Dr Athanassios Gouglas
I am a political scientist who specializes in comparative politics, public policy and global governance. I am the founding director of the MSc Global Governance and member of three research centers in the Politics Department at Exeter: Public Policy and Governance Group, Centre for Elections, Media and Participation (CEMaP) and the Centre for European Studies (CES).
I mainly study elites in the executive triangle (ministers, political advisers, senior civil servants), as well as legislative elites in parliaments. I am particularly interested in political advisers and policy making and the way they affect the democracy-bureaucracy nexus. I am currently authoring a book with the provisional title 'Dark Masters? Political Advisers in Modern Democracies' to be published by Edward Elgar. I answer the question whether advisers are dark masters, or elements of responsive government. My other main area of research is legislative elite circulation (legislative turnover), its explanation and how it affects policy outcomes. Is our parliamentary elite frozen and what does this mean for policy innovation? Why do many emerging democracies suffer from legislative elite instability and what does this mean for their political development and the efforts of international donors to strengthen the capacity of parliaments around the world? I have been researching West European legislatures, the Australian parliament and since 2022 I have expanded to African legislatures aiming in the mid-term to cover also Asian and Latin American parliaments. Additionally, my secondary research interests include the study of policy advice and knowledge utilization by policy makers, as well as the study of scholarship and research with a focus on scientific impact and the policy advisory roles of political scientists.
My research is internationally comparative, or focusing on supranational and global governance institutions. I have conducted empirical work on Western Europe, Napoleonic administrative systems in Southern Europe, Greece, the European Union (European Commission and European Parliament) and Australia. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have published in a series of journals, including the Journal of European Public Policy (JEPP), Public Administration, the European Journal of Political Research (EJPR), Politics and Party Politics.
I am a fully accredited academic professional and teacher. I am fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK, as well as a fellow of ASPIRE (Accrediting Staff Professionalism in Research Led-Education). I am also holder of the Exeter University Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP) and a qualified adult trainer and instructor by the National Centre for Public Administration in Greece. I teach the core module for the MSc Global Governance at Exeter, where I combine global public policy and international relations approaches. I also teach two unique modules on political advisers and policy making in an internationally comparative perspective at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I combine frontier research and applied politics approaches with an emphasis on political writing (policy briefs, opinion piece and political speech wirting). In the past I taught European politics at Exeter for which module in 2019 I was nominated by the Student Guild for a teaching award in the category innovative teaching. Outside Exeter, as holder of the Chair Andre Molitor at UC Louvain I taught a module on political advisers, whereas I have given guest talks at the KU Leuven Institute for Public Governance, where I am also a research fellow, the College of Public Policy at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar and the National Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Last, I am a pracademic, meaning an academic and an active practitioner in the policy professions. As former public servant and political adviser I have hands-on pratical experience in strategic planning, policy analysis, formulation and design, political management, management of large scale national and international projects, policy implementation and monitoring, government core executive coordination legislative politics, public administration management and mobilization, EU & international organizations negotiation. I continue to offer strategic political and policy advice on demand to policy makers.
Research group links
- Executive triangle relations (ministers, advisers and senior civil servants, including traditional politico-administrative relations and the democracy-bureaucracy nexus)
- European governance (in particular policy making in the European Commission and the European Parliament and comparative public policy in Europe)
- Global governance (in particular addressing global challenges from a global public policy perspective)
- Parliamentary strengthening / capacity building and democracy aid
- Political elites (in particular elite circulation and policy outcomes with an emphasis on legislative turnover)
- Political advisers (careers, policy roles and impact, accountability, executive triangle relations)
- The study of scholarship and research (in particular scientific impact and the policy roles of political scientist)
- Policy advice & knowledge utilization (in particular the science policy nexus)
I am happy to supervise PhD students in any of the areas outlined under Research. Feel free to send me an email to explore further.
- Jung Gon Kim 'Institutional Change of the Senior Civil Service: A comparative analysis of the United Kingdom and South Korea' (Co-supervised with Oliver James)
- Andrew Pate on UN Responses to Populist Contestation (Co-supervising with Lise Herman).
PhD supervision outside Exeter
- Arthur Meert, 'The Decabinetization of Ministerial Offices in Napoleonic Systems', KU Leuven Public Governance Institute , Belgium (co-supervising with prof. Marleen Brans holder of grant C14/18/020, BOF C14)
- Heath Pickering, 'The Cabinetization of Ministerial Offices in Westminster Systems', KU Leuven Public Governance Institute , Belgium (co-supervising with prof. Marleen Brans holder of grant FWO, G079619N).
External impact and engagement
I am a pracademic, meaning an academic and active practitioner in the policy professions. As former public servant and political adviser I have hands-on pratical experience in strategic planning, policy analysis, formulation and design, political management, management of large scale national and international projects, policy implementation and monitoring, government core executive coordination legislative politics, public administration management and mobilization, EU & international organizations negotiation. I continue to offer strategic political and policy advice on demand to policy makers.
My research and research informed opinion has figured in numerous media and user organization outlets.
Gouglas, A. Maddens, B., Brans, M. (2019). Het ledenverloop in de Belgische Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (1945-2014). Een analyse vanuit vergelijkend perspectief. VIVES BRIEFING 2019/04. Leuven: KU Leuven. Online tinyurl.com/y3gy75sl. Cited in De Standaard and many Belgian print and online media.
Gouglas, A. (2019). The fractionalisation of Parliament is a source of deadlock. Go to the people. The UK in a Changing World. Online https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-fractionalisation-of-parliament-is-a-source-of-deadlock-go-to-the-people/
Gouglas, a. (2019). Like Greece, Brexit negotiations leave the UK a rule taker from the EU. The Conversation. Online https://theconversation.com/like-greece-brexit-negotiations-leave-the-uk-a-rule-taker-from-the-eu-109162?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton
Gouglas, A., Brans, M. (2016). UK Extended Ministerial Offices: on the road to cabinetisation. University College London, Constitution Unit. Online https://constitution-unit.com/2016/02/09/uk-extended-ministerial-offices-on-the-road-to-cabinetisation/
Gouglas, A., Maddens, B. (2015). Membership change in the Dutch Tweede Kamer 1946-2012. Montesquieu Institute, the Hague. http://www.montesquieu-institute.eu/9353000/1/j9vvj72dlowskug/vjypgekkj3sy?ctx=vjr7g5zfl9do&start_tab0=9
- POL2075 - Integration and Disintegration in the European Union
- POL3228 - From the Shadows into the Light: Political Advisers and Policy Making
- POL3273 - Dark Masters? Political Advisers in Modern Democracies
- POLM160 - Yes Special Adviser. Political Advisers and Policy Making in a Global Perspective
- POLM167 - Global Governance: Institutions and Challenges
I studied at the University of Cambridge (UK), the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece) and KU Leuven (Belgium). I received my PhD from KU Leuven in December 2017. My doctoral research was funded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). I conducted research as visiting doctoral fellow at the University of Vienna, Bern, Leiden, Siena, University College London and SciencesPo-Paris. As recipient of an FWO long-stay abroad grant I also conducted research at the Australian National University.
I joined the Politics Department at the University of Exeter in September 2018 and received tenure in February 2022. I am the founding director of the MSc Global Governance and member of three research groups in the Politics Department: Public Policy and Governance Group, Centre for European Studies (CES) and the Centre for Elections, Media and Participation (CEMaP) at Exeter. I served as Director of Exams and Assessment from July 2019 to January 2022. During my term I received an Above and Beyond Award from my Head of Department for my role in the smooth transition of all politics exams online because of the pandemic.
I am currently external research fellow at KU Leuven, Belgium. I was André Molitor invited professor from March 2020 to December 2021 at PSAD, UC Louvain, Belgium. I served as secretary to the Greek Politics Groups (GPSG) in the Political Science Association (PSA) UK from August 2019 to August 2021; In the period 2018-2020 I also served as Associate Director for International Partnerships for the International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum (ICPA) linked to the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice (JCPA).
Before academia, I worked as a civil servant in the Hellenic Civil Service and as political and policy adviser in two ministerial cabinets in Greece. I also worked as scientific assistant to a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, and adviser to a Member of the European Parliament.