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Making Knowledge Work: The Function of Public Knowledge Organizations in the Netherlands

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Abstract

This chapter explores the function and position of public knowledge organizations, such as Research and Technology Organizations and Government Laboratories, in the Netherlands. These organizations provide evidence for policy and support governments, professionals and businesses through research and innovation. Their main mission is not the research itself, but the translation and dissemination of the knowledge gathered. This in order to contribute to better informed policies that ensure the welfare, well-being and safety of society. This chapter analyses the implications of this mission for their activities, legitimacy, position and output. It shows that using science to meet stakeholder needs is a constant and deliberate balancing act, which involves much more than simply changing your research questions.

Keywords

  • Public knowledge organizations
  • Boundary organizations
  • Hybrid organizations
  • Evidence-informed policy
  • Research and technology organizations
  • Government laboratories

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The exception to this are the six Dutch research and technology organizations, which are the responsibility of the ministry of economic affairs, which develops and coordinates innovation policy. This ministry is not the primary ministry in terms of the work that they do.

  2. 2.

    For an overview of all Dutch public knowledge organizations , their establishment, mission and finances, see Koens et al. (2016).

  3. 3.

    This “Central Laboratory for the State Supervision of Public Health ” (freely translated) investigated the (combatting of) infectious diseases and medication. It also investigated factors that could influence this: food and air and water pollution.

  4. 4.

    Nowadays known as the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR).

  5. 5.

    The spatial and environmental function is, since 2008, united in one institute: the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

  6. 6.

    As of 1 April 2018, ECN has merged with the energy research of TNO and continue (under the same name) as a part of TNO. The new centre should become central to the energy sector and create an integration of all research programmes and activities in that sector. No decision has yet been taken on the nuclear research activities (Kamp 2016).

References

Suggestions for Further Reading

  • Boden, R., Cox, D., Nedeva, M., & Barker, K. (2004). Scrutinising science: The changing UK government of science. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Crow, M., & Bozeman, B. (1998). Limited by design. R&D laboratories in the U.S. National Innovation System. New York: Colombia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gulbrandsen, M. (2011). Research institutes as hybrid organizations: Central challenges to their legitimacy. Policy Science, 44, 215–230.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jasanoff, S. (1998). The fifth branch: Science advisers as policy makers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pielke, R. A., Jr. (2007). The honest broker: Making sense of science in policy and politics. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

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Correspondence to Patricia Faasse .

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Koens, L., Harkema, B., Faasse, P. (2019). Making Knowledge Work: The Function of Public Knowledge Organizations in the Netherlands. In: Börjesson, L., Huvila, I. (eds) Research Outside The Academy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94177-6_4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94177-6_4

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-94177-6

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