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  • Author or Editor: Roland Bal x
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While much research utilisation literature shows an increasing emphasis on the added value of structural partnerships, which should facilitate prolonged interactions between researchers, policy makers and professionals, the question of how such collaborative structures develop over time and what consequences that has in terms of collaboration is usually neglected. This paper offers an empirical analysis of a Dutch partnership format developed over a period of four years, based on two interview rounds conducted between 2007 and 2010, supplemented with document analysis and a focus group. It focuses on changing challenges and dilemmas in different development stages and outlines which strategies are used.

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The use of evidence in health promotion has become the gold standard, and obliges rethinking how to increase the (often limited) use of evidence in public health policy. Recently calls have been made to reconceptualise science policy relations as dynamic, interactive and coconstructive practices. Building on a qualitative investigation of an information tool for the Dutch government, the authors show how the nature of evidence is closely linked to its usefulness for policy, and how a specific infrastructural organisation of science-policy interactions contributes to an effective participation and interaction between both scientists and policy makers and the translation of research findings.

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The call for ‘evidence-based health policy’ in the Netherlands has to date been accommodated by the consensual policy tradition in this country and by the institutionalised arrangements for research funding, researcher career development and research accountability systems. The aim of this paper is to describe and explain from a sociological perspective how these arrangements for two-way research–policy interactions enable the co-production of ‘useable knowledge’ for ‘doable problems’ in health policy making. We conclude that many arrangements function as boundary objects that allow for mediation between research and policy. This mediation occurs via both frontstage and backstage processes. The backstage processes are an essential precondition for the co-production of acceptable evidence, policy advice and policy in the frontstage. However, as a result of the increasing emphasis on evidence-based policy, and an accompanying instrumentalisation of research use in the policy process, some of the characteristic, and until now productive, elements of the Dutch system are threatened.

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This article analyses how regional actors and national authorities shape and transform ‘the region’ from a geographical place into an object of governance for organising and delivering older person care. Drawing on an extensive ethnographic research project in the Netherlands, our findings show that these actors in interaction constitute the region through three practices: consistently creating urgency to foreground regional problems and solutions; renegotiating regulatory policies to facilitate regional care provision; and reconstructing care infrastructures to materialise regional care provision. Actors use and obtain power from co-existing and interacting institutional arrangements to develop new regional care arrangements. This evokes new interdependencies that reconfigure existing governance arrangements. Studying governance objects in-the-making reveals the required iterations, reconsiderations, and adjustments as processes within a given (ambiguous) institutional context, and which lead to institutional change. As regional organisation policies are increasingly scrutinised, this article provides an interesting and important contribution to this field.

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