The 2016 Annual Conference of the European Group for Public Administration will be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands from 24 to 26 August. The event will be preceded by PhD Symposium on 22 and 23 August.

For realising and understanding the challenges that should be prioritised, as well as for formulating adequate policy solutions to react to these, policymakers need a reliable knowledge base. As some argue, the need for this is higher than ever today, in face of ‘wicked problems’ such as climate change radioactive waste, or pandemics. At the same time, significant hurdles to knowledge utilisation for policymaking have been increasingly realised. Already Caplan (1979: 459) described social scientists and policymakers as living in separate worlds, forming two communities – both with “different and often conflicting values, different reward systems and different languages”. Along with the different languages come cultural dissimilarities and translation difficulties. The borders between these ‘two communities’ are, however, by no means clear-cut. Rather, it has been highlighted how both social scientists and policymakers are engaged in a process of “making sense together” (Hoppe 1999), which is interactive and complex. Furthermore, the literature has increasingly paid attention to the variances in knowledge utilisation that exist between different countries on the one hand, and between different policy sectors on the other. For instance, forms of epistemic and political authority can differ decisively (Jasanoff 2005; Straßheim & Kettunen 2014). In this panel, we direct our focus on these cross-country and cross-policy variances.

Aspects that shall be dealt with include, but are not limited to:

• concepts/theories of cross-country and cross-policy variation in knowledge utilisation

• policy advisory systems, national and transnational configurations of expertise (e.g. epistemic communities)

• forms of epistemic and political authority

• practices and patterns of knowledge utilisation in policy-making and bureaucracies

• trends and possible convergences in these practices and patterns.

Contributions may also focus on the following specific topics:

• Comparative transactions and interfaces between bureaucracies and academic research

• Comparative bureaucratic policy work for integrating expertise, judgment and experience with the best available scientific evidence (chief scientific officers and knowledge centres in bureaucracies)