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The theme of the 100th disputation is the EU administration

Monday 20 April, Thomas Henökl will defend his PhD. He is the 100th candidate to defend a doctoral dissertation on UiA’s own programmes.

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Thomas Henökl

Research training is an important job for all universities. It takes time to build the competence needed within the academic environments to be able to provide a top education – but at UiA, all six faculties have one or more active doctorate programmes.

Formally, Thomas Henökl’s doctorate won’t be ready until UiA’s Board has approved the evaluation committee’s judgement, a decision UiA’s Board has delegated to the rector. Only then will Thomas Henökl be conferred a PhD.

Because of this, the celebration of the institution’s 100th disputation will be celebrated with cake on both of UiA’s campuses Monday 27 April.

Henökl’s dissertation about the EU’s foreign policy service

Thomas E. Henökl from Austria defends his PhD at the Faculty of Social Sciences’ PhD programme, Specialisation in Public Administration, at the University of Agder.

Henökl has worked with research projects on multilevel politics and administration at UiA’s Department of Political Science and Management.

The candidate describes the essence of the dissertation:

The EU’s foreign and diplomatic service inside-out and how it affects international politics

The research centres on EU’s legal and administrative system from an organizational theoretical point of view.

Henökl has written about the European Union’s foreign policy service. The service was established in 2011, and the purpose is to administrate the EU’s relations with the rest of the world. The current challenges to European safety, with basis in crises and armed conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and North Africa, puts the EU under great pressure and emphasises the importance of a well-run foreign and diplomatic service.

After the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, the foreign policy service became a separate organisation, formed from the European Commission, the Council Secretariat, the member country diplomats and the EU’s foreign delegations, thus representing a step toward centralisation of the state’s core competency.

The question is how this service works, and if one day it will replace the diplomatic services in the EU’s member countries – an interesting and appealing problem in a time marked by crises and financial restrictions.

In the period from 2005 to 2011, Thomas Henökl worked as a political advisor for the European Commission, for the EU’s foreign policy service and at the European Institute of Public Administration (Maastricht, NL). Before this, Henökl studied and worked in France (Sciences-Po, IEP Paris), the Netherlands (European Institute of Public Administration), and Japan (International Christian University, ICU Tokyo and the EU’s Delegation in Japan). In addition, he has experience from distressed areas and developing countries (Egypt, India, Tanzania).

Henökl has a background and competence in both EU law and administration, foreign and security policy, in addition to crisis and risk management, political analysis and evaluation, innovation and management developing. He has 15 years of experience in research, consultancy and project management from international organisations, public administration and private sector.

His key-competences are:

  • Research in the fields of European public policy, administration, political science and organisational theory
  • Strong presentation and communication skills
  • Experience within public advisory, university lecturing and research
  • Several years’ expertise with European institutions, multilevel administration and international policy (security analysis)
  • Analysis and advice experience in public administration and law, for example, Henökl was re-conducted as external member to the Ethics and Conflicts of Interest Advisory Board of the European Chemicals Agency (Helsinki) for the period 2014-2016
  • International project management (administration reform, reform of security sector) in East and South Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina); Asia (India and Japan), Africa (Egypt and Tanzania); for example:
  • Reform of police and security apparatus in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2006-2007), EIPA Maastricht;
  • Planning and implementation of security political initiatives for the EU’s 140 ambassadors in the entire world (2008-10)

Disputation facts:

The candidate: Thomas Henökl (1977) is from Austria. He received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Innsbruck and his Master’s degree at three institutions: 1) the University of Innsbruck, 2) The Paris Institute of Political Studies (France), and 3) Graduate School of Public Administration at the International Christian University, Tokyo (Japan). During his time as a research fellow, he did research at UiA, financed by UiA’s budget.

The examination lecture and disputation will take place in Gabriel Scotts auditorium, B1-001, Campus Kristiansand

Dean Sigbjørn Sødal will lead the disputation.

Time of examination lecture: Monday 20 April 2015 10:15 – 11:00
Given subject for examination lecture: ”The institutional architecture of EU External Relations after the Treaty of Lisbon”

Time of disputation: Monday 20 April 2015 12:15 – aprox. 17:00
Title of dissertation: ”Inside the External Action Service: ’Unpacking’ the EU Foreign Policy Bureaucracy


First opponent: Professor Sophie Vanhoonacker, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
Second opponent: Associate Professor Jozef Batora, Comenicus University Bratislava, Slovakia
The evaluation committee is led by associate professor Stefan Gänzle, Department of Political Science and Management, UiA
Supervisor for the doctoral work was professor Jarle Trondal, Department of Political Science and Management, UiA