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13 December 2021

Agnieszka looking at pathway to better policy after PhD pass

King’s student Agnieszka Widuto hopes the insights gained during her PhD research will help shape more effective policymaking in the future.

King’s student Agnieszka Widuto. Picture: AW

Agnieszka’s research examined the role of indicators ‘beyond GDP’ in European Union policymaking, such as indicators linked to social and environmental goals, and the King’s alumni hopes her work will help stimulate debate between policymakers and, ultimately, make for better policy.

Agnieszka is set to take up a post as policy analyst with the European Parliament’s Research Service after receiving news that she had successfully defended her PhD thesis at a ‘viva voce’ – a rigorous examination from a panel of senior academics.

Having also worked as a policy analyst at the European Union prior to her PhD, Agnieszka chose the subject because of a long-standing interest in how ideas are shaped into policy using indicators.

She said: “I’ve always been interested in how ideas and policy visions are expressed via indicators in policy, for example Sustainable Development Goals and similar initiatives.”

Her research showed that ‘beyond GDP’ indicators are increasingly present in EU policy, though they are mostly used in ‘soft’ ways such as monitoring and reporting, and more rarely for budgetary allocations or as targets embedded in legislation.

In future, however, Agnieszka, a member of the Department of European and International Studies at King’s, hopes her work could help make beyond GDP factors more prevalent in policy discussions.

She said: “My research showed that indicators stimulate debate, bring people from different policy areas together and help break the silos. I hope my findings could contribute to more effective implementation of indicators and be translated into policy recommendations.”

Agnieszka thanked her PhD supervisors Dr Christopher Holmes and Professor Magnus Ryner for their “continuous support and invaluable advice”, adding: “I would also like to thank my examiners for a great viva experience and stimulating discussion and other acknowledgements of course go to my interviewees, who provided a wealth of insights on the topic, and my PhD mates, friends and family, who kindly supported me throughout the process.”

In this story

Magnus Ryner

Professor of International Political Economy


Associate Dean (Doctoral Studies), Interim