Tilburg Center for Regional Law and Governance

Interdisciplinary research on transformations and innovations in regional law and governance aimed at understanding as well as shaping society.

Vignet Tilburg Center for Regional Law and Governance

TiREG Research

TiREG’s research concentrates on the challenges associated with the seemingly conflicting processes of globalization and Europeanization, on the one hand, and decentralization and regionalization, on the other.

Emphasis is placed on innovative interactions between government, businesses, citizens and knowledge institutions that emerge in response to such transformative challenges.

The region, in its various sizes and shapes, increasingly seems to serve as a focal point of these transformations and innovations - economically, ecologically, culturally, as well as administratively and politically.

This raises a host of exploratory, explanatory and evaluative questions:

  • What do these innovative interactions look like? How are they characterized? What differences exist between regions in, for instance, the Netherlands and abroad? Or within a region, between the various problem areas?
  • How can we explain what the interactions that develop in response to societal challenges look like? How can differences in the design of new forms of governance be understood?
  • How effective are novel interactions? How do we actually know they are effective? In what ways can societal effects and impacts be measured? How legitimate are novel interactions? In what ways can responsibility and accountability be organized?

To answer these questions, novel scientific knowledge is required. Not only to better understand the regional responses to real-world challenges, but also to help improve these responses so as to make governance (more) effective as well as (more) legitimate.

High-quality scientific research

TiREG conducts high-quality scientific research on transformations and innovations in regional law and governance, which at the same time is of direct relevance to practice. It draws on existing university departments and centers and institutes for expertise, and works closely with practitioners to ensure that research findings are applicable and actionable. This research, while curiosity driven, will use real-life problems as a starting point and aims to contribute to discernible solutions.

Multi/interdisciplinary approach

TiREG’s primary focus will be on questions of law and governance and, in due time, economics. We are convinced, however, that novel and emerging interactions cannot be properly understood without sufficient knowledge of the underlying (substantive) challenges and problems. TiREG will therefore cross the borders of disciplines, bringing together legal scholars, social scientists, data scientists, scholars of technological innovation and any other field of relevance to the problem at hand.

Comparative and longitudinal perspective

We strongly believe in comparative research, juxtaposing governance structures across regions, countries, sectors and over time. It is the Center’s ambition to connect insights developed on ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t’ in one area with those in other areas. Whenever feasible and desirable, research will be longitudinal, investigating transformations and innovations over time and long-term changes in governance.

Analytical as well as substantive focus

Analytically, TiREG’s research will focus on processes and structures of decision-making, coordination and collaboration across levels of governance, as well as on policy implementation, law enforcement, regulatory supervision and performance management in network settings. Substantively, research will zoom in on several problem areas, including economic development & growth, sustainable energy & mobility, law & order, and care & cure. We consider the combined focus on substantive problems as well as on the processes and structures to govern those problems both invaluable and indispensable, for science and practice alike.

Pluralistic methodology

TiREG combines theoretical, historical, legal, empirical, and statistical analyses. For instance, we are currently conducting a field lab with practitioners on innovations in the fight against organized crime, which involves interviewing and observational methods. We are developing ideas to follow-up on this field lab with quasi-experimental research. We also envisage the construction of a multipurpose database on regions, filled with a variety of (quantitative and qualitative) data, not only economic but also social, to perform statistical analyses, and serve as a starting point for further historical, legal and empirical research.