Whilst much research has already been undertaken on EU agencies and the agencification of EU executive governance, this has often been conducted within single disciplines. TARN integrates a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective to encourage in-depth research on agencification of EU executive governance.

This approach combined with insights from practitioners will lead to a better understanding of the EU, and will contribute to excellence, quality and democratization within EU scholarship and practice.

TARN will stimulate specific research on the following four themes:

1. Conceptualizing research on agencification of EU executive governance;
TARN will take stock of the agency research and conceptualise the phenomenon of agencification.

2. Constitutionality, powers and legitimacy of EU agencies;
TARN will address various concerns as regards the constitutionality and legitimacy of EU agencies. For example, what is the EU agencies’ constitutional position in the Treaties. What is the role of agencies’ role within the institutional balance, in view of their hybrid character and their dual harnessing of expertise and administrative capacity outside the executive competence of the EU Commission? What constitutes the legitimacy of agency-like bodies? What does the concept of independence entail? What can be learned from institutions such as the European Central Bank? In what way is the hierarchical production of knowledge by agencies a problem or advantageous for European integration?

3. International dimensions of European agency activity;
TARN will moreover investigate the international dimension of agency activity, a phenomenon that has been largely underexplored in the literature. What is the legal character of the various forms of agreements that agencies conclude with third countries and international organisations? Has their increasingly global competence brought about a shift in the EU’s institutional balance? Are globalisation processes leading to the establishment of transnational agencies and processes of knowledge production?

4. EU agencies’ functional operation and effectiveness;
Lastly, TARN will address various concerns as regards EU agencies’ effectiveness and functional operation. In their great diversity, agencies raise one common question: how might they best be organised in order to furnish optimal efficacy? The question of effectiveness extends beyond issues of technical capacity to encompass instead internal organisational issues, such as budgetary sufficiency, protocols of understanding between European and national actors, issues of staff management, as well as internal structures of good governance.