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Governing Science, Society and Expertise


Admission requirements

This course is only available for participants of the Honours Program Tackling Global Challenges by the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs in The Hague.


This course introduces students to the sometimes tense relationship between politics, society and experts. The class shows the different ways in which problems and issues in society, business and politics are identified, how they can be addressed, and how students may orient themselves on advising on such problems and issues in their future career. Throughout the course students are made aware of scientific ‘lenses’ on reality to get a sharp analytical view on problems and issues, and what it means when we speak about ‘innovation’ in science and research for addressing problems in the real world. The course will further include a simulation game to experience the interplay of government, research, non-governmental stakeholders and society.

Course objectives

The goal of the course is to get a sense of how politics, science and society are connected regarding today’s global challenges and what role expertise, money and power can play in these dynamics. The course introduces students to a variety of lenses and enhances critical and analytical thinking with tools from different disciplines. These skills will be put to use during the simulation game at the end of the course.


2019 - Semester 1
Friday, November 2 15.00 - 17.00 Science as political phenomenon
Friday, November 9 15.00 - 17.00 Experts and policy-Making
Friday, November 16 15.00 - 17.00 Experts and Society
Friday, November 23 15.00 - 17.00 Politics of science/Paper Peer Review
Friday, November 30 15.00 - 17.00 Science, State and Markets
Friday, December 7 15.00 - 17.00 Simulation Game

Mode of instruction

The course contains a mixture of lectures, guest speakers, in-class group assignments, discussions and a simulation. Main emphasis is on the interaction among students, with guest lecturers and discussions during the lecture.

Course Load

Total study load 140 hrs – contact hours: 18 – self-study hours: 122

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a variation of different assignments that run throughout the course. These include:

  • Discussion questions (10%)

  • Written assignment (20%)

  • Final Paper (70%)


Blackboard is indispensable for this course. All assignments will be made available and need to be handed in via Blackboard. The page is available approximately two weeks before the course starts.

Reading list

The reading list containing a mixture of articles and book chapters will be made available on the blackboard page approximately two weeks before the start of the course


The Honours coordinator takes care of registration in Usis.


Dr. Sarah Giest Honours Coordinator