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More attention than ever for digitalisation within the government: ‘A good thing’

Minister of Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen will give a guest lecture on the government’s ambitions in the field of digitalisation on Monday 12 September. Bram Klievink, professor Digitalisation and Public Policy and founder of The Hague Centre for Digital Governance will act as mediator. ‘Digitalisation is no longer a niche subject. More people than ever are working on the topic of IT and public administration, and that’s a good thing.’

Alexandra van Huffelen

The minister’s visit is a good opportunity to also put a spotlight on the Centre. It is part of the University’s Institute of Public Administration in The Hague. Klievink and his colleagues conduct research into the influence digitalisation and data have on public administration. The rise of the digital are influences public administration in many different ways. Klievink: ‘Our goal is to research issues regarding the digitalisation of the government and the role of the government in the broadest possible sense in an academic fashion. Together with the government institutions around us. As well as provide advice and support.’ What are the challenges for government institutions when it comes to new technologies and what will they have to deal with?

Looking for long-term collaborations

The Hague Centre for Digital Governance has entered collaborations with a number of parties such as the AIVD (The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service) and The Ministry of Justice and Security. Klievink hopes to be able to expand on these connections and turn them into long-term collaborations. ‘We, at the Centre, are really looking for collaboration formats that will benefit both ourselves and the government institutions. To create a connection between science and practice that benefits both. They can learn from us through workshops and masterclasses and we can benefit on an academic level. Conduct research with them, find a collective place for graduates.

'In my view, it is good that there is more coordination and direction when it comes to digital government.' 

Trade-off between parties

What does the Centre has to offer? The answer to that question is trifold, explains the professor. ‘Support in translating recent academic knowledge and research into what that means for an organisation. Cast a different conceptual and analytical view on the execution. And thirdly, have a look at possible trade-offs. What are the big issues you would like to have answers to and what research projects could we do? Is it suitable for a graduate or is it bigger and should it become a PhD project, or are there people within the organisation interested in conducting PhD research and can we assist them?’

Prof.dr.ing. Bram Klievink

More and more attention

Klievink applauds the increasing attention being paid to digitalisation, new technologies and the application of artificial intelligence. 'I've been working on the interface between ICT and public administration for about fifteen years now, and for a long time this was a niche subject. Now you see that more and more people are working in it and the attention is changing. You can also see this in the government itself because for the first time there is a State Secretary of Digitalisation. In my view, it is good that there is more coordination and direction when it comes to digital government.' 

The Ministry of Interior Affairs is also becoming more active and Klievink hopes that the Centre will be able to make a contribution. ‘There are plenty of things to do, we can definitely help safeguard the administrative aspects and look into the impact it might have on the execution.’


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