Marcel Boogers appointed Endowed professor Democracy and Transition

Marcel Boogers

As of 3 April 2023, Marcel Boogers has been appointed Endowed Professor of Democracy and Transition at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG). Boogers will be affiliated to Utrecht University one day a week, for a period of five years. The Endowed Chair was established by consultancy firm Necker.

Marcel Boogers

Marcel Boogers is a researcher at Necker consultancy, where he focuses on research and consultancy in the field of local and regional democracy. In recent years, Marcel Boogers has been a professor of Innovation and Regional Governance at the University of Twente. He is also a board member of the Association for Public Administration and editor-in-chief of the journal Bestuurswetenschappen. Previously, he worked at Tilburg University, Radboud University Nijmegen and Maastricht University. Recently, he was involved in research on the low turnout of the 2022 municipal elections in the Netherlands and the Local Voters Survey 2022 (in collaboration with USG and SCP).

Societal changes and challenges for democracy

The Chair in Democracy and Transition enables me to do research on how democracy functions when making political choices about major societal changes, says Marcel Boogers. We are talking about the energy transition, climate transition and other changes that have major social impacts. Current issues such as nitrogen reduction, building windmills and protecting biodiversity often lead to social protests, not only because decisions are controversial but also because it is not clear how they are taken. Are all relevant interests and views heard? How are they balanced against each other? Is it clear to everyone how this is done? Is decision-making transparent and democratic? These questions are central for me.

I look forward to working on them. Not only because of the highly regarded research and teaching of the Utrecht University School of Governance, but also because the central themes of the Public Management Chair and the strategic research themes in which it participates are perfectly in line with my expertise and research interests.

Studying democratic experiments

In the coming years, I want to focus on studying democratic experiments used for this purpose, such as the National Citizens' Panel on Climate and the European Citizens' Panel on climate change, environment and public health. There are also all kinds of municipal and regional citizens' councils on sustainability and climate that are very interesting.

Strong impetus to research on the interface of sustainability and democracy

The Utrecht University School of Governance is very pleased with the appointment of Marcel Boogers as Endowed Professor of Democracy and Transition, says Prof Albert Meijer. This position, supported by Necker consultancy, will help strengthen (interdisciplinary) research into the relationship between democracy and sustainability transformation. Current cases result in all kinds of emerging challenges for democracy. New forms of democracy such as the Stadsgesprek Duurzame Energie in Utrecht, the Burgerberaad Klimaat of the province of Gelderland, the soon-to-be-formed National Citizens' Panel on Climate Change and the European Citizens' Panel on Climate Change, Environment and Public Health show that innovative forms of citizen participation are being sought at all kinds of administrative levels.

The chair offers a great opportunity to strengthen our scientific knowledge of this important relationship, and Marcel Boogers, with his extensive knowledge of democracy and insights into processes of (regional) innovation, is an eminently suitable scientist to hold this position. Moreover, with his previous membership of the Council for Public Administration and his many consultancy activities, he has great knowledge of the practice of local, regional and national democracy. Moreover, he has shown in many ways that he is very capable of connecting science and society.

With the establishment of this chair in cooperation with Necker and the appointment of Marcel Boogers, USG gives a strong impulse to important research on the interface of sustainability and democracy, says Albert Meijer.


Necker has been the specialist partner for public administration for almost two decades. In our daily work, we see the great challenges facing our democracy and the increased degree of complexity in which local government operates. This is precisely why we are delighted to contribute to scientific knowledge development and administrative thought on the relationship between inclusive democratic processes and transitions in our home city of Utrecht and in collaboration with USG by establishing this chair, Roel Freeke - founder of Necker - says.


As a kick-off and celebration of this chair, Necker and USG will jointly organise a symposium for students this spring, of which the contents will be determined by Marcel Boogers. This symposium will be on 16 May 2023, from 1.00 p.m. at USG.