dr. (Sylvia) SI Bergh

dr. (Sylvia) SI Bergh
Associate professor International Institute of Social Studies Academic staff unit
Kortenaerkade 12, 's - Gravenhage
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I am an associate professor in development management and governance at ISS. Pressing societal issues in which multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance perspectives are needed, are at the heart of what I do. Currently, I am researching the issue of adaptation to heatwaves from a governance perspective. Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense, silently killing thousands of vulnerable people around the world every year. I strongly believe that adaptation to the effects of heatwaves requires collective action at various governance levels. I am also participating in research initiatives on the governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and humanitarian and social accountability.  

Over the past 20 years, I have built up research and policy expertise in the areas of:

  • local governance and decentralisation
  • natural resource management (particularly water and mining)
  • public sector reform

in the Global South, and the Middle East and North Africa region in particular.

The red thread through all my work are citizen-state relations and how they are embedded in the ‘politics of development’. This notion refers to how different types of (local, national, global) authorities and ordinary citizens negotiate over access to services, information, and social justice, often mediated by consultants or other brokers. I am particularly interested in how local actors translate and appropriate – and sometimes resist-  global policy models and tools.

In my research, I am also able to draw on my substantial teaching and thesis supervision experience at BA, MA, and PhD levels in the areas of political science, governance, and public policy & management (including evaluation). This experience allows me to approach the pressing issues of our time from an interdisciplinary perspective and using a range of research methods. Listening to the research needs of actors on the ground, and engaging my extensive networks to disseminate the results and try to influence policy at various governance levels is central in my research. I find it important that my research improves people’s lives.

Are you interested in doing research on these topics with me? I am available to supervise PhD candidates and keen on setting up international research collaborations. Please get in touch at bergh@iss.nl.


  • SI (Sylvia) Bergh (6 July 2021) - Integrale actie tegen hittegolven is nu noodzakelijk - NRC newspaper (in print and online)

  • Sylvia Bergh (1 January 2018) - The redeployment of state power in the Southern Mediterranean: Implications for local governance - Interview on the topic of the invited lecture as part of the Aula Mediterrània Lecture Series 2017-2018
  • Sylvia Bergh (1 January 2011) - Interview on the Arab Spring (‘Arabische opstand’) - Interview on the Arab Spring (‘Arabische opstand’)

  • Sylvia Bergh (2016) - Mediterranean Politics (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2016) - European Journal of Development Research (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - SpringerPlus (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - Cogent Social Sciences (Journal)

  • Sylvia Bergh (2018) - The Redeployement of State Power in the Southern Mediterranean - Implications for Local Governance - Aula Mediterrània 2017-2018 - Series of lectures held at the European Institue of the Mediterranean (IEMed)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2015) - Decentralisation and regional inequalities – evidence from The Netherlands and Morocco - Seminar 'Quelle réforme de la gouvernance publique pour un développement local et regional meilleur?’
  • Sylvia Bergh & Kees Biekart (2015) - Can (Evaluation) Consultants be Civic Innovators? Exploring the Shift from Auditors to Allies - Conference on Monitoring and Evaluation for Responsible Innovation, at Wageningen University
  • Sylvia Bergh & Daniele Rossi Doria (2014) - Plus ça change? Observing the Dynamics of Morocco’s ‘Arab Spring’ in the High Atlas - 14th General Conference of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI)
  • Sylvia Bergh & Daniele Rossi Doria (2014) - Plus ça change? Observing the Dynamics of Morocco’s ‘Arab Spring’ in the High Atlas - International conference on ‘Bringing People Back In Politics: the Role of Civil Society, Organizations and Political Parties in a Post-‘Arab Spring’ Context'
  • Sylvia Bergh (2014) - Research and Policy Influence: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Policy - Workshop on ‘Strengthening Research Capacities and Networks for Social Policy in the Middle East and North African (MENA) Region'
  • Sylvia Bergh (2013) - Decentralisation and local governance in the Euromed region - Meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM – launched by the EU’s Committee of the Regions)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2013) - Final discussant’s comments - Workshop on 'Dispossession and Collective Action: Neoliberal (Re)Structurings of the Rural in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey'
  • Sylvia Bergh (2013) - Social movements in Morocco and the 2011 Constitution: Assessing the Linkages - 4th conference of the GDRI-DREEM on ‘Evaluation of Economic Policies and Institutional Changes in Mediterranean Countries'
  • Sylvia Bergh (2011) - The National Human Development Initiative in Morocco: Some implications for local governance - Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting
  • Sylvia Bergh (2011) - Undermining the potential for representative democracy in the name of “participatory democracy”? The case of the National Initiative for Human Development and regime stability in Morocco - Twelfth Mediterranean Research Meeting

  • Sylvia Bergh & Karin Willemse (2016) - Contemporary Islam (Journal)
  • Sylvia Bergh (2012) - Mediterranean Politics (Journal)

The Hague Unviersity of Applied Sciences HHS

Start date approval
September 2020
End date approval
September 2023
employment next to my part-time EUR appointment

3105 Research Paper Preparation

Course Code

4392 GDP: Working towards the RP

Course Code

5401 Research Paper

Course Code

General Information

Course Code

Board of Examiners

Course Code

Major GDP

Course Code

Global Poverty, Local Solutions

Course Code

Senior researcher, Centre of Expertise on Global Governance

Start date approval
September 2020

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