Prof. dr. Bram Verschuere

Prof. dr. Bram VerschuereContact details / research disciplines / publications

Question & answer

What is your research about?

Essentially, I am increasingly interested in how our democracy works. How can governments involve citizens in their policies and services? Which is about participation and co-production. Should we leave policies only to elected politicians, or does civil society also have an important role to play? Can the market and/or civil society render public services?

Why is your research socially relevant?

We sometimes hear that democracy is under pressure and that governments are losing trust. I’m not sure if this is true, but in any case (our view on) democracy is changing. It is important that we have an accurate perception of this changing democracy, especially to keep it strong. Research can provide important policy-relevant insights in that area, and (although it is often difficult), hopefully, also offer some guidance in the social debate.

How would colleagues describe you?

I hope: straight-to-the-point, driven, reliable and generous. That is what I strive for. On a bad day, it’s important to make sure that this doesn’t turn into pushy, demanding, controlling and judgmental.

What do you still hope to achieve in your academic career?

I have got to a point that I am less and less concerned about the rat race in terms of publications and funds. Even though I can afford to adopt this attitude more and more, I remain highly motivated to keep conducting relevant research, and I know by now that if it is of sufficient quality, those publications and funds will follow. So I have no concrete goals, except to keep striving for relevance, and then the impact will follow naturally.

What is the first thing you do when an unexpected slot opens up in your schedule?

Exercise! A healthy mind in a healthy body. As the years go by, I have learned that you function so much better, in all areas, if you are in good shape. Having said that, I have been lucky so far that I’ve been spared any major health issues. To wind down, I like to read non-fiction that is not related to my area of expertise.