Doctoral Researcher in Public Administration 

About me

I am a Doctoral Researcher in Public Administration at the KU Leuven  Public Governance Institute, Belgium. 

I research the changing nature of the political executive. My special focus is on the institutional development of ministers' offices and the rise of political advisers wedged between the nexus of politics and administration. My comparative research project includes an analysis of the four classic Westminster countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The project is funded by the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO). 

Prior to moving to Brussels, I worked at the University of Melbourne for six years in several roles, including as a Government Relations Adviser in the Vice-Chancellor's Office, Social Media and Communications Officer at the Melbourne School of Government, and Teaching Associate at the School of Social and Political Sciences. In earlier roles, I worked as a TV Producer at Sky News Australia and spent a year supporting a foreign aid project in Solomon Islands. 


email me at heath.pickering@kuleuven.be

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Heath Pickering



Pickering, H., Craft, J., & Brans, M. 2023. Ministerial Advisers as Power Resources: Exploring Expansion, Stability, and Contraction in Westminster Ministers’ Offices, Parliamentary Affairs, gsad005.

Orchard, D., Gouglas, A., & Pickering, H. 2023. Life after Whitehall: The Career Moves of British Special Advisers, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 0(0).

Pickering, H., Brans., & Peters, B. G. (2023). The comparative method in ministerial adviser research. In R. Shaw (eds), Handbook of Ministerial and Political Advisers. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 137-154.

Meert, A., Pickering, H., Brans., & Gouglas, A. (2023). Systematic Literature Reviews: Opportunities and limits in ministerial adviser research. In R. Shaw (eds), Handbook of Ministerial and Political Advisers. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 173-195.

Pickering, H. (2023). Glossary: common terms and concepts found in the literature on ministerial and political advisers. In R. Shaw (eds), Handbook of Ministerial and Political Advisers. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 419-426.

Brenton, S., & Pickering, H. 2022. Trustworthiness, Stability and Productivity of Minority Governments in Australia, Parliamentary Affairs, 75(2), 308-339.

Pickering, H. 2022. Advising Governments in the Westminster Tradition: Policy Advisory Systems in Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand, by Jonathan Craft and John Halligan, Public Administration Review, 82(4), 778-780 (book review).

Pickering, H. & Brans, M. 2020. Government ministers and their "Special Advisers", Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 30(3), 521–523 (double book review).

Krajňák, S., Staronova, K., & Pickering, H. 2020. Ministerial Advisers in Slovakia: Profiles and Career Paths, 2010–2020, NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy, 13(2), 115-140. 

Publications in progress (with other co-authors)

The Prime Minister's Chief-of-Staff: A Profile and Changing Trends from Westminster Countries

Executive Advisory and Support Offices: Exploring the Institutional Architecture of Ministers’ Offices 

Sample of op-ed articles

Pickering, H and Gouglas, T 2023. Most Special Advisers become lobbyists after leaving government – new research, 28 February, The Conversation, London

Pickering, H 2020. Covid-19 to entrench 'big government' policies for good, 28 April, The Mandarin, Canberra

Pickering, H 2019. Why Canada has so many political advisers, 17 October, The Conversation, Toronto

Pickering, H 2018. Surviving Australian politics: 4 reforms to stop ousting leaders, 30 August, Pursuit, Melbourne

Pickering, H 2017. Australia’s Referendum Drought, 16 August, Pursuit, Melbourne

Pickering, H 2016. Three-year parliamentary terms are too short, 17 May, Huffington Post

Brenton, S and Pickering, H 2016. The rise of LGBTIQ Politicians, 30 June, Election Watch, Melbourne 

Pickering, H 2016. Brexit proves Baby Boomers should get less of a vote, 27 June, VICE


Teaching Assistant in the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium

(2021-22) Policy Analysis 

(2019-20) Comparative Public Policy in Europe 


Teaching Assistant at the University of Melbourne, Australia

(2017–18) Public Policy Making

(2017–18) Comparative Politics

(2018) Politics and the Media

(2015–17) International Politics