Content description

The GOVTRUST Summer School focuses on a multi-level perspective on trust and public governance for societal transitions. Creating and maintaining trust in public governance is essential for a well-functioning society, especially when this trust is more than ever under pressure in the face of grand societal challenges. Such grand societal challenges - e.g. climate change, digitalisation or global pandemics - emphasise the complexity of contemporary governance, as they require collaborative efforts from public, private and non-profit actors as well as individual citizens in multi-layered decision-making arenas.

For such complex governance systems to perform well, trust is a fundamental condition. While a certain degree of distrust between societal actors might be functional in specific instances, the recurring reports of breakdowns in trust point to significant problems for society. When trust evaporates, cooperation between citizens, private and non-profit organisations, and public actors is compromised, making an effective governance of societal transitions very hard to achieve. Governments and societal actors therefore increasingly seek ways to foster trust.

Drawing on high-level scientific expertise from multiple disciplines (incl. political science, communication science, law, behavioural economics and public administration), the GOVTRUST Summer School investigates a wide range of critical questions about the dynamics, causes and effects of trust and public governance from a multi-level perspective. Through a combination of (guest) lectures, discussions and workshops, participants will be stimulated to think across disciplinary boundaries, interact with each other and engage with speakers from academic and professional backgrounds. 

Target group

PhD students, senior (postdoctoral) researchers, practitioners and policymakers interested in trust and public governance. Multi-disciplinary participation is strongly welcomed.
The number of participants will be limited to 30 students. 


This summer school takes place at Stadscampus (Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp) of the University of Antwerp. This campus is located in the city centre.

Study credits (ECTS)

Successful completion of the summer school can be awarded with 3 credits according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The certificate of completion is also issued as a micro-credential.

Credits will be awarded on the base of completion of the following work: ​

Preparatory work

  • General and topical readings 
  • Watching short introductory videos related to the lectures 
  • Prepare and submit a one-page note on their expertise, how this relates to the GOVTRUST Summer School topic, and key questions they encounter related to the topic 
  • Prepare and submit a full paper (draft) in relation to a topic covered in the GOVTRUST Summer School; papers can be conceptual, theoretical or empirical in nature 

On campus programme 

  • Five days, including (guest) lectures, seminars, and workshops 
  • Interactive group sessions with a focus on peer feedback 
  • 100% (active) participation is required