20 years of research
at the Hertie School
From governance to grand challenges
The Hertie School’s interdisciplinary research examines real-world public policy issues. The school’s research community works on diverse problems, including tackling corruption, the future of labour, the regulation of hate speech, public sector reform, the dynamics of migration and the future of the European Union. Yet amid that diversity, there are three common threads that shape our research.
The allocation of public resources, implementing measures to address climate change, infrastructure projects, democratic reforms – governance takes on various forms, and drives research at the Hertie School since the university’s inauguration in 2004.
In a world of power diffusion (upwards, downwards and sideways) and ever more complex policy challenges, the state cannot solve problems alone. Governments need to orchestrate policy with other state and societal actors. Understanding actors and institutions is critical for successful governing and a core element of our research.
Crisis and uncertainty have become the new normal for governing bodies around the world. The series of crises that have emerged in the last 20 years – the financial crisis, the euro crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and energy crises and erupting wars – have created new challenges for governance and policymaking, confronting the deeply embedded liberal order.
Time pressure, communication barriers and heightened public attention, as well as the demand for decisive political action are common threads of these very different crises – ones which have also sparked distrust in the problem-solving capacities of politicians and democratic regimes. In this respect, crisis management has become an important mode of political action shifting into the focus of research at the Hertie School.
Whether they concern the future of work, the consequences of global climate change or the repercussions of global economic interconnection – grand challenges represent a general, not yet completely defined set of policy areas that require interdisciplinary research and work.
Research at the Hertie School has engaged with a broad range of (grand) policy challenges, for example via the creation of our six centres of competence, delving into what makes and breaks the stability of (democratic) order.