Government should be more efficient, effective and economical

Lode De Waele wrote an opinion piece for Knack about possible pitfalls in making the government more efficient, effective and economical. The article (in Dutch) is available on the following website: click here

Webinar on 'How to Collaborate for Innovation'

Koen Verhoest presented the work on 'How to Collaborate for Innovation' at Sciensano.

TROPICO Online Summit 2020

TROPICO Online Summit 2020 organised three virtual sessions.

The first session’s focus was on Collaborating for Digital Transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second session investigated Digital Transformation: The Challenge of Better Collaboration within Government. The final session of the TROPICO Online Series focused on Public-private collaboration for ICT-enabled service innovation. 

Insights and video recordings are now available. Watch the recordings

Innovation through Collaboration and Co-creation

Koen Verhoest and Emmanuel Dockx presented their work on innovation through collaboration and co-creation in the webinar series organised by the Flemish government's Senior Civil Service (Voorzitterscollege). In this webinar, the researchers discussed the most important findings, lessons and recommendations from their research project on ‘Innovation through Collaboration and Co-creation’ in the Flemish government (Policy Research Centre Governance Innovation). What is the current state of innovation in the Flemish government? What type of innovations are being developed (new policy, new technologies, services and processes)? Are these innovations developed alone or in collaboration with other actors? To what extent are they satisfied with the innovations and are the innovations actually tested and/or implemented? What is the influence of organisational culture, red tape, innovation capacity and collaboration on innovation outcomes? Based on the results of a broad survey among senior civil servants in the Flemish government, the researchers elaborated on their findings regarding the necessary conditions for organisations to innovate, whether or not in collaboration and co-creation with other actors. They also presented recommendations and action points to strengthen the Flemish government’s innovation and co-creation capacity as well as it’s agility.​

Lesson of the Century on "Corona-related Social Science Research"

The University of Antwerp's Faculty of Social Sciences organised an event Lesson of the Century on February 5, 2021. The topic of the event was "Corona-related Social Science Research" and was aimed at an audience of 16 to 18 year old secondary school students. From the GOVTRUST consortium, prof. dr. Koen Verhoest and prof. dr. Karolien Poels contributed to the event. Koen Verhoest talked about the research on trust in government and compliance with corona measures. Karolien Poels talked about addressing concerns on the COVID-19 vaccines through appropriate communication. More information or video recordings of the presentations (in Dutch).

GOVTRUST Annual Symposium

On 29 January 2021, the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence organised its first (online) Annual Symposium. The purpose of the first GOVTRUST Annual Symposium was to introduce the work of GOVTRUST and involve the broader community working in the field of trust, regulation and multi-level governance. The theme of the Symposium was “Trust and the COVID-19 Crisis: Regulation and Compliance in Multi-level Governance”. During this seminar, guest speakers as well as members of the GOVTRUST consortium presented recent work on the topic of trust and the coronavirus crisis, identified key learning points, and raised some crucial questions and issues for discussion. You can now look back at the Symposium and download presentations.

PSI-CO Online Conference 'Public Sector Innovation through Collaboration'

To conclude the PSI-CO project, we organised an online conference on January 21, 2021. During this conference both from researchers and practitioners talked about how innovation through collaboration can best be achieved. How should the collaboration be managed? But also: what characteristics do innovative organizations have and what role is reserved for the federal government with regard to innovation? The conference consisted of three thematic sessions. Session 1 on 'Innovation through collaboration: Why, with whom and how to manage it?'. Session 2 on 'Organizational conditions at play in collaborative innovation context'. Session 3 on 'How to stimulate collaborative innovation in government?' More information.

Special issue VTOM on innovation in the public sector

The latest special issue of VTOM (Vlaams Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement; 2020-4) focuses on innovation in the public sector. Innovation is important for governments in order to deliver good services to citizens and society and in order to solve complex problems. The articles in this special issue cover a variety of challenges associated with collaborative innovation. In addition, the articles illustrate the ambitions and commitments of various Belgian and Flemish government organizations in this matter. Finally, they also draw some first lessons from (collaborative) innovation in the public sector. The special issue collects contributions from various ongoing projects (PSI-CO, TROPICO, SBV) involving several researchers from the PPG research group.

Find out more about VTOM's special issue (in Dutch) on innovation in the public sector on their website.

The editorial of this special issue is now freely available - Download editorial (only in Dutch).

The EU-funded TiGRE project presents a series of research seminars to the scholarly community and the general public

​Webinar Series on Trust and Regulatory Governance in an Age of Crisis

Issues of trust and regulation stand at the centre of social science analysis in the last decades. They are becoming even more important nowadays with the Covid-19 crisis. Our aim in this series of seminar talks is to present the basic scholarly concepts and ideas around the topic; to promote an advanced analysis and to discuss the issues on the agenda from a theoretical, historical and comparative perspective.

Scheduled webinars:

  • Trustworthy Government and Legitimating Beliefs — Professor Margaret Levi — 11 November 2020
  • Trust and Vaccination — Professor Koen Verhoest — 18 November 2020
  • Political Orientation, Trust in Social and Political Institutions and Adoption of Protective Behavior During the Pandemic — Professor Gustavo Mesch — 26 November 2020
  • Trust, Polarization and Excess Mortality for COVID-19 across European regions — Professor Victor Lapuente — 3 December 2020
  • Contestable trust and democratic governance — Professor Valerie Braithwaite — 10 December 2020
  • Trust in digital technologies: from contact-tracing apps to policies for Trustworthy AI — Professor Andrea Renda — 15 December 2020
  • Trust and Rule Compliance — Professor Frédérique Six — 17 December 2020
  • Trust and distrust in transformations — Professor Dominika Latusek-Jurczak — 14 January 2020

TiGRE Webinar series on “Trust & Regulatory Governance in an Age of Crisis” is extended with new sessions. More information and webinar schedule

New reports on collaboration and innovation in the public sector

​Emmanuel Dockx, Stephanie Verlinden and Koen Verhoest wrote two research reports (in Dutch) on collaboration and innovation in the public sector.

Collaboration, learning and innovation in the public sector occupy a prominent position in the policies of many OECD countries. In addition to traditional instruments, collaboration and innovation (through collaboration) are regarded as important tools for tackling complex, disruptive and cross-sector policy issues (or 'wicked issues'), especially at a time when trust in government is under pressure and citizen demands grow stronger. Despite this awareness, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about which factors shape the outcomes of and trust within inter-organizational collaborations and which organizational capacities ensure that public (and private) organizations can connect with and learn from one another.

1) In a recent (Dutch) research report, Emmanuel Dockx and Koen Verhoest identified crucial factors that determine the success of cross-sectoral collaborative arrangements. The report not only provides an insight into how these arrangements and associated challenges are experienced by those involved, but also how network managers can meet these challenges in order to ensure successful innovation, fruitful collaboration and trust among involved partners. The full report can be downloaded here.

2) In another (Dutch) research report, Emmanuel Dockx, Stephanie Verlinden and Koen Verhoest assessed how various organizational conditions and capacities affect whether and how public innovations are developed, tested and implemented – where necessary in collaborative arrangements. The report formulates 13 recommendations linked to 43 specific action points for public managers and practitioners. The full report can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact: Emmanuel Dockx (

Pension reform new Federal Government

Professor Janvier has read the coalition agreement of the new belgian government and wrote down some thoughts. (In: Knack)

​The recently formed Federal Government aims to increase the pensions to 1500 euro. However, a lot of uncertainty and fine prints exist in the current agreement. Ria janvier, a pension experts, wrote an opinion piece for Knack (Dutch only).Read the full article

Will Belgium's new government delays push the country to split?

Professor Bursens (UAntwerp) explains the current Belgian situation and challenges in Euronews.

A new article in euronews focusses on the new federal government. Peter Bursens explains the lack of credibility, the apathy of voters, the linguistic cleavage and possible reforms of the state.

Read the full article 

Blog: How wealthy lobby groups benefit from a silent media

​Frederik Stevens and Iskander de Bruycker wrote a blog based on a new study.

Affluent interest groups are often said to enjoy a greater capacity to influence policy when compared to economically deprived groups. Yet, academic studies find no consensus about the validity of this commonly held belief. Drawing on a new study, Frederik Stevens and Iskander De Bruyckersuggest that the role of economic resources for lobbying influence is mediated by the attention that policy issues attract in the news media. Their study shows that wealthy lobby groups are indeed more influential on EU policies, but their competitive advantage disappears for issues which are highly salient in the news media.

Read the full blog here.

Blog: reputation management

​Jan Boon, Jan Wynen and Koen Verhoest on the different audiences targeted by public sector organisations when managing their reputation

Jan Boon, Jan Wynen and Koen Verhoest wrote a blog on the different audiences targeted by public sector organisations when managing their reputation The blog is based on 41 Flemish government organisations

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Boon, Jan; Verhoest, Koen; Wynen, Jan (2020) ‘What determines the audiences that public service organisations target for reputation management?’ [Open Access], Policy & Politics

Shangai Ranking 2020

​Public Administration research at University of Antwerp ranked 26th on Global Shangai Ranking for PA 2020.

The ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) for the field of public administration 2020 has ranked the public administration research at the University of Antwerp on the 26th place in the world. Methodology is strongly based on WoS publications and this position is based upon the period 2014-2018. Although the focus on publications creates some volatility over time, it does show that the PA research at the UAntwerpen is up to par with other international groups.  Public Administration research at UAntwerpen in this ranking of 2020 holds the 1st position in Belgium, before the other Flemish and Walloon universities (closest is KULeuven at place 35).

Stakeholder Mobilization in Financial Regulation: A Comparison of EU Regulatory Politics over Time

​Bastiaan Redert (University of Antwerp- published an article in the Journal of Common Market Studies

AbstractCurrent scholarship is inconclusive whether stakeholder involvement in regulatory politics can be legitimizing. This article argues that stakeholder involvement can only be legitimizing if bias in mobilization is limited. As bias is limited if a heterogeneous set of stakeholders participates mobilizes, stakeholder mobilization in public consultations on EU financial regulation is examined. Due to the financial crisis and subsequent institutional reforms, stakeholders' perception on who is affected by regulation and the reach of the agencies' operations has changed. Subsequently, mobilization is expected to be more heterogenous. The analysis is based on a novel dataset of stakeholder responses to public consultations of the European Supervisory Authorities before and after the financial crisis and reforms. The results show shifts in interest mobilization, but these do not follow the research expectations. Therefore, the findings show that public consultations do not necessarily decrease bias. As such, consultations show important limits for legitimizing EU regulatory policies.