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 institutional development of political advisory systems in Westminster countries, with a special focus on the rise of ministerial advisers wedged between the nexus of politics and administration. My comparative research project includes case studies of Australia, Canada, Ireland, 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 five years in several roles, including as a Government Relations Adviser in the Vice-Chancellor's Office, and as a researcher and teaching assistant in the Melbourne School of Government. 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

DM me on Twitter @PolSciPick

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Brenton, S., Pickering, H. 2020. Trustworthiness, Stability and Productivity of Minority Governments in Australia, Parliamentary Affairs, gsaa064

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

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.

Pickering, H., Brans, M., Gouglas, T. 2019. The institutionalisation of ministerial advisers in Westminster governments (1970-2019): a systematic review and thematic synthesis. Paper presented at the International Conference on Public Policy, 26-28 June. Montreal, Canada.

Publications in progress (with other co-authors)

The Prime Minister's Chief-of-Staff: a Profile from Westminster Countries

The Comparative Method in Ministerial Adviser Research

Systematic Literature Reviews: Opportunities and Limits in Ministerial Adviser research

Executive advisory and support offices: exploring the institutional architecture of ministers’ offices

Op-ed articles

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, Russia’s strange, predictable election,15 March, Pursuit, Melbourne

Pickering, H 2017, How QLD’s election could see One Nation swept into power, 24 November, VICE, 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

Pickering, H 2016, Give Permanent Residents the Vote, 22 June, SBS News, Sydney

Pickering, H 2016, Foreign aid fail: the ‘lucky country’ is selfish, 09 June, ABC The Drum, Sydney

Pickering, H 2014, G20 Brisbane: $100m to protect world leaders, 12 November, Brisbane Times, Brisbane

Pickering, H 2014, Terminology Twist: From Failed States to Fragile States, 1 July, The Strategist, Canberra


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

(2021) B-KUL-S0A74A Policy Analysis

(2019-20) B-KUL-S0B54A Comparative Public Policy in Europe

Teaching Assistant at the University of Melbourne, Australia

(2017–18) POLS20008 Public Policy Making

(2017–18) POLS20023 Comparative Politics

(2018) POLS20026 Politics and the Media

(2015–17) INST10001 International Politics