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Dr Dave Huitema is a Professor of Environmental Policy who works at the Open University of the Netherlands and at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

Huitema and his group of colleagues focus on the adaptability of policy systems. For policy systems to be adaptable, learning needs to take place and agency needs to be developed to translate learning in policy change. This is why the team is analyzing for example the role of experiments, evaluation, and entrepreneurs in learning and policy innovation.

Currently Huitema fullfils several academic roles. He is one of the coordinators of Marie Curie Intensive Training Network NEWAVE, research coordinator at the Faculty of Science at the Open University of the Netherlands, and member of the Research Board of the OU. In addition, Huitema is member of the Governing Board of the Dutch National Research School for the Environmental Sciences (SENSE), and he serves as member of the editorial board of various academic journals (including ‘Ecology and Society’ and ‘Global Environmental Change’).

In the past, Huitema acted as Vice-Chair of COST Action ‘Innovations in Climate Governance’ (IS1309, co-chaired with Andrew Jordan), he has served two terms as a member of the Governing Board of the Dutch Association for Public Administration, and he has been Director of Teaching in the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis at IVM.

Huitema has extensive international experience – he has been a visiting scholar to the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at University of California at Santa Barbara (2005 - visiting with Professor Oran Young), the Centre for Environmental Research and Training, University of Birmingham-UK (2000 - with Professor Judith Petts); the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University-Canada (1999 - with Professor Audrey Armour), the Department of Government, University of Essex-UK (1997 - with Professor Jeremy Richardson), and the Department of Political Science, University of Florida-USA (1996 - with Professors Albert Matheny and Walter Rosenbaum). He has done research in a range of countries, including Canada, the USA, the UK, Poland, Spain, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Huitema and colleagues have played key roles in a number of large scale research efforts funded by the European Union (CAPFLO, Cecilia2050, LUC4C, Combioserve, Responses, LiveDiverse, ADAM, NeWater) and the Dutch Government (Knowledge for Climate, Living with Water). Since 2019, Huitema is involved with the EU funded project NEWCOMERS. Huitema's group was host to the International Workshop on Entrepreneurship in Climate Governance (Amsterdam, June 2015), the Governance of Adaptation Symposium in Amsterdam (March 2012) and it maintains the Water Governance Blog. The group actively engages with discussions in the Earth System Governance network and the Resilience Alliance.

Huitema is author and (co)-editor of several books (the most recent being Governing Climate Change. Polycentricity in Action? Cambridge University Press 2018) and many peer reviewed articles on issues related to environmental governance. He received several prices for his work, notably the Lasswell Award for best article in the journal Policy Sciences (2012), the Van Poelje prize for the best Dutch publication in the field of Public Administration (2004), and the Brasz prize for the best master's thesis in Dutch Public Administration (1994).

Dave Huitema is accepting suitable new PhD students. Current and past PhD students that he has (co-) supervised from his position at VU Amsterdam:

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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