Michael Howlett

Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1)
Political Science

Areas of interest

Research and Supervision Fields:


-Public Policy
-Policy Design
-Public Administration
-Public Management

Teaching Streams

-Public Policy and Democratic Governance


  • BSocSci (honours), University of Ottawa
  • MA, University of British Columbia
  • PhD, Queen’s University


I am currently Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department. I began work at SFU in 1989 after teaching at Queen’s and the University of Victoria. Since then I have been Visiting Professor at SFU, the National University of Singapore, the University of Cagliari and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

I have published leading textbooks and articles on topics related to Canadian politics, natural resource and environmental policy, Canadian public policy, public policy-making and policy instruments and design, among others. I also served as co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science and am currently editor-in-chief of Policy Sciences, as well as co-editor of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Policy & Society, and Policy Design and Practice.

My current work deals with aspects of policy formulation and policy design, including the study of policy tools and instruments as well as formulation processes more generally.


2019. “The Challenges of Applying Design Thinking in Public Policy: Dealing with the Vagaries of Policy Formulation and Implementation.” forthcoming in Policy & Politics.

2019. “Who Coupled Which Stream(s)? Policy Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Energy–Water Nexus in Gujarat, India.” Public Administration and Development Early View.

2019. “Moving Policy Implementation Theory Forward: A Multiple Streams/Critical Juncture Approach.” Public Policy and Administration 34, no. 4: 405–30.

2019. “The Temporal Dimension(s) of Policy Designs: Resilience, Robustness and the Sequencing of Tools in Policy Mixes.” International Review of Public Policy 1, no. 1 (2019): 27–45.

2019. “Comparing Policy Advisory Systems beyond the OECD: Models, Dynamics and the Second-Generation Research Agenda.” Policy Studies 40, no. 3–4: 241–59.


Future courses may be subject to change.