Dr. Bishoy Zaki

Bishoy ZakiContact details / research disciplines / publications

Question & answer

What is your hidden talent?

Despite the fact that talking about them will make them stop being hidden, this seems like a great place to do so. I like playing Football, Squash, Tennis and Padel. I am also a huge aviation fan, so whenever I have the chance, I always like logging in some flight training hours or study more about it! I also like nuclear fusion and astrophysics, but I am not good at either, at all.

What is your research about?

While I work with different theoretical approaches to public policy, my primary focus is on policy learning. Simply put, policy learning research aims at understanding why policy actors “do what they do” and the “outcomes of what they do” based on what and how they learn about policy issues. My work mainly focuses on how we can define, identify, and analyze policy learning and explain its outcomes. For example, to help us explain and predict policy change or policy stability. Over the past few years, in addition research on policy learning theory, I had a substantial focus on how policy actors learn during crises, especially COVID-19.

Why the interest in that subject?

Before joining academia, as a public administration practitioner, I was involved in policy learning all the time, whether as a learner or as someone tasked with administering policy learning and knowledge transfer programs. I found that process mesmerizing and quite central for our understanding of how and why things happen in public policy. Getting into the literature on policy learning, one realizes how rich it has become over the years, but also the amount of work that still needs to be done, which is always an inspiring place to start from!

Why is your research socially relevant?

Learning is everywhere around us. With increasingly complex policy problems such as climate change, energy, food security, and most recently the COVID-19 crisis, policymakers engage in policy learning all the time. These learning processes significantly shape policymaking. We have recently seen, policy actors learning the right lessons can often mean the difference between life and death. Hence, while scholars working on policy learning research aim at developing theories that explain how and why learning takes place, they do so while keeping an eye on how we can improve policy learning in practice, towards better policymaking and better lives for everyone.

How would colleagues describe you?

IHonestly, I am not really sure. I continuously work under the assumption that they don’t …. But if they do, I hope “works hard, but still up for doing something fun!”

What is the first thing you do when you have unexpected free time in your agenda?

If I am not teaching or doing research, I like going on a spontaneous trip whenever possible, or find football game with friends and jump right in!