The European Court of Auditors (ECA) Award for research on public-sector auditing this year goes jointly to Andreea Hancu-Budui, a PhD student from the University of Valencia, Spain, for her Master’s thesis on the ECA’s audit of EU development policy, and Mita Marra, a professor at the University of Salerno, Italy, for her publication on evaluation and performance assessment in the public sector.
The ECA Award is aimed at recognising outstanding academic research relevant to public audit and the work of the ECA. It seeks to single out individuals who, through their research, are helping to contribute to collective efforts to advance the field of public audit. The award is of high relevance to the ECA’s work. The ECA’s strategy for 2018-2020 acknowledges academic institutions and researchers as important partners of the ECA: not only as a respected source of knowledge and expertise, but also as valuable and competent contributors to the process of defining the ECA’s audit priorities and approach.
ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne said: “The ECA award is an important way by which our institution demonstrates its commitment not only to being at the forefront of developments in our profession, but also to developing as a knowledge-based organisation. Public institutions, including supreme audit institutions, need to enhance their capacity to analyse change, to address the related risks and challenges and to adapt their methods and approaches continuously. It is essential for the ECA to benefit from the results of the most advanced research on issues related to public audit.”
At the award ceremony today at the ECA in Luxembourg, ECA Member Bettina Jakobsen, who chaired the selection board, singled out Ms Hancu’s thesis for offering original insights on the evolution of the audit of the European Development Fund, a subject which is very relevant for the ECA, and Ms Marra’s research on evaluation within Italy’s public administration, as well as her proposal of possible ways to improve performance assessment, which are relevant also in a wider EU context.
The fifth edition of the ECA Award commemorated Jan O. Karlsson (1939-2016), the former ECA Member and President, who contributed greatly to modernising the ECA as the EU’s independent external audit institution.
Information on the next edition of the ECA Award will be published on the ECA’s website and communicated via social media.
ECA Award winners:
• Andreea Hancu-Budui carried out her research while working as an Internal Auditor and Chief Financial Officer in Valencia. She has recently started a PhD in Public Finance and Audit of the Public Sector at the University of Valencia, having successfully defended the Master’s thesis that won her the ECA Award at the beginning of 2018.
• Mita Marra is Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at the University of Salerno in Italy, and Visiting Professor of Comparative Public Policy at The George Washington University. She is the author of the book Evaluating evaluation, published in Italy in 2017, for which she received the 2018 ECA Award today.
• Bettina Jakobsen, (chair) ECA Member from Denmark;
• Eva Lindström, ECA Member from Sweden;
• Igors Ludboržs, former ECA Member from Latvia;
• Robert Harmsen, Professor of Political Science at the University of Luxembourg.