03101201 HILARY + KATE 088

Click to read a cute little story about my doctorate: HAPPYHILARYHIPPO.

Since my youth exchange in Finland in 1999 – or perhaps even before – I have been fascinated by all things European. A fascination which has extended into my academic studies.

In 2004, I completed a Bachelor of Arts (European Studies) with Honours at the Australian National University. My Honours Research, ‘New Protection from a Traditional Fear: The Integration of Finland into the European Union’, focused on three features of Finnish integration. Firstly, the question of Finland’s national security and its use of EU-membership to align itself with the ‘West’. Secondly, the economic impact of integration on Finnish agriculture, once more heavily subsidised than those European member-states receiving subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy. Thirdly, the unique contribution Finland offered in the improvement of openness and transparency in the European Union and its ‘democratic deficit’. And in my final chapter, I discussed the potential changes to Finland and its position within the European Union, with the imminent enlargement of the European Union to twenty-five member-states (on 1 May 2004).

In 2013, I completed a Master of European and International Studies at Monash University. My Master’s thesis, ‘The Commerciality of Expertise: Policy Development in the European Commission’ was initially intended as a market research tool for understanding the commercial consultant market in European affairs, and represents my most outstanding academic result to date. In this thesis, I studied the extent to which external expert advice informed the policy development process in the European Commission, particularly the final policy outcome. I knew it to be very important, as although the procurement of external expert advice is demonstrably prevalent in the work of the European Commission, its overall influence on the final policy outcome – or indeed, the end effect it may have on individual European citizens – is not yet quantified.

In 2015, I commenced my doctoral studies at King’s College London. My studies focus on the mutualistic relationship between commercial consultants and government in the policy development process, with the ultimate aim to foster genuine public accountability through quantifying how such advice influences government policy decisions. A very exciting topic, with an applicability beyond the European Commission and its role – into all national governments.

In addition, it would be lovely if you could please take a moment to visit my GoFundMe campaign (click on the badge below), and support me in my very courageous choice to self-fund my doctorate!

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