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European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Focus on Knowledge, Governance and Transformations

“Our new research area analyses the dynamic interaction between knowledge, evidence, data and policy-making. It looks into how governance by and of knowledge influence transformations of politics and policies.”

20 July 2022 | Blog - Research

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On 1 July 2022, eleven productive years of research on indicators in global governance led to the inauguration of the latest research area of the Global Governance Programme (GGP) on ‘Knowledge, Governance, Transformations’.

The research area is directed by Gaby Umbach and connects four elements of contemporary societal, political and scientific concern: (a). knowledge production and science advice in politics; (b). ethical and normative aspects of knowledge production and quantification; (c). evidence-informed policy-making and governance innovations; (d). the contribution of knowledge and governance transformations to sustainability.

The aim of the research area is to shape and facilitate a dynamic and engaged research and learning environment for the future-oriented analysis of data, evidence, knowledge, governance, and related transformations. It also aims to establish a community of research and practice of academics and practitioners dealing with the generation, use and transformation of knowledge and governance.

Looking into ‘knowledge’ for and in policy-making, we focus on evidence and knowledge deriving from it as a central resource in politics. For this matter, we particularly target the use of scientific knowledge and expertise. Another long-standing special interest area is data used as evidence to inform policy design, implementation, evaluation, and strategic planning.

Related to ‘governance’ by and of knowledge, the team’s focus is on evidence-informed policy-making; knowledge mobilisation and brokerage; knowledge and data-driven governance innovations; future-oriented governance; and the politicisation of knowledge and evidence use. We analyse abstract and concrete functions of evidence as a policy-making instrument and their impact on governance.

When analysing ‘transformations’ in and through knowledge and governance innovations, we focus on their contribution to better policies and policy-making. Here, we especially investigate channels through which transformative dynamics between knowledge and governance innovations support the delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

GlobalStat, our well-established open access gateway to statistics coordinated by Igor Tkalec, is the data backbone of the research area. It provides users with information on how we live, the freedoms we enjoy and the limitations we face in our globalised societies. The project began in 2011 as the first data-focused component of the GGP. The database was officially launched in 2015 and soon became a well-known resource on statistics and data for citizens and policy-makers. Ever since, we established collaboration with the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), offering tailored publications and a gateway to statistical data to Members of European Parliament and EP staff. We also collaborated with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on new data management and data visualisation software. Over time, GlobalStat evolved into a research umbrella for several research projects, academic groups, executive trainings, and external institutional cooperation. In 2021, GlobalStat’s 10th anniversary offered an excellent opportunity to take stock of past achievements and to plan future research. This reflection led to the establishment of the new research area.

Further details on our research can be found here.

Last update: 27 July 2022

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