The research carried out as part of REMIT project will focus on normative construction, geopolitics and economic and social aspects of technology governance to create knowledge that supports the EU in re-conceptualizing multilateral governance in four crucial policy areas: digital, health bio, security and defence, and financial technologies. In innovative scenario testing workshops with EU officials, important regional groupings and national administrators, REMIT will design policy recommendations that will give a remit to reignite multilateralism via technology. A reigniting that not only reacts to China’s rise as a systemic technology rival or Russia’s potential as a technology abuser or the dominance of large U.S.-based digital platforms, but that sets a clear vision for the future—one in which Europe plays a leading role with its most important partners.

REMIT researchers will produce knowledge via several methods, but predominantly by using the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), an analytical tool that advances the way researchers approach policy analysis and formulation. By applying the ACF, researchers in REMIT will untangle the intricate web of actors, beliefs, and interactions within the four technology policy areas. Knowing the status quo makes the next step possible—to invent ideas and suggest paths forward.

The advocacy coalition framework (ACF) is a policy-oriented model that can be used to analyze and understand the dynamics of policymaking and implementation in complex political systems. The ACF framework is designed to provide a common language that enables a focus on the important relationships in a policy area and is especially useful in explaining contentious processes and those involving substantial conflicts over goals and technical or scientific information. For REMIT the ACF is uniquely able to include science in its model, which is an important facet fore REMIT’s research of technologies. The ACF is commonly used in political science and public policy research but is increasingly applied to foreign policy analysis as well.

The ACF consists of three major components: policy subsystems, advocacy coalitions, and policy change. Policy subsystems refer to the networks of actors, organizations, and institutions that are involved in a specific policy domain (which can be either can either be topical or geographical). Advocacy coalitions are groups of actors who share common beliefs, values, and interests regarding a particular policy issue. Policy change refers to the process of policymaking and implementation, including the strategies used by advocacy coalitions to influence policy outcomes. 

Using the ACF to examine technology policy and multilateralism has several benefits, including:

Key stakeholders

The ACF helps researchers to identify the key stakeholders involved in specific technology policy and multilateralism, such as relevant government agencies, non-government agencies, who may reside in interest groups, in industry associations, in academia and/or in the media, but also legal experts and technology experts. The ACF accommodates the various forums existing at many levels, from local city governments to regional lawmakers, who generate a flurry of different initiatives, policies, and regulations for technologies.  

Policy subsystems

The ACF helps researchers to analyze the policy subsystems that are involved in various technology polices and multilateralism, such as regulatory agencies, international organizations, and interest groups. Researchers collect relevant policy documents, regulations, legal frameworks, and industry standards that are pertinent to the specific technology subsystem. The glue that binds the members of the coalition together are their shared beliefs and worldviews. An advocacy coalition’s beliefs are about both the international and domestic situation as related to the policy subsystem—the unit of analysis that REMIT scholars will examine.

Coalition dynamics

The ACF helps researchers to assess the coalition dynamics that shape key technology policies and multilateralism. The ACF expects that the policy actors coordinate their behavior as advocacy coalitions and compete with other advocacy coalitions that also seek to translate their policy-related beliefs into public policy. Once policy actors observe that their opponents are beginning to pool resources and form alliances, they also begin seeking allies because “to remain without allies is to invite a defeat.”

policy outcomes

The ACF helps researchers to predict policy outcomes by identifying the factors that are most likely to influence policy change in the key technology policies under investigation. By understanding the beliefs, values, and interests of key stakeholders and analyzing coalition dynamics, researchers can make more accurate predictions about the policy outcomes that are likely to emerge from the policy process.

The ACF further encourages researchers to engage with policymakers, practitioners, and advocacy groups throughout the research process. By involving key stakeholders from our Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB), REMIT researchers can validate their findings, ensure the relevance and applicability of their research, and foster a sense of ownership among those who can drive policy change. Such engagement enhances the credibility and impact of REMIT’s research, bridges the gap between academia and practice, and facilitates evidence-informed policy decisions.