Workshop – first results

We are very pleased for the results of the workshop on “Knowledge, policymaking and learning in European metropolitan areas: experiences and approaches“. All discussions were so interesting that we have decided to publish a book where theoretical reflections, empirical cases and lessons learnt will be presented. Our target is to get it published in one year (early 2017?): writing this, I know I am putting a difficult challenge on our shoulders! Nevertheless, results and discussions were so interesting and the quality of speakers so high that I am sure we can make it. The book is also the opportunity to develop a network of scholars on ‘territorial policy learning‘. More information will follow on this website.

For the time being, you can find the two keynote speeches from the second day and final conclusions.


Leave a comment

Filed under Conference, Deliverable, policy learning, policymaking

Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning in European Metropolitan Areas: Experiences and Approaches

The workshop aims to discuss knowledge-policy dynamics combining academic perspectives and policy experiences. Starting from a Brussels-based research project and reflections from the region of Lombardy, the workshop proposes a reflection on the notion of ‘knowledge governance’ to enhance place-based policymaking. This is a 2-day workshop organised by Cosmopolis (VUB) and Éupolis Lombardia.


Monday 25 January, from 9h00 to 18h00
VUB Campus – Pleinlaan 9 – 1050 Brussels
1st floor, rooms Maed & Weber
See here themes and GREATPI – Book of Abstracts.


Tuesday 26 January, from 9h00 to 13h00
Committee of the Regions – Rue van Maerlant 2 – 1000 Brussels

Presentation by Nicola Francesco DOTTI (Cosmopolis, VUB)
Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning: experiences from Brussels”

Discussants: Paul BENNEWORTH (Twente Universiteit), Michaël MERTENS (Innoviris), Serafín PAZOS-VIDAL (COSLA), Ines SABALIĆ (City of Zagreb)

Chair: Janez NARED (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)

Presentation by Alessandro COLOMBO (Éupolis Lombardia)
“The research-policy nexus: boundary working”

Discussants: Leonardo DOMENICI (Cittalia),  Adrian HEALY (Cardiff University), Wolfgang PETZOLD (Committee of the Regions), Joost VAESEN (Brussels Studies Institute)

Chair: Stéphane MOYSON (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

Conclusions by Tassilo HERRSCHEL (University of Westminster)


For more information and contacts

email address

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized, WORKSHOP

CfP Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning in European Metropolitan Areas: Experiences and Approaches


The local capacity to auto-regulate internal conflicts, to avoid (under-)development lock-in and to react to external stimuli is a fundamental challenge for social learning, (multi-level) governance and, in general, local policymaking (Armitage, 2007; Garmendia and Stagl, 2010; Hooghe and Marks, 2003). In this perspective, the idea of ‘knowledge for innovation’ moves beyond the traditional definition of “R&D activities” for technological and market-oriented innovation (Moulaert and Nussbaumer, 2005). The notion of learning region (Hassink, 2005; Lorenzen, 2001; Morgan, 1997; Moulaert and Sekia, 2003) has emerged since the early 1990s, recognising that knowledge is produced, validated, exchanged, translated, and applied in specific territorial contexts where tacit knowledge, local untraded interdependencies and cumulative learning process become key aspects (Antonelli and Quéré, 2002; Gertler, 2003; Storper, 1997). However, a territorial perspective on knowledge for policy learning is still an under-explored dimension.

In the current European political debate the notion of ‘resilience’ has attracted major attention to analyse the territorial capacity to resist and/or recover from economic shocks (Boschma, 2015). From this debate, an emerging issue is the local capacity to promote policy changes, so as to address evolving grand societal challenges through a place-based approach. We propose to focus on policymaking capacities in European metropolitan areas as a key dimension in this process. At the local level, knowledge is a scarce resource in comparison to larger scales, such as national and European ones, where many, and varied, actors are involved. On the other hand, large urban areas are known to be the centre of supra-local knowledge networks, where many producers, users and ‘intermediaries’ are located such as universities, public administrations and emerging players acting as ‘brokers’. This opens a policy challenge to finding effective ways to develop knowledge that is ‘useful’ and ‘usable’ for policymaking and learning.


 The objective of the workshop is to explore the capacity for policymaking in European metropolitan areas with a focus on the role of knowledge for policy learning. Specifically, our interest is in local conditions supportive to collective learning in order to more effectively address grand societal challenges, external stimuli (e.g. the current economic crisis, climate change, and other shocks), and internal conflicts between actors, as well as promoting local reflexivity. The knowledge available locally, the receptivity of public administrations and policymakers towards exogenous cognitive sources, and the capacity to locally re-combine different forms of knowledge, all are fundamental factors in enhancing policy change and learning (Bathelt et al., 2004; Bathelt and Turi, 2011; Escribano et al., 2009; Malmberg and Maskell, 2006). Are European metropolitan areas able to develop knowledge for policymaking and learning? What are the critical factors? What are the effects of downscaling from the national/European scale to the local level where knowledge is a scarce resource (Capano, 2009; Hall, 1993; Krause, 2010; Slembeck, 1997; Witt, 2003)?

Knowledge plays a fundamental role in policy change and learning. Nevertheless, knowledge and policymaking have different rationales and boundaries, and this nexus has moved beyond the simplistic idea of “speaking truth to power” (Wildavsky, 1979), and redefining the role of researchers, the concept of knowledge, and the way this is used for policymaking purposes (Hoppe, 2005; Lyall et al., 2004; Pohl, 2008). Knowledge governance (van Kerkhoff, 2013) has emerged as a new challenge opening up a new field of research focusing on the role of ‘boundary organizations’ (Hoppe, 2005), ‘knowledge brokers’ (Meyer, 2010) and ‘knowledge intermediaries’ (Taylor, 2015). They may have different labels, but are fundamentally similar. For local policymakers, the learning capacities of public administrations, and their absorptive capacity from external sources of knowledge, are key issues that make knowledge governance a major (yet often underestimated) challenge.


Within this framework, we welcome academic papers addressing the three following dimensions from the perspective of European metropolitan areas:

  • KNOWLEDGE OF POLICYMAKING: experiences of ‘political resilience’ to address metropolitan societal challenges, the role of experts and learning strategies of local policymakers.
  • KNOWLEDGE FOR POLICYMAKING: definitions, actors, and dynamics beyond universities ‘speaking truth to power’, and the emerging role of ‘knowledge brokers’ and ‘boundary organizations’.
  • POLICY LEARNING FOR SMART GOVERNANCE? How to define and measure these dimensions? Who is learning from whom? Which knowledge governance?

We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions from any European metropolitan area. In the submission, we invite to specify the methodology and which cases will be presented.

Please send abstracts of around 300 words as expressions of interest to Dr. Nicola Francesco DOTTI

email address


Deadline for abstract submission and expression of interest: 20 October 2015

Notification of acceptance: 1 November 2015

Dates of the workshop: 25-26 January 2016 in Brussels.

Venue and location:

Organisers: Cosmopolis (VUB). European and regional institutions and organizations have expressed their interest in this initiative.


email address



Antonelli, C., Quéré, M., 2002. The Governance of Interactive Learning within Innovation Systems. Urban Stud. 39, 1051–1063. doi:10.1080/00420980220128453

Armitage, D., 2007. Governance and the Commons in a Multi-Level World. Int. J. Commons 2, 7–32.

Bathelt, H., Malmberg, A., Maskell, P., 2004. Clusters and Knowledge: local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. Prog. Hum. Geogr. 28, 31–56.

Bathelt, H., Turi, P., 2011. Local, global and virtual buzz: The importance of face-to-face contact in economic interaction and possibilities to go beyond. Geoforum 42, 520–529. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.04.007

Boschma, R., 2015. Towards an Evolutionary Perspective on Regional Resilience. Reg. Stud. 49, 733–751. doi:10.1080/00343404.2014.959481

Capano, G., 2009. Understanding Policy Change as an Epistemological and Theoretical Problem. J. Comp. Policy Anal. Res. Pract. 11, 7–31. doi:10.1080/13876980802648284

Escribano, A., Fosfuri, A., Tribó, J.A., 2009. Managing external knowledge flows: The moderating role of absorptive capacity. Res. Policy 38, 96–105. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2008.10.022

Garmendia, E., Stagl, S., 2010. Public participation for sustainability and social learning: Concepts and lessons from three case studies in Europe. Ecol. Econ. 69, 1712–1722. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.03.027

Gertler, M.S., 2003. Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context or, the undefinable tacitness of being (there). J. Econ. Geogr. 3, 75–99.

Hall, P.A., 1993. Policy Paradigms, Social Learning, and the State: The Case of Economic Policymaking in Britain. Comp. Polit. 25, 275–296.

Hassink, R., 2005. How to unlock regional economies from path dependency? From learning region to learning cluster. Eur. Plan. Stud. 13, 521–535.

Hooghe, L., Marks, G., 2003. Unraveling the Central State, but How? Types of Multi-level Governance. Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 97, 233–243.

Hoppe, R., 2005. Rethinking the science-policy nexus: from knowledge utilization and science technology studies to types of boundary arrangements. Poiesis Prax. 3, 199–215. doi:10.1007/s10202-005-0074-0

Krause, R.M., 2010. Policy Innovation, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Adoption of Climate Protection Initiatives by U.S. Cities. J. Urban Aff. 33, 45–60.

Lorenzen, M., 2001. Localized Learning and Policy: Academic Advice on Enhancing Regional Competitiveness through Learning. Eur. Plan. Stud. 9, 163–185. doi:10.1080/713666462

Lyall, C., Bruce, A., Firn, J., Firn, M., Tait, J., 2004. Assessing end-use relevance of public sector research organisations. Res. Policy 33, 73–87. doi:10.1016/S0048-7333(03)00090-8

Malmberg, A., Maskell, P., 2006. Localized Learning Revisited. Growth Change 37, 1–18. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2257.2006.00302.x

Meyer, M., 2010. The Rise of the Knowledge Broker. Sci. Commun. 32, 118–127. doi:10.1177/1075547009359797

Morgan, K., 1997. The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal. Reg. Stud. 31, 491–503.

Moulaert, F., Nussbaumer, J., 2005. The social region – Beyond the territorial dynamics of the learning economy. Eur. Urban Reg. Stud. 12, 45–64.

Moulaert, F., Sekia, F., 2003. Territorial Innovation Models: A Critical Survey. Reg. Stud. 37, 289–302. doi:10.1080/0034340032000065442

Pohl, C., 2008. From Science to Policy through Transdisciplinary Research. Environ. Sci. Policy II 11, 46–53.

Slembeck, T., 1997. The Formation of Economic Policy: A Cognitive-Evolutionary Approach to Policy-Making. Const. Polit. Econ. 8, 225–254.

Storper, M., 1997. Regional economies as relational assets, in: Regional World: Territorial Development in a Global Economy. Guilford Press., New York.

Taylor, C., 2015. Between Culture, Policy and Industry: Modalities of Intermediation in the Creative Economy. Reg. Stud. 49, 362–373. doi:10.1080/00343404.2012.748981

Van Kerkhoff, L., 2013. Knowledge Governance for Sustainable Development: A Review. Chall. Sustain. 1, 82–93.

Wildavsky, A.B., 1979. Speaking truth to power: the art and craft of policy analysis, Little, Brown. ed. Transaction Publishers, Boston, Mass.

Witt, U., 2003. Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective. J. Evol. Econ. 13, 77–94.


Filed under Brussels Studies Institute, Brussels-Capital Region, city, europe, event

Results updated

The page with results from the GREATPI project was updated with abstracts, presentations and working papers from all the conferences.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brussels Research System, Brussels-Capital Region, Deliverable, they speak about, Uncategorized


The organisation of the workshop on “Knowledge, policymaking and learning in European metropolitan areas” is almost ready. Recent events in Brussels have slowed down the organisation, but the final program will be published very soon.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


In light of ongoing demand, the deadline for abstract submission to the workshop on “Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning in European Metropolitan Areas: Experiences and Approaches” (25-26 January 2016) have been extended to Thursday 5 November. This is to facilitate the participation in an interdisciplinary dialogue between regional/urban and policy scholars.

We are mainly interested in contributions from Southern, Central and Eastern Europe to provide a more complete geographical overview.
You can find the complete call for paper here.

Extended deadline: Thursday 5 November

Please send an abstract of about 300 words (including title, author/s and affiliation) as expression of interest to

email address

Leave a comment

Filed under CfP, city, governance

After the deadline

We have received very good abstracts for the workshop on “Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning in European Metropolitan Areas: Experiences and Approaches“. We still accept expression of interests by latecomers, but please do not wait too long.

Leave a comment

Filed under CfP, event, knowledge economy, policy learning, policymaking, WORKSHOP

Workshop – Updates

Good news for the workshop on “Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning in European Metropolitan Areas: Experiences and Approaches”. The first important news is the interest of Éupolis Lombardia to support the initiative as co-organizer, while, the topic has attracted interest also of ERRIN and Eurocities for a very interesting research-policy debate.

First expressions of interest have already arrived. Please bear in mind that the deadline is Tuesday 20 October.
All information available here.

Leave a comment

Filed under city, Conference, europe, event, research for policy, WORKSHOP