Skip to main content


Photo of Dr Athanassios Gouglas

Dr Athanassios Gouglas



I am Lecturer in politics and public policy. I am the founding director of the MSc Global Governance and member of three research clusters in the Politics Department at Exeter: Public Policy Research, the Centre for European Governance (CEG) and of the Centre for Elections, Media and Participation (CEMaP). Since July 2019 I serve as Exam Officer for the Politics Department.

My research focuses on comparative poltics and comparative public policy. In particular I study political elites, especially legislators and political advisers, but also parliaments, policy advice and knowledge utilization. I have conducted research with a focus on Western Europe, Napoleonic administrative systems in Southern Europe, Greece, the European Union (European Commission and European Parliament) and Australia. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have published in a series of journals, including the Journal of European Public Policy (JEPP), Public Administration, the European Journal of Political Research (EJPR), Politics and Party Politics.

I teach the core module for the MSc Global Governance where I combine global public plicy and international relations approaches. I also teach two globally unique modules on political advisers and policy making in an internationally comparative perspective at both undergraduate and postgraduate level where I combine frontier research and applied politics approaches. 

Finally, I am André Molitor invited professor for 2020-21 at PSAD, UC Louvain, Belgium;  external research fellow at KU Leuven, Belgium; secretary to the Greek Politics Groups (GPSG) in the Political Science Association (PSA) UK; and Associate Director for International Partnerships for the International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum (ICPA) linked to the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice (JCPA).   

Research group links

Research interests

 I am currently conducting extensive research work on three areas.

  1. First, the circulation of legislators in parliaments, the extent to which it happens and the reasons why, as well as its effects on policy outcomes. I have completed research in Western Europe and Australia and my new focus is on Asian, African and Latin American legislatures.
  2. Second, I also study political advisers, in particular their policy roles and their interactions with public servants and ministers, in order to understand the way this executive triangle shapes public policy.  My research is internationally comparative the main focus being on Westminster, Napoleonic, Nordic and Germanic administrative systems and the USA. I have a book monograph in contract with Edward Elgar with the provisional title 'Political Advisers: Democracy Fighters, or Unaccountable Dark Masters?'.
  3. Finally, I am also researching knowledge utilisation, in particular the use of policy relevant information by public servants and policy makers in the core executive. My research has so far focused on the EU and the UK.

Research supervision

I am happy to supervise PhD students on the following general topics

  • Political elites (social circulation/transformation and legislative turnover) outside of the OECD consolidated democracies
  • Political advisors (longitudinal large N approaches within OECD countries, or free topic outside of the OECD)
  • Legislative turnover and policy outcomes
  • Knowledge utilization and policy advice utilization in any setting
  • Global governance from a global public policy perspective

Research students

I am currently co-supervising two PhD students who are based at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute in Belgium. Their topics are on political advisers and ministerial offices in Westminster and Napoleonic systems. They are employed by two separate research projects, the head of which is Prof. Dr. Marleen Brans.  

  • FWO, G079619N
  • C14/18/020, BOF C14

External impact and engagement

My research and research informed opinion has figured in numerous media and user organization outlets. 

Gouglas, A. Maddens, B., Brans, M. (2019). Het ledenverloop in de Belgische Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (1945-2014). Een analyse vanuit vergelijkend perspectief. VIVES BRIEFING 2019/04. Leuven: KU Leuven. Online  Cited in De Standaard and many Belgian print and online media. 

Gouglas, A. (2019). The fractionalisation of Parliament is a source of deadlock. Go to the people. The UK in a Changing World. Online

Gouglas, a. (2019). Like Greece, Brexit negotiations leave the UK a rule taker from the EU. The Conversation. Online

Gouglas, A., Brans, M. (2016). UK Extended Ministerial Offices: on the road to cabinetisation. University College London, Constitution Unit. Online

Gouglas, A., Maddens, B. (2015). Membership change in the Dutch Tweede Kamer 1946-2012. Montesquieu Institute, the Hague.


I studied at the University of Cambridge (UK), the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece) and KU Leuven (Belgium). I received my PhD from KU Leuven in 2017. My doctoral research was funded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). I was a visiting doctoral research fellow at the University of Vienna, Bern, Leiden, Siena, University College London and SciencesPo-Paris. As a recipient of an additional FWO long-stay abroad grant I also conducted research at the Australian National University.  

I joined the Politics Department at the University of Exeter in September 2018 as  lecturer in politics and public policy. I am a member of the Centre for European Governance (CEG) and of the Centre for Elections, Media and Participation (CEMaP) at Exeter. In 2019 I became the founding director of the MSc Global Governance . Since July 2019 I serve as the Politics Department Exam Officer. 

Before academia, I worked as a civil servant in the Hellenic Civil Service and as political and policy adviser in two ministerial cabinets in Greece. I also worked as scientific assistant to a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, and adviser to a Member of the European Parliament.

 Edit profile