‘Political Science and Public Policies’ (Scienza politica e politiche pubbliche, (SP3) is the standing group (SG) of the Italian Political Science Association comprising the scholars who look at the political sphere as a problem-solving activity, and who are interested in the nexus that binds institutions and society. For this reason, although rooted within the community of Italian political scientists, the SG is open to all those who, from different disciplinary perspectives and countries, share an interest in these issues. Since 2007, the SG promotes research, knowledge exchange and the dissemination of good practices in relation to teaching methods and approaches, with regards to the design, analysis and evaluation of public policies and the functioning and operation of public administrations both domestically, within Italy, and in the wider European and international contexts.
Teaching public policy and public administration represents one of the main areas of work of the SG. The SG encourages the dissemination of teaching methods and experiences regarding both undergraduate and graduate courses. To this aim, the SG also carries out a periodic monitoring of the teaching activities in place in Italian universities on public policy, policy evaluation, public administration, and cognate fields. Since 2010 the SG has contributed to the realization of the Summer School in Public Policies. Eight editions have been held to date. Since 2018, the Summer School has entered the IPPA (International Public Policy Association) International Summer School circuit: Padua hosted the 2018 and 2019 editions and will host the 2022 one, while the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the pandemic. The SG contributed each year with two scholarships for non-EU students to increase the attractiveness and dissemination of this initiative.
With regards to knowledge exchange (the so-called ‘terza missione’ in Italian), the SG promotes the organization of conferences, seminars and discussions with the policymaking community and with the wider public.
The foremost area of activity of the SG relates to fostering research excellence among its members. A key aim of the SG is to grow the reputation of the community of Italian scholars who work on public policy and administration, their ability to publish in top journals, and their competitiveness vis-à-vis national and international calls for research funding. To this aim, the SG: (i) organizes panels and round tables at the annual conference of the Italian Political Science Association; (ii) cooperates with homologue associations abroad (e.g. with the UK Political Studies Association, via the Italian Politics Specialist Group); (iii) facilitates informal networking among SG members to foster cooperation, cross-contamination and the development of early career researchers.