Thomas Schillemans has been appointed to the position of Professor in Accountability, Behaviour and Governance at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG) of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. With the help of insights and experiments from behavioural science, Thomas Schillemans aims to understand and qualitatively improve the dynamics of accountability and supervision in the public sector. His chair, placed under USG partly at the behest of the Netherlands School of Public Administration, is affiliated with the interdisciplinary research theme Institutions for Open Societies at Utrecht University.
‘Apparently, I am doing something that appeals to people’, Thomas Schillemans says. ‘Of course, I am extremely proud of the title. However, now it is really important to give substance to the chair itself and not get sidetracked by the pleasant associations of the mere title, which simply fits the work that we are doing here. That aspect is what really matters here.’
Consolidating and innovating
‘I am going to consolidate and innovate’, the brand-new Professor announces. ‘Consolidation means to continue the research in public accountability, since we are one of the trendsetters worldwide. We are also going to innovate with the use of methods and insights from behavioural sciences, as well as doing experiments to improve our understanding of the dynamics involved in the system of accountability, among other things in my Vidi project. Other focal points of the innovation will be the collaboration with the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB), the embedding in Institutions for Open Societies (IOS), and the collaboration with other fields of expertise such as psychologists, lawyers and others.’
‘In addition, we want to make an impact through the interaction with professional practice. I have recently become the Dean of the NSOB learning studio Control and Compliance and I am involved in a course for the supervision sector under the direction of Judith van Erp here in Utrecht. Together with colleagues at the School of Law (among whom Ivo Giesen), we will investigate the possibility of doing something similar with the courts; all of them large, complex organisations with many assessment risks.’