Prof. dr. Joris Voets

Prof. dr. Joris VoetsContact details / research disciplines / publications

Question & answer

What is your hidden talent?

No idea, I guess that's why it is called 'hidden talent'?

What is your research about?

About governance networks, addressing questions like how governments - as meta governors - deal with governance networks and how to manage, monitor and evaluate them to achieve results. It is also about the effectiveness of local governments as the most citizen-friendly administrations and how they deal with a growing and complex range of tasks. What do they do themselves, outsource or do in cooperation? How do they organise themselves to this end, and how can we strengthen local administrative power? This also includes the questions of how to achieve good inter-governmental cooperation between local, regional and federal authorities and how regional scaling can help.

Where did the interest in this subject come from?

Governance networks straddle politics, policy and management. Politics: there are power and interests at play, strategies to achieve results ideally together but also individually and sometimes behind the scenes. Policy: governance networks are concerned with policy implementation by the (semi-)public organisations involved, but are equally concerned with joint policy-making at the level of the network itself. Management: cooperation must be actively managed, with a specific management kit and skills. Local authorities and regions are fascinating because so much comes together there in terms of content: How to flesh out general ambitions regarding welfare, climate, mobility, spatial planning, green and blue networks on a local footing?

Why is your research socially relevant?

Many societal challenges - integrated youth care, integrated care, sustainable mobility, etc. - require cooperation between governments and non-public actors, but how exactly we should do this, how we can generate the necessary capacity, how best to organise and steer this, etc., remains a bit of a mystery. Expertise about this and helping to create and distribute tools for this are, therefore, undoubtedly socially relevant. The same applies to better understanding and helping to improve local administrative capacity and regional strength.

How would colleagues describe you?

Good question, you’d have to ask them, I guess, but perhaps: a team player, reliable, good listener, cheerful (at least pre-corona), open-minded, having wide-ranging interests and pragmatic. I can also imagine some less positive-sounding characteristics, but there’s no need to post these online. ;-)

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

I'm sure it sounds insufficiently ambitious to some of my colleagues, but rather than formulating 'Big Milestones' in the sense of 'top publication or book X', 'top research Y', or 'a great team Z', I hope to find some more space to do my own research and read more - as the pile of 'articles to be read and published' is reaching epic proportions. Once that space is cleared, 'Big Milestones' will re-surface automatically. Above all, trying to be a good teacher and to make the service activities more efficient in order to increase the 'reading and thinking space' again.

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

Depending on the season/the moment: either go into the garden to fight the epic battle with the weeds and snails and save some of my own vegetables, or take to the mountains or gravel bike to clear away the cobwebs.