Protego hosted two doctoral students, Giulia Bazzan (2017) and Carlotta Scioldo (2019). Giulia was in residence at the University of Exeter with Claudio Radaelli, Claire Dunlop and Jonathan Kamkhaji. Carlotta spent her stay at the School of Public Policy, University College London, under the supervision of Claudio Radaelli, with frequent exchanges with the other doctoral students at UCL and the Protego Team at UCL and the University of Exeter – most of the project meetings were in London. Today Giulia and Carlotta work respectively at Public Administration and Policy Group, University of Wageningen and at the Dipartimento Interateneo di Scienze, Progetto e Politiche Del Territorio of Università degli Studi di Torino. We asked Carlotta and Giulia about the staying and what they got out of their visits.
Giulia Bazzan (left) was in residence at the University of Exeter with Claudio Radaelli, Claire Dunlop and Jonathan Kamkhajiand while Carlotta Scioldo (right) spent her stay at the School of Public Policy, University College London, under the supervision of Claudio Radaelli.
How this relates to your doctoral research?
GB: I had the possibility of discussing with the team since the early stages of my doctoral research. Our discussions kind of planted in my mind the seeds of what then became an article published in the European Journal of Risk Regulation in 2017. My doctoral thesis shared a common theoretical background with PROTEGO, and, apart from the guidance provided by my supervisor in Milan, I greatly benefited from the meetings we had together with Claudio, Claire and Jonathan. With them we talked about the best analytical approach to collect and handle the empirical data, and how to theoretically ground the comparative analysis I did in my research. Jonathan and I had many opportunities to sit together like in a lab and look very closely at how the Protego data were about to be gathered, following a set of protocols (for data collection) that at that time were still in the pilot stage.
CS: The visiting period at UCL’s Department of Political Science and School of Public Policy was a rewarding experience on many levels. Attending department seminars and lectures gave me great insights on most current issues discussed in the international academic environment, of which my PhD project will profit both in terms of content as well as references. I also want to mention the great environment provided by the library at UCL, where I found real treasures – of course I am thinking of political science and public policy treasures, the crown jewels are in another part of London!
What was the topic of your doctoral dissertation?
GB: Specifically, my research focused on the effectiveness of food safety governance, aiming at understanding under which institutional conditions food regulation is effective. To answer to my research question, I applied the Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD) (developed by Nobel-prize winner Elinor Ostrom) to the food safety governance designs of 15 EU member states. I completed and successfully defended my thesis at the University of Milan, and now I work in the Netherlands.
How was your experience within PROTEGO?
Giulia Bazzan: I spent three months – from September to December 2017 – as a PhD visiting student at the Centre of European Governance (CEG) in Exeter, working at my doctoral thesis in close contact with the PROTEGO team. The reason to travel to Exeter and meet with Claudio and Claire was indeed Protego. At that time, I had already started my doctoral dissertation. my PhD Supervisor, who is on the Protego core team, suggested a period of study and research with the other members of the core team. At Exeter I also met with the post-doctoral fellow who was working close to the data collection stage, Jonathan Kamkhaji. This research and study period showed me how an ERC advanced project works. Actually it is more than a project, it is a research programme.
Carlotta Scioldo: I met with Claudio at the summer school of the International Public Policy Association in 2018, where he taught me the theory of policy learning and described the ERC project Protego. My supervisory team in Turin is focused on urban studies and planning. So I thought it would be good to spend time in a proper political science lab. Protego seemed an interesting project, and by then Claudio has moved to the School of Public Policy at UCL. For me UCL had the additional attractive of hosting the Bartlett School of Architecture. To cut a long story short: the PROTEGO project allowed me to be part of a unique environment for ground-breaking research. I had the great opportunity to meet a highly motivated team of researchers with whom I had the pleasure to share insights in methods and approaches to data collection and data analysis.
Giulia Bazzan tells us: “I can safely say that the visiting period I spent in Exeter was a truly turning point for my doctoral thesis and my further career development. “
In the end, was this experience important for your career?
GB: I hate platitudes, but I can safely say that the visiting period I spent in Exeter was a truly turning point for my doctoral thesis and my further career development. During the visiting period with the Protego team, I also had the opportunity of meeting other PhD students, Postdoc researchers, and senior scholars who dedicated their time in giving me feedback and reviewing my work. Thanks to this experience, I greatly improved both my research and academic writing skills.
My engagement with the PROTEGO team also resulted into an in-depth discussion of an article I wrote together with a PhD colleague – Dr. Marta Migliorati – which was finally published in the International Review of Public Policy early this year. Claudio talked to Marta and me about how to prepare articles for an academic journals. These are important tricks of the trade (to paraphrase Howard Becker) for young career researchers.
CS: I found it to be an overwhelmingly positive experience, that I would ultimately not hesitate in recommending to other early career researchers. Protego is a fascinating programme, an ERC advanced programme with many different angles. It really opened my mind.