Universiteit Leiden

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The democratic consequences of decentralisation

Political scientist Wouter Veenendaal (Leiden University) has been awarded a Vidi grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This enables him to further develop his innovative line of research on and set up a research group in the coming five years. Veenendaal et al. will analyse the democratic consequences of increasing decentralisation and regionalisation in European countries.

The quality of local democracy

Veenendaal is fascinated by what you may call the ‘politics of size’, as testified by his recent book Population and Politics: The Impact of Scale. His Vidi project, entitled The Democratic Consequences of Decentralisation, addresses a question that is relevant to scholars, practitioners, and citizens alike: ‘Should politics be organised on a smaller scale, so that citizens can have direct contact with their politicians?’ Veenendaal explains: ‘In the past decades, almost all European countries have assigned more tasks to small regions and municipalities. We are going to investigate how this decentralisation of powers affects the quality and performance of local democracy. In addition to doing a statistical analysis, we will compare municipalities in Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.’

Curiosity-driven and innovative research

Vidi, part of the Dutch Research Council’s (NWO) Talent Programme, is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhD’s. Researchers in the Talent Programme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.

In the 2019 round, NWO received 503 applications, of which 81 were awarded. The Vidi grant is worth € 800.000.

‘Very honoured’

That makes the Vidi both a prestigious and a substantial grant. Veenendaal: ‘I am very honoured to have won this Vidi grant, and am excited to start this new project!’

More Leiden laureates

Apart from Political Scientist Wouter Veenendaal, 10 other Leiden University researchers have been succesful in the 2019 Vidi round. You can read about their projects here:

NWO Vidi grant for 11 Leiden researchers

The Institute of Political Science achieved another success in the 2019 round: Tom Theuns was awarded a Veni grant.

Protecting democracy in Europe

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