Robust Crisis Governance in Turbulent Times – Mindset, Evidence, Strategies (ROBUST)

Project Identification
1136/2021
Project Period
10/2022 - 3/2026
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
European Union
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Economics and Administration
Cooperating Organization
Jan Evangelista Purkyněn Military Academy of Medicine, Hradec Králové
University of Antwerpen
Tallinn University
Corvinus University of Budapest
Universiteit Utrecht
Universidad de Zaragoza
The University of Turin
The Arctic University of Norway

The focus of European post-pandemic politics is currently on ‘bouncing back’ from the crisis by building system capacities for enhanced resilience. These efforts draw on resilience research, which has become the dominant paradigm in crisis management. However, there are much broader governance challenges, which this approach fails to take into account. Hence, the real question is how European societies can deliver effective crisis responses in the future through flexible adaptation and proactive innovation while ensuring that core goals and values about democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights are upheld in the face of crisis-induced turbulence. The ROBUST project aims to set in motion a paradigm shift from ‘resilience’ (‘bouncing back’) to ‘robustness’ (‘building back better’) as the central principle of future crisis governance. This implies understanding how democratic institutions can deliver effective crisis governance responses while at the same time adapting and innovating the way in which they deliver on core values. The project breaks new ground by conceptualizing and operationalizing robust crisis responses, investigating empirically how EU and national strategies for multilevel governance, hybridity in governance, democracy, and law, and societal intelligence contribute to robustness, and how system-level responses interact with crisis governance ‘on the streets’ of localities throughout Europe. Delivering the elements of a new crisis governance mindset along with policy recommendations rooted in comparative and historical analysis of eight EU countries and 16 local cases, the project identifies the configurations of factors which lead to (or hinder) robust crisis governance and thereby enable European democratic institutions to maintain and increase their ability to deliver on their fundamental values. Alongside its analytical contributions, the project furthermore establishes a learning hub, which will serve as the social engine of the paradigm shift envisioned by the project - also beyond the end of the project.

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