The dynamics and long-term effects of multi-actor research programs
This thesis addresses two main questions: How do multi-actor research programs organize collaborative research activities? And do multi-actor research programs have long-term, sustainable effects on scientific knowledge production?
Societal relevance, valorization and the usability of scientific research are central concepts in contemporary science systems. The requirement of relevance is especially salient in multi-actor research programs. These popular organizational forms link their research agendas to the challenges that society faces.
To address these challenges, multi-actor research programs aim for collaborative research activities across organizational and sectoral boundaries. Despite their popularity and far-reaching ambitions, there is little clarity about the organization and effects of these policy instruments. Little or no attention has been paid to the programs’ actual approaches to agenda-setting and coordination. In the context of these programs, stakeholder involvement refers to a broad range of activities.
This thesis addresses two main questions about these programs:
How do multi-actor research programs organize collaborative research activities?
Do multi-actor research programs have long-term, sustainable effects on scientific knowledge production?
The key results of this study address the coordination of research activities in the context of these programs; the roles of stakeholders and their influence on the research process; the ex-ante evaluation of multi-actor research programs; and the skills that participating PhD students develop. The empirical studies in this dissertation show a large diversity between and within multi-actor research programs. They reveal that multi-actor research programs are above all facilitators – not organizers – of collaborative research.
Wardenaar, T., Organizing Collaborative Research: The dynamics and long-termeffects of multi-actor research programs, Den Haag, Rathenau Instituut 2014