation, its formation, and its role in authority is still burgeoning and many empirical and theoretical questions require further research on multiple fronts. 

Types of papers and topics we welcome

Submissions might address, but do not have to be limited to, the following questions:
1. How can bureaucratic reputation be conceptualized and analyzed in contemporary supervisory contexts?
2. In what ways does bureaucratic reputation differ in nature and function for inspectorates versus other forms of public organizations, or civil society, private, and hybrid organizations?
3. How is inspectorate reputation shaped, and how does it change? What are the respective roles of institutional factors, supervisory strategy, and individual and group psychology of audiences?
4. How does inspectorate reputation interact with the day-to-day regulatory interactions of street-level bureaucracy? Can individual inspectorates build an inspectorate’s reputation? Does the inspectorate’s reputation influence the nature of these interactions?
5. How do the reputations of other actors in an inspectorate’s network ‘spill over’ onto the supervisor? Can this be managed?
6. What are the implications of ‘surrogate inspectorates’ for the reputation and authority of authorized inspectorates?
7. How do reputational considerations drive inspectorate decision making? How has the changing, often politicized, landscape of contemporary supervision changed how inspectorates strategize and act?
8. How can individual inspectorates create a strong reputation when their work is so often invisible and their role so often unclear to the public?
9. In what ways does the reputation of an inspectorate influence compliance by regulatees? What kind of reputation builds versus undermines compliance?
10. How does the reputation of an inspectorate influence citizen support for regulatory decisions and actions?
11. In what ways does bureaucratic reputation function differently in different supervisory domains, different supervisory stakeholder audiences, and in regard to different supervisory tasks?
12. What are the ethical and normative dimensions of bureaucratic reputation? To what extent should inspectorates actively seek to manage reputation?
We welcome empirical as well as conceptual papers. These papers could focus on inspectorates (or comparable supervisory bodies), or on the organizations and individuals who work with them or are supervised by them.


Francessca Colli (Maastricht University) 
Ellis Aizenberg (Leiden University)  
Daphné Charotte (Maastricht University) 

Description panel and themes

Interest groups and civil society are increasingly involved in various aspects of politics. Scholars of domestic and EU policymaking have focused on the role of lobbying and civil society in putting issues on the agenda, shaping policies and monitoring their enforcement. At the international level, civil society organisations interact with international organisations, for example at the UN or in international environmental negotiations. Organisations at all levels form networks of allies and use a range of strategies to advocate for their topics, from the provision of technical information to public protest.

This panel focuses on three different aspects of interest group and civil society involvement in domestic and international politics.

First, while advocacy strategies are well examined by interest group scholars, a range of strategies and targets remain underexplored, including interest group and civil society actions towards corporations and other private actors, and in less-commonly explored policy fields such as foreign policy and security. How are such interactions structured? And how do the commonly used theories in studies of civil society and advocacy in ‘regular’ politics – resource dependency, venue shopping or opportunities – help to explain strategic selection and influence towards these actors?

Second, scholars of regulation and governance have examined interest groups’ important roles in governance, both domestically and internationally. Transnational networks of organisations provide them with the ability and the connections to govern cross-border issues, as demonstrated by the rise of private and hybrid systems governing corporate supply chains, for example. How do such new forms of governance connect with existing analytical frameworks, and where do they fit in the range of interest group actions and strategies?

Finally, there are increasing questions about the accountability and transparency of interest groups. Longstanding concerns about ‘astroturfing’ and recent scandals such as Qatargate in the European Parliament have led to public calls for better regulation of interest groups. What existing forms of regulation exist, and who holds groups accountable when they participate in domestic and international politics? 

Types of papers and themes we welcome

This panel calls for papers discussing interest groups and civil society at national, EU or international levels. We particularly welcome papers that focus on underexplored or alternative targets, policy fields and strategies, bringing new insights on how interest groups work in the 21st century. We are interested in papers that approach the topic from interest groups’ perspective (e.g. strategies and influence) as well as broader analytical approaches (e.g. governance and regulatory theories).


Toon Kerkhoff (Leiden University) 
Andrei Poama (Leiden University) 
Hester Paanakker (Radboud University Nijmegen) 
Marjolein Heerings (Erasmus University Rotterdam) 
Margot Kersing (Erasmus University Rotterdam)   

Description of the panel and themes

This panel aims to feature research on normative questions of good governance, widely understood, i.e. ranging from applied ethics to empirical research on public values and integrity and methodological discussions in the field of administrative ethics. We envision papers on three related themes, but welcome other ideas as well. The first theme would be research on the application of ethical principles to moral questions of public policy and the fulfillment of public office, i.e. concerning decisions and actions undertaken by individual public servants as holders of specific public offices; concerning the design, implementation and reform of specific governmental practices, as considered in the context of reasonable moral disagreement about the scope and content of the said policies and concerning the design and ordering of specific government institutions and organizations, as considered in the context of complex multi-governance networks. The second theme would be research on public values and public value conflict, the study of integrity and anti-corruption and public sector reform in light of good governance. The third theme would be research that engages in meta-theoretical analyses about the disciplinary and methodological commitments of administrative ethics as practiced today. Here, we are concerned with where different methods place administrative ethics in the landscape of contemporary ethical theorizing (e.g., descriptive ethics, normative ethics, meta-normative ethics, meta-ethics).

Types of papers and themes we welcome

We welcome papers on the three themes outlined above (but welcome other ideas as well) in a variety of approaches. Papers can be mono-, or multi-disciplinary, more theoretically or empirically focused, quantitative and/or qualitative. Topics per theme that could be interesting to explore include but are not limited to:

Theme 1: the application of ethical principles
– Ethical reflection on specific individual or systemic actions by public actors, their displayed behavior , etc.
– Ethical reflection on events, procedures, legislation and/or specific cases of public policy, such as specific public-private interactions, the functioning of specific organizations or (current or future) legislative schemes

Theme 2: public values, integrity and anti-corruption and public sector reform
– Research and/or ethical reflection on (causes and consequences of) value pluralism
– Research and/or ethical reflection on specific cases of (lacking) integrity or anticorruption
– Research on and civil service and/or public sector reform and politicaladministrative relations

Theme 3: meta-theoretical analyses
– Discussions on a move from descriptive empirical research to making normative ethical claims about the quality of governance.
– Discussions on methodology of ethical and/or normatively driven research, such as historical archival work, ethnographic research or experimental design.
– Examples of ways in which the empirical study of public administration and politics leads to normative arguments and claims.

Please note: if you have doubts about whether your paper idea fits, please do not hesitate to contact us!


Thomas Hoppe (TU Delft)
Tamara Metze (TU Delft) 
Nihit Goyal (TU Delft)

Description of the panel and themes

Fostering a fair and inclusive energy transition in the Netherlands is a major challenge, particularly in areas that already carry spatial and social burdens related to renewable energy production sites like wind parks and solar meadows. The planning and implementation of Regional Energy Strategies in 30 Energy Regions is complex and politically sensitive as it confronts the interests of many regional stakeholders, and is a multi-sectoral issue. This has to do with inter alia renewable energy production sites requiring substantial use of space, including publicly valued landscapes but also with investments in infrastructure affecting social justice. Costs and benefits of such investments are not equally distributed among socio-economic groups or between rural and urban residents.
In this panel, we address a broad range of public governance questions that arise in regional energy transition. We invite contributions that address questions taking a governance or public policy perspective; for example multi-level governance, deliberative governance adaptive governance, agenda-setting and policy making, regional governance, forward looking governance, policy implementation, network governance, polycentric governance, policy design, innovation in governance (arrangements), including the role and empowerment of citizen collectives and citizens’ participation. We are interested in studies that connect these questions for public governance to questions of social and spatial justice implications of renewable energy policies and projects, and with respect to joint knowledge generation on the dynamics and fairness of citizen-participation in planning as well as in daily operations of new energy systems. This panel session is an activity organized by the
NIG research colloquium on “Energy and Climate Governance”

Types of papers and themes we welcome

We welcome both papers and presentations addressing normative and empirical studies, as well as qualitative and quantitative studies.


Charlotte Wagenaar (Tilburg University) 
Take Sipma (Tilburg University)
Kristof Steyvers (Ghent University)
Liese Berkvens (Ghent University)
Martin Rosema (Universiteit Twente)

Description of the panel and themes

Whilst support for democratic principles remains high, studies have observed dissatisfaction and malfunctioning regarding key elements of democratic practice, such as decline in voter turnout and citizens feeling alienated from the political system. Faced with these developments, calls for more citizen participation have become louder. Policymakers are experimenting with both traditional and more innovative forms of citizen participation such as referendums, citizens assemblies, digital platforms, right to challenge, participatory budgeting and combinations of such tools.

In  this panel we will discuss democratic innovation and citizen participation from various perspectives. We welcome research on for instance design questions, embedding in representative democracy, participation paradoxes, political impact, realisation of democratic values, and quality and legitimacy of public policy decision-making. We are interested in how various modes of participation can be combined to appeal to different subgroups of the population (individual citizens and civil society), and in the role of politicians and civil servants in designing and organising citizen participation.

We will focus on questions such as, but not limited to: How can citizens be motivated to participate and become adequately informed in participation processes? How can different modes of participation be combined to counter each other’s deficiencies? Do different types of citizen participation (such as voting and/or deliberating, online and/or offline) appeal to different population groups? Which participative instruments are most supported by politicians, civil servants and citizens? What should be the role of civil society organisations? Is citizen participation changing relationships between different actors in democracy, and how? Which topics lend themselves to citizen influence and do citizens and politicians agree on this? What does democratic innovation require in terms of skills and support? How can democratic innovations be successfully embedded in existing representative democracies? How should democratic innovations be regulated and evaluated?

We welcome papers on these and related design features, effects and systemic implications of citizen participation and democratic innovation. This panel focusses on democratic innovations in the Netherlands, Belgium and beyond, ranging from empirical studies (e.g. case studies, surveys, focus groups or interview data) to theoretical accounts of the rationale and potential of further facilitating participation and deliberation. We encourage learning from each other about specific cases as well as research methodologies for studying democratic innovation.

We aim for a fruitful mixture of senior, mid-career and early-career researchers, and hence encourage colleagues in all stages who are interested in these topics to join and share and discuss their recent work and work in progress.

Amongst others, we welcome theoretical as well as qualitative and quantitative empirical papers within the realm of democratic innovation and citizen participation focusing on:

  1. description, explanation and evaluation of the current state of citizen participation at different levels of government;
  2. design of democratic innovations, e.g. how processes are organised in terms of themes, participants, logistics, deliberation, voting procedures;
  3. what citizens expect from participation and which roles, guidance or follow-up they would prefer for democratic innovations;
  4. elite perspectives on democratic innovations within the context of representative democracy: what drives politicians or civil servants to engage in such processes, how this affects their role perceptions and which challenges they face in practice;
  5. democratic values realised by democratic innovations, such as inclusion, effectiveness, and citizen competences;
  6. The effect of democratic innovations focused on citizen participation on the role of organized interests and civil society organisations in democracy.

    In sum, this panel welcomes papers focusing on these and other questions surrounding the design, implementation, and effects of democratic innovations, as well as the current and potential future state of citizen participation in democratic systems


Types of papers and themes we welcome

• Academic (working) papers analysing democratic innovations either from an empirical or theoretical perspective, such as, but not limited to, in-depth case studies of specific cases, comparative research on democratic innovations, survey studies on perceptions and preferences for citizen participation, focus group and interview data exploring the preferences of citizens, politicians and civil servants, and theoretical and normative reflections on the application of democratic innovations within a broader democratic context.
• Practitioner papers detailing cases of democratic innovations at subnational levels, reports discussing findings based on survey or interview data collected among participants and organisers of democratic innovations, evaluation studies of participation processes, etc.


Julia Penning de Vries (Utrecht University) j.penningdevries@uu.n
Tanachia Ashikali (Leiden University)  
Caroline Fischer (University of Twente)
Brenda Vermeeren (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Description panel and themes

Public employees are crucial in public service performance (Leisink et al., 2021). After all, good teachers are crucial to the provision of high-quality education, professional health care workers are essential for high quality health care and police officers are necessary for safe streets. As such, managing and leading employees has been considered one of the most important aspects of the management of public organizations (O’Toole & Meier, 2009). However, within public management research, the emphasis has for a long time been more on external stakeholders, whereas less attention has been paid to the management of human capital (Favero et al., 2016; Leisink et al., 2021; Meier et al., 2014). Both human resource management and leadership scholars are interested in the question of how to manage and influence employees (Leroy et al., 2018). In line with previous scholars (Knies et al 2020; Leroy et al., 2018), we argue that in order to increase our understanding of the management of employees in public organizations, both public (human resource) management and leadership should be integrated to learn from each other. Therefore, our proposed panel welcomes research on public management, HRM and public leadership directed towards managing and influencing employees in public organizations.

For a long time, public management scholars have predominantly focused on senior managers. However, line managers play a crucial role in managing employees and therefore it is important to include line managers when interested in managing employees in public organizations (Boselie et al., 2019; Penning de Vries & Vermeeren, 2021). Moreover, as a result of processes of HR devolution and decentralization, line managers are gaining more and more responsibility for managing employees in public organizations (Brewster et al., 2015; Podger, 2017; Tessema et al., 2009). As such, the scholarly interest in line managers has increased over the years, and indicated that they have an influence on mission achievement (Knies et al., 2018), attitudes towards clients (Keulemans & Groeneveld, 2019), inclusive climate (Ashikali, Groeneveld & Kuipers, 2021), team performance (Penning de Vries, 2021) and organizational performance (Brewer, 2005; Vermeeren et al., 2014). In a similar notion bottom-up and shared leadership is also executed in a much more formal way within teams but can have a strong impact on employee motivation and performance. Therefore, our proposed panel welcomes papers interested in management and leadership by all hierarchical levels in public organizations.

Societal challenges
Even though we welcome papers from a broad range of topics with regards to managing and leading public employees, we particularly welcome papers that respond to societal challenges affecting the management and leadership of employees in public organizations. Below, we outline examples of these challenges.
As public organizations increasingly adopt technology to manage their human resources, new challenges have emerged that require further exploration. Be it the use of decision support systems in recruitment or job development based on algorithms, privacy and security concerns surrounding employee data, or the use of augmented or virtual reality in training – human resource managers need to be able to understand the implications of utilizing these technologies. Also, the use of technology in work in general and the transition to virtual ways of working (Gartner, 2020; Kniffin et al., 2020) raise new challenges for leadership and management of personnel. How to lead successfully in a remote way, how to ensure work-life-boundaries in more flexible setups of work and what are the implications of working virtually for teams? The panel welcomes papers that address how technology is impacting ways of working in public organizations as well as the impact of technology applied in public sector human resource management.

Societal diversity will continue to grow due to globalisation and migration of large populations. As a result, public managers and employees need to be able to respond to complex issues and diverse stakeholders, both internal and external to the organization. Leadership is needed to address social processes to foster an inclusive work environment in which all organizational members are involved, can be their authentic selves, and reach their full potential (Ashikali et al., 2021; Randel, 2018). However, there is still limited research and theory on leadership approaches that address employee experiences of work group inclusion (Nishii & Mayer, 2009; Shore et al., 2018). 

The panel welcomes papers that address how management and leadership within teams and organizations contributes to valuing diversity and fostering inclusivity in turn affecting team processes and outcomes. 

Types of papers and themes we welcome

We welcome a variety of submissions, ranging from theoretical/conceptual papers, empirical studies, research proposals (for instance PhD proposals or research designs). As mentioned in the previous section, we welcome submission from a broad range of topics with regards to leading and managing employees in public organizations. We particularly welcome topics that connect


Giselle Bosse (Maastricht University)
Eske van Gils (Groningen University)
Veronica Junjan (Twente University)
Inge Melchior (Maastricht University)

Description panel and themes

The panel focuses on political, societal and governance challenges in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region, with an emphasis on geopolitics, and democratic reform, as well as resilience and identity. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has placed a spotlight on the CEE region, constituting the most severe challenge of European security and liberal internationalist world order since the end of the Cold War. At the same time, the renewed focus on geopolitics and resilience is likely to contradict efforts at fostering democratic reform in the CEE/EaP region, which remains another serious challenge, with democratic backsliding evident in several countries, such as Hungary, Poland or in Georgia. The Russian invasion has also re-opened the debate on European identity, including shifting understandings of belonging to the European family and the definition of European and non-European ‘others’. The panel aims to bring together scholars researching the CEE/EaP region and the Russian Federation, with scholars of political science, international relations, law, history and related disciplines, studying the impact of geopolitics on democratisation and public administrative reforms as well as resilience- and identitybuilding in countries in the CEE/EaP region, and the role and influence of the European Union (EU) and other international organisations in these processes.

Topic 1: Geopolitics

In this theme, we will address different dimensions of the Russian war on Ukraine: What role have international actors played at different stages of the war? How is the war challenging the European and global international order and security architecture? What factors, including political, geopolitical, ideological, and other factors, influenced Russia’s decision to conduct a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine? The war has altered the state, society, military, and/or economy of Ukraine (and/or Russia). What are the effects of these shifts on Ukraine and other states in the region? Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began in 2014. What can the dynamics of the Russia-Ukraine conflict since 2014 teach us about the war in 2022? How have social media affected the war? Unprecedented flows of refugees from Ukraine and internal displacement within Ukraine were brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How will this migration affect Ukraine and Europe? What has been the reaction of the EU, the US and other international actors to the war against Ukraine, how can their responses be explained and how what lasting effects will the invasion have on their foreign policies?

Topic 2: Democratisation, including public and administrative reforms

In this theme, we will address the drivers, opportunities for and blockages against democratic and economic reforms in the CEE/EaP region. We take stock of developments in democracy-building, and identify, analyse and explain behavioural, institutional and structural blockages to democratic reform, and the conditions under which they can be overcome: What is the current state of democratic reform and backsliding in the CEE/EaP region, including the rise of competitive authoritarianism? Which domestic and international factors and actors impact on democratisation and public and administration reforms in the CEE/EaP region, and how effective is democracy promotion in the countries in the CEE/EaP region? What is the role of EU democracy promotion, and are there tensions between democracy promotion and the EU’s declared aim to become a more geopolitical and pragmatic international actor? What new tools of democracy promotion should be developed and in how far does the ‘agency’ of local actors or societal relations in CEE/EaP countries play a role in overcoming blockages to democratic reform, including public and administrative reforms? A particular emphasis is placed on the political and administrative transformations linked to the candidate status and accession processes of Ukraine and Moldova.

Topic 3: Fostering resilience in the CEE/EaP region

Over the past decades, the policies of the EU and other international organisations and institutions towards the CEE/EaP region have evolved from a top-down approach to democratisation and state-building towards a more pragmatic approach that seeks to foster resilience: Many countries in the CEE/EaP region still suffer from internal party contestation and political paralysis, socio-economic challenges and areas of limited statehood. To what extent are the EU and other international actors enhancing resilience? Can resilience jeopardise democratisation in the CEE/EaP region, and how do state-centric approaches to resilience-building impact on hybrid and authoritarian regimes? Can an approach to resilience that focuses on local agency and societal processes make a difference and what would such an approach look like in practice? What is the relationship between resiliencebuilding and geopolitics, in particular in the contemporary context of CEE/EaP politics and a changing international order? Lastly, how can we critically examine the concept of resilience itself? 

Topic 4: Shifting notions of European identity and conceptualisations of the ‘other’

A dimension that remains unexplored or perhaps even ‘unseen’ by approaches focused on ‘hard’ security and geopolitics, is the impact of the war on European identity, and shifts in how it is represented, (re)written and (re)constituted. For example, references to European identity, community, values and memories have featured very heavily in the official communications and discourses of the EU in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The focus is on identifying and analysing representations of European identity, with a particular emphasis on shifts (and continuities) in positive representations of the EU’s ‘self’ such as shared values, morals, ideals and obligations, as well as exclusionary representations pertaining to for example difference, danger, and conceptualisations of the ‘other’.

Types of papers and themes we welcome

The panel aims to bring together scholars of areas studies researching the CEE/EaP region and the Russian Federation, with scholars of political science, international relations, law and related disciplines.


Nihit Goyal (TU Delft)
Robbert Biesbroek (Wageningen University) 
Stephan Huber (TU Delft) 

Description of the panel and themes

Increasingly, societies across the world are confronted with multiple interconnected challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, environmental pollution, growing inequality, access to energy, healthcare, and mobility services, affordable housing, political instability and displacement, and rising populism. In many cases, responding to these ‘polycrises’ requires transformative change. In turn, governing such transformations will in turn require policy innovations (UNRISD, 2016) – i.e., non-incremental and contextually novel change in policy problem framing, policy instrument (mixes), and/or policy processes (Goyal and Howlett, 2023) – to catalyse and synergise the underlying cultural, economic, social, and technological developments in society. Although much research has been done on policy innovation from the perspectives of policy change, policy diffusion, and policy evaluation (Jordan & Huitema, 2014a, 2014b), we know relatively little about the phenomenon in the context of transformative social change.

The issues that beset research on policy innovation include: (i) the lack of a cogent and comprehensive understanding of the notion of policy innovation (Howlett, 2014); (ii) a bias towards studying innovations in policy design rather than innovations in policy processes (Goyal and Howlett, 2023); (iii) limited engagement in the literature on how characteristics of complex socio-economic, socio-environmental, and socio-technical systems – such as polycentricity, policy spill-over, nexus policymaking, technological disruption, transnationalization, and uncertainty – influence policy innovation (Goyal et al., 2022); and (iv) a dearth of scholarship on how policy innovation affects transformative social change. As a result, our understanding of the phenomenon remains insufficient for effectively fostering policy innovations for transformative social change.

The aim of this panel is to advance scholarship in order to create academic and policyrelevant knowledge on explaining and promoting policy innovation for transformative social change. We welcome diverse views on policy innovation from different theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives. Research questions that fall within the scope of this panel include – but are not limited to – the following.

  1. What is policy innovation in the context of transformative social change?
  2. Why and how do governments innovate in policy processes?
  3. How do the characteristics of complex systems influence policy innovation?
  4. When and how does policy innovation catalyse transformative social change?

This panel can contribute to the body of literature on public policy by developing an integrated, systematic understanding of policy innovation, advance scholarship on policy process theories by developing, extending, and/or refining them in the context of sociotechnical systems, and further the synthesis of policy studies with behavioural studies, global studies, and innovation studies. Further, it can contribute to research on transformative social change.       

Types of papers and themes we welcome

We invite early career researchers and experienced scholars to submit papers engaging with the research questions mentioned above or other research questions pertaining to policy innovation and its relationship with transformative social change in any policy area and social context. We are especially interested in submissions that challenge conventional thinking, combine diverse perspectives, or investigate understudied settings in public policy. Further, we welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions to this panel.



Leon Hermans (IHE-Delft)
Alex Lopez Alberola (TU Delft
Wijnand Veeneman (TU Delft)
Ellen Minkman (TU Delft)

Description of the panel and themes

Worldwide, societies are experiencing climate change and facing the consequences of the changing climate. Spanish farmers warned in April 2023 that this year’s harvest will be lost due to the prolonged drought that the country is experiencing. Flooding is increasing in the world’s delta regions and urban deltas are increasingly under pressure. Even the Netherlands – known for its excellent water management – is struggling. More extreme weather events in summer increase both the chance of droughts as well as flooding events, like the one in July 2021 in Limburg, the Netherlands. On the other hand, dry and hot summers cause other problems. Dry spells threaten agriculture through a shortage of fresh water and increasing salinization and reduce the navigability of rivers, with disturbing low water levels in the German Rhine as notable example in 2022. Especially the eastern and southern part of the Netherlands, which are characterized by sandy soils, are vulnerable for these issues. Urban areas face other challenges though, with the urban heat island being increasingly problematic in cities with much paved surface. Other regions in the world face similar and even more impactful consequences of climate change and struggle to adapt. It is well-established that certain human activities may reinforce (the consequences of) climate change. Examples include accelerated land subsidence following (excessive) groundwater extraction, freshwater shortages and increased vulnerability to flooding in densely populated areas. At the same time, human activities may aim at mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

The uncertain future, especially in the context of the climate, presents a major issue for the management of water resources. Particularly projects with a long-term focus like infrastructure (e.g. dikes and hydraulic engineering works) and urban (re-)development should be developed ‘future proof’. Such projects often require a lengthy preparation period of decision making and take even longer to be implemented. One must therefore approach the topic with an acknowledgement of these factors in an aim towards a transformative tomorrow.

Water management must give adaptivity top priority if it is to meet the abovementioned challenges of climate change. This consists of adaptable measures and solutions that can change over time. These may include water-smart cities and blue-green infrastructure in urban water management; re-use and local water storage for agricultural regions; and different distribution of the (decreasing) freshwater supply between the various regions and users.

This calls for – amongst others – increasing adaptive capacity, transition management and adaptive delta management. Furthermore, forward-looking goals and decision-making under extreme uncertainty are also essential for ensuring the resilience of water management. This panel therefore concentrates on the challenges of, conditions for and experiences with climate change adaptation in water management. In particular, we concentrate on the governance of climate change adaptation.

Governance of climate change in water management
Society’s resilience to the ongoing climate crisis, particularly in relation to water systems, is essential given the growing threats of drought and other water-related hazards. Building resilience requires transformative changes to regions and systems, but suitable forms of governance and collaboration are essential to achieving this goal (Termeer et al., 2017).

Governance is a crucial component of the broader system of activities related to adaptation, transition, and transformation. Effective governance enables the necessary measures to support incremental transformative change of regions and systems, ultimately contributing to greater adaptivity and resilience (Pelling, 2010). Decision-making must be adaptive to support this process in socio-technical-ecological-systems in society (Folke, 2005), which requires appropriate governance structures in place. Adaptive governance coordinates multiple actors in implementing and mainstreaming adaptive measures, and building adaptive capacity, which is essential to enhancing the resilience of water systems and communities to climate change impacts and other stressors.

Moreover, adaptive governance can foster a more inclusive, just, and participatory approach to decision-making, ensuring that diverse stakeholders are involved in governance processes. This panel will explore how different actors can work together to foster adaptive governance and build adaptive capacity, ultimately contributing to greater resilience in water systems and communities. In conclusion, combining transformative changes, suitable forms of governance, and adaptive decision-making is essential for society to build its capacity to adapt and transform in the face of climate change.

Challenges in climate change adaptation governance
Effective governance of climate change adaptation calls for cross-boundary collaboration, including collaboration between sectors (water, agriculture, spatial planning, environment, energy, etc), between policy levels from the very local to the international level, and between state and nonstate actors such as the private sector and citizens. However, aligning the interests, approaches and activities across boundaries is challenging. Especially bridging top-down approaches with bottomup initiatives causes tensions.

Panel focus
This panel aims to bring together insights from scholars working on climate change adaptation, transition management and water management. This should help gain new insights in conditions for and barriers to effective climate change adaptation in the field of water management, evaluate the effectiveness of existing governance arrangements in realizing adaptation and develop possible interventions or arrangements to build adaptive capacity.

Types of papers and themes we welcome

  1. Conceptual and empirical studies on governance of climate change adaptation, transition pathways and adaptive capacity building.
  2. Methodological contributions on how to monitor and/or evaluate climate change adaptation governance. 
  3. Lessons from all over the globe regarding (in)effective climate change adaptation in water management, e.g. through single or comparative case studies.
  4. Studies into the question of how to bridge short-term challenges with long-term perspectives as well as bottom-up initiatives with top-down strategic pathways for future water management. This includes integrating citizen participation and dealing with tensions between local and national government policies.
  5. Any other contributions related to the governance of climate change adaptation in the field of water management.

    Please note that the panel has no specific geographical focus.


Erik-Jan van Dorp (Utrecht University)
Shivant Jhagroe (Leiden University)

Description of the panel and themes

The aim of this panel is to discuss critical and/or interpretive studies in public administration research. Critical public administration is a reflective and normative approach that explicitly scrutinizes and questions the hegemonic paradigms and (implicit) values that inform both theory and practice of public administration. In doing so, it generally draws on critical theory. An example of critical studies could be a Foucaultian discourse analysis of climate policy.

Interpretive approaches to public administration focus on ‘the meanings of policies, on the values, feelings and/or beliefs which they express, and on the processes by which those meanings are communicated to and “read” by various audiences’ (Yanow, 1996, pp. 8-9). Interpretive studies tend to be strongly grounded in fieldwork, with scholars studying the different levels of administrative, political, or organizational life up close and personal. They zoom in on daily practices, routines and interactions of diverse actors – whether representatives, public managers, policy makers, frontline workers, or citizens– and their sense-making, framing or storytelling practices.

To some, critical and interpretive approaches go hand in hand. Others portray themselves as engaging in one, but not necessarily the other. Nonetheless, critical and interpretive scholars may find each other in an ambition to explore, at a fundamental level, the way in which actors ‘construct the world through acting on beliefs they also construct’ (Bevir & Rhodes, 2010, p. 73). It is this critical or reflexive stance towards knowledge production that feeds a common ground; both problematize the idea of the objectively knowable. 

We welcome all papers on topics that fit with CIPA. We particularly welcome papers that deal with the triad of politics, public policy, and front-line service delivery. After a pandemic and many scandals, we are reminded that the state wields awesome, and sometimes crushing, powers. These powers often materialize in professional practice at the frontline. While there is no shortage of instrumental and evaluative studies of public policy implementation, we encourage researchers to contribute their critical and interpretive perspectives.

This panel is part of the NIG Colloquium Critical and Interpretive Public Administration, originated in 2019, and aims to ‘further develop and improve interpretive and critical approaches in terms of content, method and output and more firmly establish them within the landscape of public administration research.’ This panel is one of the platforms in which this colloquium gets substance. Often, researchers employing critical or interpretative methods meet each other in conference panels organized by empirical topic rather than theoretical approach. This panel provides a reflexive space for critical and interpretative scholars to enter into conversation about their research and its contributions to the broader discipline of public administration.

Types of papers and themes we welcome

The panel welcomes quality papers that explicitly apply a critical or interpretive approach, as well as reflexive papers about what ‘interpretive’ or ‘critical’ public administration research means or should mean. Because this panel is presented by a colloquium which emphasizes networking, we also welcome contributions that deviate from the traditional research paper format. These could include e.g., a research proposal, a column or a methodological contribution.

This means that papers can cover a wide array of topics, from an ethnographic account of front-line practices to a reflective study of dominant discourses in public administration research itself. Or from a narrative analysis of a decision-making process to a paper discussing comparative analysis using critical theory. We particularly welcome papers that deal with the politics and practice of public policy implementation. 

Conference fees

The conference fees for our 2023 conference depend on your affiliation with NIG.

  • The conference is free for people who are a NIG member. If you are a NIG member, you do not have to fill out the invoice information on the registration form.
  • The conference costs 175,- euros for people employed by a NIG member university. All member universities can be found here. 
  • The conference costs 225,- euros for people not employed by a NIG member university


Are you unsure whether you are a member? E-mail us

Practical information

Hotel recommendations

We recommend the following hotels near TU Delft:

  • The Social Hub – this hotel is next to Delft central station and a 20 minute walk from the TU Delft campus. More information about this hotel can be found here
  • Hotel Arsenal Delft – this boutique hotel in the city center of Delft is at a 10 minute walk from Delft central station and at a 15 minute walk from the TU Delft campus. More information about this hotel can be found here
  • WestCord Hotel Delft – this hotel is near the A13 highway, which makes it a good suggestion for attendees who travel by car. The hotel is 2 km from the TU Delft campus. More information about this hotel can be found here



Conference attandeescan use the parking facilities on the TU Delft campus from Monday to Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM against payment. The parking rate is € 2.00 per hour, with a maximum rate of € 10.00 per day. In addition, you can always park (and drive out) for free for the first 30 minutes. Outside these times, the access system is in operation, but parking is free for everyone for the time being.