European public sector consultants met to discuss arm's length, transparency, consistency and independence

Together with five other European consultancy institutions, at the end of November, Tech hosted an international course on research-based public sector consultancy and a workshop on co-creation in public sector responses. The events took place under the Ghent Group, a network started by AU for European public sector consultants within agriculture and the environment.

In late November, the Ghent Group welcomed participants from nine countries and more than ten research institutions to a course and workshop in the Belgian city of Ghent. Tech and five other European consultancy organisations hosted the two events, which were concrete manifestations of the network started by AU in 2021 as follow-up to a successful Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture/Danish Centre for Environment and Energy conference with more than 200 European public sector consultants.

The events ran over three days and they aimed to strengthen cooperation between the participating organisations and to promote a uniform European understanding of arm's length, transparency, consistency and independence in public sector consultancy. Participants from Aarhus University included Søren Ugilt Larsen, who has been employed as a senior adviser at Department of Agroecology since August.

"One of my take-aways from the course is the many different examples of how you can work with public sector consultancy in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe. As a new employee at AU, I've also benefited a lot from networking, because it's always easier to reach out to people you've already met if it becomes relevant at some point," he says, and continues:

"The workshop focused on how to get the different stakeholders in public sector consultancy to work together and create something useful together. It was exciting to learn more about facilitating such a process, working with authorities and business stakeholders without compromising on the arm's length principle."

See the programme for the course  and the workshop

About the Ghent Group

The Ghent Group is an informal network of European institutes and individuals working with research-based consultancy in agriculture and the environment. The group was founded by AU, CREA (Italy), LUKE (Finland), ILVO (Belgium), INRAE (France) and WUR (Netherlands) and aims to share best practice, learning and teaching.

Read more about The Ghent Group