The GOVTRUST Summer School takes place from Monday 19 to Friday 23 August 2024, each day from approximately 9:00 to 17:00 (CET).

​The programme consists of a combination of (guest) lectures, discussions and workshops.

Please find below an overview of the sessions covered in the GOVTRUST Summer School. Note that we are still developing the programme and more sessions will be announced soon.


  • Defining and theorising trust​

Trust is a complex concept and its role is often contested. The goal of this session is to conceptualise trust and distrust; to clarify how the concept of trust is theoretically and empirically related to other concepts such as legitimacy, control and reputation; to gain an understanding of the dynamics, causes and effects of trust between actors, and; to identify the key themes within the trust literature.

Lecturer: tba

  • Workshop on methods for trust research

In general, trust research is characterised by the use of a wide diversity of experimental, quantitative and qualitative methods. Studying trust in multi-level settings poses interesting methodological questions and often calls for innovative and interdisciplinary methodological approaches. The goal of this session is to briefly introduce participants to diverse methods relevant to the study of trust, and to delve into the methodological challenges encountered by participants in their trust research.

Lecturers: Koen Verhoest and others

  • Trust and regulatory governance

Regulation is a key political-administrative process involving the promulgation of rules and the creation of dedicated bodies and mechanisms to monitor, assess and enforce these rules. Within regulatory regimes, several actors interact across different governance levels (such as regulators, political authorities, administrative bodies, judicial bodies and courts, regulatees and their interest organisations, consumer and other societal interests, as well as the media), configuring a dense web of relationships. A major societal issue is that of the role and dynamics of trust and distrust in those regulatory relationships. The goal of this session is to investigate the role of trust in the different relations within regulatory regimes, incl. the extent to which regulatory regimes require trust to function properly; the extent to which regulatory regimes enhance trust; the determinants and effects of trust within regulatory regimes. The session will build on the research from the EU H2020 TiGRE project.

Lecturer: Koen Verhoest

  • Trust and multi-level governance in the EU

Federalism and multi-level governance are at the heart of contemporary politics. Nowadays, spheres of authority at different governance levels (international, European, central, regional and local) are often entangled, which is known as multi-level governance (MLG). As such, MLG is often seen as a useful approach for capturing the increasingly complex and shared nature of public decision-making in federal systems. The goal of this session is to elaborate on the importance of public trust in various levels of government for preserving system viability; and to understand the principle of mutual trust in the context of federalism and the EU.

Lecturers: Peter Bursens and Patricia Popelier

  • Trust and judicial governance​

Trust is said to be a necessary condition for the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the judicial system. At the same time, because of the system of checks and balances, a certain degree of ‘distrust’ is also an important condition for the performance of the judicial system. The goal of this session is to consider the concept of trust in relation to legitimacy of and public support for the judiciary; and to elaborate on the (drivers of) different trust relationships within the judicial system (i.e. trust between judicial actors) as well as citizens’ trust in judicial actors or the judicial system (interpersonal, interorganisational and system trust).

Lecturer: Esther van Zimmeren - Guest lecturer: tba

  • Paper workshop

The paper workshop will provide participants with guidance on the development of their previously submitted paper. Participants get the opportunity to present their paper and receive individual feedback from a panel of lecturers. The focus is on providing participants with practical and constructive feedback.

Lecturers:  Panel of discussants dependent on topics covered in papers submitted