In January 2004, the Center for Policy Studies at Central European University welcomed Professor Diane Stone as Marie Curie Chair. She was based at CPS for two years undertaking a research project on global knowledge networks. The research focus of the project was upon the policy-related roles of university research centers, consultancies, foundations, independent research institutes and think tanks. This was a scholarly study into the dynamic relationship between (global) governance and knowledge. The study went beyond false dichotomies of the separate worlds of (social) science research and that of policy making to argue that knowledge production is intimately bound with new modes of governance. The objective was draw together themes in the social science literature on how research relates to policy-making and vice-versa but to dramatically extend and up-date this literature by taking it beyond its methodological focus on what happens inside the nation-state to address global and regional dynamics.
Governments, international organizations and a variety of non-state actors confront transboundary policy problems concerned with cross border movement (be it money, pollution or refugees) or common property problems concerning the oceans or the atmosphere. International commissions have been created to ponder the social and economic implications of global issues and recommend action. The World Bank portrays itself as a 'knowledge bank' that disseminates 'best practice' in development. Around the world, think tanks are proliferating and participating in 'global public policy networks' . Unofficial global forums such as the World Economic Forum in Davos bring decision makers into contact with leading experts and scholars. The Open Society Institute brings together professional elites of global relevance and domestic legitimacy to address sensitive "open society" issues (human rights, equal opportunity, media freedom, transparency, etc.).
The contention of this research project was that knowledge production is being utilized in global and regional policy deliberations and sometimes having substantial impact on governance processes. While at one level the project casts policy shadows, the project also addresses important scholarly questions concerning the fundamental changes in the way we understand and use knowledge.