PhD Masterclass on the conceptual foundations of public governance

A great opportunity for PhD candidates to learn from Prof. B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS), Public Administration and Policy
Date Wed 26 October 2016
Time 09:00 to 17:00
Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN

This class will examine the conceptual foundations of contemporary public governance, interrogating key ideas and concepts that currently frame governance theory and practices. Recent decades have witnessed shifts of societal steering from ‘traditional’ hierarchic government to public-private networks surrounding ‘complex’ or ‘wicked’ problems. These shifts have been accompanied by a rapid development of governance theories, studying new modes of governance (e.g. network governance, collaborative governance, adaptive governance, interactive governance), new types of policy instruments, ideational dynamics (belief systems, framing, discourse coalitions), and challenges of coordination and integration, inter alia. Getting to grips with conceptual innovation is important for scholars as they seek both to understand the complex evolution of governance, and to be more rigorous and self-conscious about conceptual usage in their own research practice.

This master class will allow students to explore the evolution of the conceptual field of public governance; to interrogate critically the concepts which play a central role in governance practices and innovations; and to present conceptual problems they are experiencing in their own research for collective discussion. Since the topic is broad, the aim of this short course is not to provide exhaustive coverage of individual concepts but rather to present an historical overview, to examine approaches to conceptual analysis, to explore a series of conceptual exemplars, and to focus on conceptual issues students are wrestling within their own research activities. Students will be asked to nominate up to three concepts — which they find particularly interesting or important for their research work — when they register for the class, and as much as possible these will be incorporated into the discussion.

More info here:

Team Building for Inclusive Development

As I mentioned in my last post, I am in Kenya to elaborate a research proposal. The basic idea is to look at challenges and opportunities related to inclusive development.

Last Friday we came together with our Kenyan partners and worked through an challenging agenda to arrive at a more concrete idea for what the research project should look like.

We started by identifying out own passions and strengths and then identified our networks.

Meet the Team


Even with the diversity of actors in the room (social movement leaders, NGOs, farmers, youth representatives, multi-stakeholder platforms, academics) and the constraints of the call for proposals, we managed to come to consensus on a research agenda that was equally committed to exploring the implications and drivers of policies for inclusive development in such a way that provides an opportunity for action and education. Importantly, the areas we decided to concentrate on are also areas where our team partners already have active projects.

Our job now is to reflect on the research project in relation to the various meetings we have has with various stakeholders and a series of field visits that were coordinated by the Kenya Small Farmers Association and Maasai Mara University in partnership with the County of Narok. More pictures and stories to come!

It’s Open Access Week!

This week is open access week! For more information, click here

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

One journal that is participating is  the Journal of World-Systems Research, a peer-reviewed journal committed to promoting open access to scholarly research and defending the creative commons.

“How We Count Hunger Matters” (Free access available for a limited time)

“How We Count Hunger Matters”

JULY 9, 2013

Research and Policy Director Timothy A. Wise recently coauthored “How We Count Hunger Matters”, published in the journal Ethics & International Affairs and available for free download and viewing for a limited time. Written with Frances Moore Lappé, Jennifer Clapp, Molly Anderson, Robin Broad, Ellen Messer, and Thomas Pogge, the article is based on “Framing Hunger: A Response to ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012′”, recently published by the Small Planet Institute. The Institute also has new material, including a Q&A with lead author Frances Moore Lappé.

In “How We Count Hunger Matters,” the authors take issue with the FAO’s presentation of its revised global hunger estimates:
“Setting aside any question about the specific merits of the agency’s new methodology, the FAO’s primary measure does not capture the full extent of hunger. Additionally, SOFI 12’s overriding messages may obscure important policy lessons. We suggest that a wide range of specific government policies that were either underemphasized or completely omitted in SOFI 12 have proven successful in reducing hunger—especially those that promote more equitable access to productive resources, the right to food, a more supportive international economic and trade system, and ecological approaches to production.”

Read “How We Count Hunger Matters

Source: Global Development And Environment Institute

Research Process

Over the last couple of weeks this blog has received a mini-explosion of followers. I want to thank everyone who reads and follows these musings. I really appreciate the support and it does motivate me to keep posting.

I am currently reviewing the latest FAO strategies on Civil Society and Private Sector Partnerships and will share my analysis in the next few days. In the mean time, I though I would post an “organogram” that I made up to help explain the research process.

Every week at least two students out these in cyberspace contact me (on top of the students I supervise at the UOC) to request help and guidance on their research projects. I try, to the best of my ability, to provide quick, honest and encouraging feedback. It takes up a lot of time and energy but I think that this type of engagement is central to how I approach to teaching and learning and it’s always great to connect with other people who are interested in researching food security.

One of the biggest challenges students seem to face relates to research design, and no wonder, because it can be tricky.

I have tried to illustrate my own research design process and am posting it here for feedback and in the hopes that it helps others struggling through this process: you are not alone!

Research Design Organogram April 2013 research process

Take the plunge: 2 PhD studentships investigating urban governance in an age of crisis and austerity

The Department of Politics and Public Policy at De Montfort University is delighted to announce two full PhD studentships investigating urban governance in an age of crisis and austerity, covering fees and stipend. The successful candidates will work with a team of internationally renowned researchers in critical governance and public policy. The studentships are an outstanding opportunity for two ambitious and talented graduates to contribute to our exciting research on crisis and austerity governance and join a thriving group of doctoral students.

The first studentship, with Professor Jonathan Davies, explores the challenge of Understanding and Transforming Crisis Governance. The successful candidate will research the changing forms and functions of governance at the state-civil society interface, under conditions of crisis and/or austerity.

The second studentship, with Professor Colin Copus, explores City leadership in Times of Austerity.  The research will focus on the processes, forms and structures local political leaders (and mayors) and chief executives develop to work with public and private bodies in tackling problems of economic regeneration and urban growth under austerity.

For further details of these scholarships please visit  Applications are invited from UK and EU students who have a good MA/MSc degree, or are projected to achieve one.  The scholarships are available for up to three years full-time study starting October 2013 and provide a bursary of £13,770 pa in addition to university tuition fees.

To download an application pack, please visit the Graduate School Office website – Completed applications should be returned to

Understanding and Transforming Crisis Governance (Professor Jonathan Davies) DMU Research Scholarships 2013 BAL FB1

City Leadership in Times of Austerity (Professor Colin Copus) DMU Research Scholarships 2013 BAL FB3

CLOSING DATE:  Friday 15th March 2013