ProAcTA: Events


IPSA World Congress 2020, Lisbon (26 - 28 July 2020)

ECPR General Conference 2020, Innsbruck (26 - 28 August 2020)

Annual Project Meeting, Maguelone, 10-13 September 2019


At the end of the busy period of summer conferences, the ProAcTA research team met in the South of France to discuss the exciting and productive developments since the last official project meeting. With the usual great organization by William Genieys of both intensive working sessions during the day and social togetherness in the evenings, the project partners discussed in collaborative atmospheres past and future work within the project. Besides the empirical advances in the qualitative analyses, one major point to discuss was the planned publication of the special issue on programmatic action in the EPA journal. Some articles are already in advanced stages of the review process, others are just submitted, and the project team still welcomes further articles by non-project-members that have an interest in applying Programmatic Action Framework (PAF) to their empirical cases. If you are interested in participating, do not hesitate to approach us! We would be happy to cooperate with you in experiencing the added value of PAF in policy research. 

William and Nils pointing towards the „white shark“, one of the mascots of ProAcTA

The obligatory group picture: Nils C. Bandelow and William Genieys (below, from left to right); Johanna Hornung, Marc Smyrl, Larry Brown, Matthias Brunn, Cyril Benoît, Brent Epperson, Saïd Darviche, and Lisa Klein (above, from left to right).

ECPR Conference, Wroclaw, 3 - 7 September 2019


Further contributing to an increased international visibility of the ProAcTA project’s work, research, and the resulting Programmatic Action Framework (PAF), Nils C. Bandelow co-chaired a panel with Patrick Hassenteufel on emerging perspectives on policy change at this year’s ECPR conference in Wroclaw. Lisa Klein presented a paper co-authored by Nils C. Bandelow and Johanna Hornung, which is a first-time application of PAF on the state level in federalist countries. Her contribution to the adaptation of PAF in German state education policy research received helpful comments by the project member Patrick Hassenteufel. The other papers, which either applied PAF directly (as in the presentation of Patrick Hassenteufel) or show strong potential ties to PAF, were discussed by Johanna Hornung. In a crowded room of interested audience, the panelists were able to convincingly promote PAF as a new lens on policy process research. This was also done by Nils C. Bandelow in the section’s roundtable of policy process framework, where he had the chance to present PAF along with prominent scholars of other frameworks (picture on the right hand side, from left to right) like the IAD (Edella Schlager), the ACF (Karin Ingold), Policy Learning (Claudio Radaelli), PAF (Nils C. Bandelow), and the MSF (Reimut Zohlnhöfer).

As in Washington D.C. and Montréal, Nils C. Bandelow and Johanna Hornung also promoted the European Policy Analysis (EPA) journal in the section on policy change and as a prominent journal for submitting recent work on European policy research. In the course of the conference, Johanna Hornung was nominated as one of five representatives to expedite the ECPR section on policy change. 

APSA Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., 28 August - 1 September 2019


The annual conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA) was held in Washington D.C. from 28 August to 1 September. Nils C. Bandelow, Ulrike Lepont, Johanna Hornung, and Marc Smyrl presented a total of four papers that are direct results from the ProAcTA project and provide first empirical insights into the four countries under study. Following a comparative approach, Nils C. Bandelow presented a paper co-authored by Patrick Hassenteufel and Johanna Hornung on the convergence of French and German health policy and the identification of programmatic groups that are the driving force behind these reforms in the two institutionally most different states. The paper is a central step forward in the empirical comparison of France and Germany and further institutionalizes the Programmatic Action Framework (PAF), which has been significantly shaped and further developed by the project team. Johanna Hornung equally presented a comparative study co-authored by Nils C. Bandelow, though with a larger focus on broader effects of the financial crisis on austerity in the EU. In-depth country knowledge was provided by Ulrike Lepont on the US-American case and by Marc Smyrl on the UK. This latter paper is co-authored by Anne-Laure Beaussier and Matthias Brunn and part of the planned special issue of European Policy Analysis (EPA) journal in spring 2020.  After the presentations, there was time to connect with internationally renowned scholars of public health policy, such as Miriam Laugesen and Larry Brown. 


Besides the conference, Nils C. Bandelow and Johanna Hornung participated in the editorial meeting of all journals published under the aegis of the Policy Studies Organization (PSO). Together with Fritz Sager, they represented the EPA journal, which has been listed in Scopus since 2018. With the first CiteScore for 2018 of 1.23, the influence of the journal is already in the upper half of the ranking for "Public Administration". The picture shows the advertisement of PSO journals at the Wiley stand.




International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP), Montréal, 26-28 June 2019


At this year’s ICPP in Montréal, ProAcTA research was particularly presented in the panel organized by Patrick Hassenteufel and Joseluis Mendez on „Further Defining the Relevance of Agency in the Policy Process: Theoretical and Empirical Issues“. Brent Epperson and Saïd Darviche presented a paper co-authored by William Genieys on the inter-elite competition and cooperation in health sector governance, thereby presenting results of their work on the US-American case, in which hybrid types of austerians and custodians as ideal types of programmatic actors emerged. Nils C. Bandelow presented a paper on a cross-fertilization of theories, which - although not explicitly PAF-related - sheds light on the interaction between institutions and policy actors. The institutional argument in PAF was finally taken up by the contribution by Johanna Hornung, Patrick Hassenteufel, and Nils C. Bandelow (presented by Johanna Hornung), which assesses education and policy advisory systems in respective countries as essential institutions for the formation of programmatic groups and an important foundation for comparative PAF research. 


Project Workshop in Paris, 28th/29th May 2019


The ProAcTA team met at the end of May at SciencesPo Paris to discuss intermediate project results and come together with (almost) all project members except those from overseas. Within two days and a total of four working sessions, the French and German team members began by presenting the policy-making and decision-making processes of the four countries to be analyzed: France, Germany, UK and the US. On the basis of these different political systems with divergent logics of health care, the participants discussed the comparability of studies applying the Programmatic Action Framework (PAF) in different contexts. One central message was that the peculiarities of each context have to be taken into account to identify functional equivalences in the formation of programmatic groups and the resources available to these groups, such as power positions. The explanatory power of the PAF remains stable, however, when adapting it to the respective context. Presentations of first empirical results from expert interviews in France and Germany emphasized this thesis and provide guidance for the ongoing research on these case studies. 


German ProAcTA team arriving in Paris! (from left to right: Johanna Hornung, Lisa Klein, Nikita Schlosser, Lina Iskandar, Nils C. Bandelow) 

ProAcTA team in front of SciencesPo Paris

Vivid discussion in the workshop sessions 

(from left to right: Farid Boussama, Marc Smyrl, William Genieys)

Following the theoretical debates and empirical results, an innovative methodological approach to discourse analysis was presented as one possible method to identify programmatic groups independent of context and language. Although this requires some additional time to obtain and learn how to use the corresponding software, the ProAcTA team hopes to generate new knowledge by this tool and further refine the empirical results based on interview transcripts. As the ProAcTA team strives towards exchange with other scholars to advance its research, the workshop was completed by external invited guests that commented both on the theoretical foundations and empirical applications of PAF. 


We continue to present theoretical and empirical insights of PAF at different conferences throughout this year, especially the ICPP in Montréal, the APSA in Washington D.C., and the ECPR in Wroclaw. Looking forward to seeing you there!

German PI Visit, Paris, 8 - 12 April 2019


From Monday to Friday, Nils C. Bandelow visited Paris to participate in several research interviews organized by Patrick Hassenteufel and Johanna Hornung and exchange recent results with the French project leader of ProAcTA, William Genieys. Besides the fieldwork, the four project members discussed chances and challenges of their comparative work on health policy and prepared the agenda for the project workshop in Paris at the end of May 2019.  


Johanna Hornung is currently guest researcher at the SciencesPo Paris (from 1 March to 31 May 2019) to conduct interviews in cooperation with Patrick Hassenteufel. During this period, the German team concentrates on analyzing the French health care system, its reforms and developments over the last decades, as well as their dominant debates on health care supply and provision. The interview partners are health political experts from official bodies of the French government, such as the health ministry, parliament, and senate, or stem from institutions subordinate to the state, such as sickness fund organizations  or regional health agencies.

Project Meeting, Paris, 13 - 15 November 2018

The French side of ProAcTA around William Genieys and Patrick Hassenteufel welcomed Nils Bandelow and Johanna Hornung in Paris to talk about intermediate project successes and challenges and to conduct the first interviews with competent key informants in important political institutions, which were greatly organized by Patrick Hassenteufel. During the stay, the German partners intensified their knowledge of the French health system and recent developments while reporting on their insights

on the German case, gained through interviews since the last project meeting. William Genieys, who in the meantime became professor at Sciences Po Paris, provided his office for intellectual discussion on the theoretical and empirical basis of the project. A great thank you for their hospitality goes to the French partners - it was a very successful stay! 

ECPR Conference, Hamburg, 22 - 25 August 2018


Nils Bandelow, Johanna Hornung, and Colette Vogeler presented the ProAcTA team at this year’s ECPR conference. Together with other members of the Comparative Politics and Public Policy“ team, they promoted the Programmatic Action Framework (PAF) and established further scholarly networks that share an interest in applying and developing the PAF.  The section on Advancing Frontiers in Policy Process Research“ provided the ideal platform to present latest research on the role of programmatic groups and policy programs in explaining long-term program resilience.  Johanna Hornung and Nils Bandelow co-authored a paper addressing this question and engaged in in-depth discussion with the audience during its presentation. As a newly emerging perspective on policy process dynamics, the PAF generates much discussion material for exchange with researchers in 

Annual Project Meeting, Maguelone, 9 - 13 July 2018


The annual project meeting of ProAcTA was a great success! Within the first three months of the project, the team members achieved advances in the project work; theoretically, empirically, and strategically. On the first day, the participants, which also included project partners who are not part of the core ProAcTA team, discussed the theoretical foundations of PAF by referring to prominent research in the sociology of elites, public policy and policy process research, and psychology. Following the theoretical clarifications and refinement of PAF, methodological challenges faced by the empirical work were addressed and first results from key informant interviews were presented by each of the project parts. 

Strategically, a special focus on the PAF in the international journal “European Policy Analysis“ is planned for spring 2019. Appropriate papers will be solicited possibly from a specific call for papers and the previous work of the project members. One of the goals is to publish coherent and mature guidance for scholars that want to apply the PAF in their field of interest. In the long run, the project team plans to edit a second special issue in a journal on comparative policy process research to outline the dynamics of programmatic action depending on different institutional contexts.

Besides the hard and productive work in the day sessions, the team members had a great time together and intensified the friendship-like cooperation. France’s win of the semifinal that paved the way to their eventual success as world champions was celebrated in the streets of Southern France with fireworks, wine, and good food.

IPPA Workshops in Pittsburgh, 26 - 28 June 2018


From 26 to 28 June 2018, the first IPPA Workshops on Public Policy took place in Pittsburgh, USA. In sum, the members of the ProAcTA team presented six papers in the workshop “Bringing Policy Actors Back In: Relevance and Prospects of Actor-Centered Approaches in Policy Studies“, which was organized by Joseluis Mendez and Patrick Hassenteufel. Five of the presented papers connect directly to our project work.

On Wednesday, Patrick Hassenteufel and William Genieys opened the discussion on the Programmatic Action Framework (PAF) with respect to methodological challenges to analyze policy change when programmatic actors are involved. They presented different approaches to study programmatic actors. The theoretical discussion followed on Thursday when Nils Bandelow presented the joint work of Nils Bandelow, Marc Smyrl and Johanna Hornung. Especially subject to discussion were the scope, assumptions, and hypotheses of PAF and the new figure of PAF, of which the workshop participants eagerly took pictures as it is unpublished so far.  Before that, William Genieys and Larry Brown presented a paper on custodians in health care policy in the US to exemplify the traveling capacity of PAF to other political systems.




Not directly applying or addressing the PAF but equally contributing to its development, Brent Epperson presented parts of his PhD dissertation in which he made use of discourse analysis to compare narratives in health care reforms on the federal and state level in the US. The exact role of narratives for PAF is yet to be clarified but consensus exists that they are important for a programmatic actor to share and promote a narrative, both to inwardly bind members and to legitimize a program to the outside. 

To conclude the morning session, and just when Germany exited from the World Cup, Johanna Hornung presented most recent joint work with Nils Bandelow on psychological foundations in policy process research. Whereas most frameworks draw on the assumption of a boundedly rational

human being, the prominent social identity approach has been largely neglected, so they advocate an integration of this approach into policy process research in general and PAF in particular. 

A special highlight was the new team look in form of the ProAcTA t-shirts. The white polo shirts contain the project logo, the individual name and the website url on the back. Team members now are always visible and easy to identify on conferences. Do not 

hesitate to approach us in case you have questions and/or comments on our project. 

Initial Project Meeting Before Official Start of ProAcTA, 27 - 30 March 2018


From March 27 to 30, the German project partners welcomed their French and Canadian friends to Braunschweig. Three intensive work days aimed at clarifying challenges before the official start of the project and to get to know the new project members who had not yet participated in the formulation of the project. Consequently, the work meeting started with a short introduction to the project and the team and the distribution of project coordination tasks. In the evenings, the project members used their time to strengthen their friendship and spend time together. Besides the core members of the ProAcTA team, members of the German team at the Chair of Comparative Politics and Public Policy enriched the evening social events. The team members enjoyed the time away from their hard work, but not without discussing further project-


We are happy to get in touch!

policy studies. To fuel this intellectual discourse, the ProAcTA team attends conferences of political science and disseminates theoretical and empirical project work as part of international academic encounters.

related meetings, steps forward, and plans for mutual visits. To conclude, all team members are enthusiastically looking forward to the future steps of the project and more intense cooperation. We are confident that our joint project will benefit us both personally and academically while bringing new insights to the health policy field.


Prof. Dr. Nils C. Bandelow

Comparative Politics and Public Policy

Bienroder Weg 97

TU Braunschweig

+49 (0) 531 391-8900

D-38106 Braunschweig