Universiteit Leiden

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Grant for research into the influence of experts

Johan Christensen, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, has received a grant of 1.2 million euros from the Research Council Norway. Christensen is joint leader of project named INFLUEX that will conduct research into the amount of influence experts have. Apart from Christensen, Valérie Pattyn also of the Institute of Public Administration is also a member of the project team.

Johan Christensen

Experts are a common presence in national and international administrations. But how much influence do they actually have on policy decisions? The project will implement new methods to answer this question. The project will start in 2023 and apart from the University of Oslo and Leiden University, the Norwegian Institute for Social Research, the University of Mainz and the Aarhus University are also participating. 

Christensen is delighted to have received the grant: ‘For me, the grant means that I’ll have to time and means to continue this fascinating line of research. There is still so much unknown in this field. I would also like to use the grant to make the subject of expertise, policy, and democracy more visible within the Institute and the Faculty. I believe that Leiden University could become an international leading centre for research, education and knowledge exchange on the relation between expertise and policy and I would like to contribute to that.’

Implement new methods

To measure the experts’ influence, the team will implement new measures using documents and texts. ‘We plan to use citation analysis, for instance, analysing references to report of experts in policy documents. But also ‘plagiarism analysis’: we would like to look at the extend in which policy documents copy text from advisory reports. These are both indicators of influence on policy,’ according to Christensen. 

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