News and Updates

 

Member of Governance and Data Science Group

The extensive use of electronic communication channels and other devices has opened new possibilities for collecting data on human behavior. This information is sometimes openly accessible, but largely part of administrative registration systems that are not open to the broader public. The data provides challenges for storing, analysis and new uses. The FGGA research group on Governance and Data Science focuses on what we can do (or should not do) with these new possibilities.


New Paper: Trust Dynamics in Innovation Networks: The Chicago Life Science Cluster

This publication in Administration and Society (open access) focuses on trust dynamics in innovation networks. Individuals and organizations within the network play an important role in creating trusting relationships. Using this as a basis, the article explores the dynamics of trust when relationships and positions within the network change. Counter to the expectation that relationships are formalized in this scenario, the article shows that in the Chicago case, trust is layered. The article concludes that third-party sources of information about trustworthiness are strategically established as a layer in the network and that individuals translate past interactions into lasting organizations that can facilitate trust.

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New Paper: Big data analytics for mitigating carbon emissions in smart cities: Opportunities and challenges

The paper published in European Planning Studies (open access) addresses the growing scepticism around big data use in the context of smart cities. Big data is said to transform city governments into being more efficient, effective and evidence-based. However, critics point towards the limited capacity of government to overcome the siloed structure of data storage and manage the diverse stakeholders involved in setting up a data ecosystem. On the basis of this, the paper investigates the challenges city governments face when dealing with big data in the context of carbon emission reduction. Through the lens of the evidence-based policy and policy capacity literature, the cities of Copenhagen (Denmark), London (UK), Malmö (Sweden), Oxford (UK) and Vienna (Austria) are analysed. The cases reveal that the institutional complexity underlying big data integration limits local government capacity to set up data management structures that would allow further utilization of big data and that current solutions focus on local pilot sites and outsourcing of data analytics.


Expert on Complex Problems

Combining different disciplines, Leiden University researchers work together to formulate innovative solutions to societal problems. I am part of a team of experts on complex problems connected to my research in the fields of comparative public policy, environmental policy and regulation, big data and urban innovation. Some phenomena cannot be studied in isolation. They are linked within a chain of cause and effect that spans the whole world. As an example, environmental pollution leads to climate change that causes the worst drought in southern Africa in 112 years. Harvests fail and cattle die of starvation; society becomes disrupted. All this leads to a massive wave of migration. The arrival of refugees fuels simmering discontent in European countries and creates a political earthquake.  It takes a very diverse body of knowledge to be able to reverse these kinds of developments, knowledge ranging from chemistry, biology and environmental sciences to anthropology, political science and public administration. More information can be found here

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Governance and Data Science Group 

To kick off a newly started collaboration between the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) and the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA), we had a session on Governance and Data Science. The discussion largely evolved around the role of new methods for policymaking and the questions social science poses for computer science research. I gave a presentation entitled 'Big Data for Policymaking: Fad or Fast Track?', looking at some of the big data promises and realities and the challenges of government to incorporate big data tools into the policymaking process. 


Technology & Government 

The expert panel of Kim Grondsma (Ministerie van BZK), Rogier Kleinekoort (Municipality Den Haag), Dr. Jelmer Schalk, (Leiden University, Public Administration) and Dr. Christoph Stettina (Leiden University, LIACS) completed the elective 'ICT in the Public Sector'. We had a lively discussion on three major themes: Leadership & technology-oriented change, technology & public services/ performance and big data and government. In the conversation among the panel members and with students, it became clear that there are structural challenges that governmental levels and departments struggle with to execute and utilize some of the technology available. We also saw that providing public services can hold very different implementation motivations than having a business case in the market. All in all, an interesting debate! 


Civic Apps

Check out my new post on the LSE Impact Blog about Civic Apps!

"...some type of gratification mechanism can make these apps sustainable. These include, for example, gaining support from other citizens for a project proposed to the city (endorsements). There is further a closed feedback loop in the sense that citizens can follow-up on their complaints or projects. These gratification mechanisms need to be linked up with the role of political efficacy in civic engagement in the sense that the more an individual has the sense of personal competence in influencing the political system, the more they will engage."


ICPP Panel on Public Policy and Big Data

Come join our panel on 'The Data/Sensor Revolution and Public Policy' at the International Conference on Public Policy in Singapore (28-20 June).