nl en

Introduction: Society, Expertise and the Governance Lab.



In theory, scientific knowledge may address all kinds of problems while producing innovative solutions. But in
practice, and often to the frustration of experts, scientific knowledge is brought in too late or not at all. How can
we understand such limited use or neglect of knowledge produced within universities, think tanks and advisory
bodies? Decision makers sometimes engage in ‘fact-free politics’, disqualifying scientific knowledge if it does not
provide them the political ammunition they need. Yet, at the same time, addressing complex problems without a
good understanding of their causes, effects of proposed solutions, and how they may relate to other issues, is
practically unthinkable. Such knowledge is important for problems of today and also when we start to think about
what may be the problems of tomorrow.
This course introduces you to a track that explores in depth the sometimes tense relationship between politics,
society and experts. The course shows the different ways in which problems and issues in society, business and
politics are identified, how they can be addressed, and how you may orient yourself on advising on such
problems and issues in your future career. Throughout the course you are made aware of scientific ‘lenses’ on
reality to get a sharp analytical view on problems and issues, and what it means if we speak about ‘innovation’ in
science and research for addressing problems in the real world.


Weekly discussion questions and participation (10%)

  • Based on the readings each week, every students submits 2 discussion questions before noon the day
    of class.

  • Weekly attendance and active participation in class and group work is required.
    Peer Assessment Week 6 (10%)

  • Each student sends an outline and presents their potential final paper topic in a group and is being
    reviewed while also peer reviewing other proposals based on set criteria.
    Final Project Presentation (10%)

  • You present the problem you are tackling in the paper and you potential policy solution to everyone –
    preferably in an interesting and innovative way.
    Final Paper (70%)

  • Paper on one a global problem for which a policy solution is developed – Deadline: May 5th, 2015 – 5pm

3-3, 10-3, 17-3, 24-3, 7-4, 14-4, 21-4, 28-4 en 5-5 from 18.00 – 20.00u at the Campus the Hague, Schouwburgstraat.

See blackboard.