When the Municipalities set the Research Agenda

Senast ändrad: 31 maj 2016

Swedish municipalities play a key role in sustainable building and planning, but research knowledge has proven difficult to transfer from universities to practice.  This research project (NärKomm) aims to develop and test methods for collaboration to bridge this gap.

NärKomm - Models for Municipal Provision of Competence and Knowledge for Sustainable Building and Planning

This three-year project started in the end of 2015 thanks to funding from the Swedish research council Formas.

Within the project, we will develop new forms of collaboration between research and municipalities to facilitate competence and knowledge dissemination. The main focus of the project is to develop and assess the concept of Municipal PhDs that will be tested as a means for cross-municipal cooperation, together with other models.

The purpose of NärKomm is to explore if and how a particular form of promoting organizational learning, that we term public sector-led research, can contribute to cross-departmental learning in the municipalities and, in turn, enable sustainable urban development and innovation. We aim to develop the scientific base and study the processes of learning for sustainable urban development that is the overall aim of cooperation between research and the municipalities. At the same time, we wish to contribute directly by enhancing the professional and organizational learning and development in the involved municipalities and strengthen their abilities to handle specific issues of strategic importance.

Two levels of reseach

The project operates on two levels. On level one, four municipal research projects will be initiated. Each project will have a municipal PhD student who is recruited from within the municipal organization. The students will keep working part time with their regular tasks and start pursuing their PhD on part time (50/50). The research theme of each PhD project is based on a specific strategic challenge formulated by the corresponding municipality. The PhD students will be supported by main supervisors from the universities and co-supervisors from their own municipal organization. The choice of university department is based on the character of the municipal challenge.

On level two we will develop a theoretical contribution to the research literature on learning, competence and knowledge built on the empirical work provided at the first level of the project where the municipal PhD students will be studied as a method and a channel for organizational learning in the municipalities. At the second level, we will also develop, test and evaluate other kinds and methods of cooperation between research and practice, such as job rotation through embedded researchers in practice and practitioners in research, joint seminars, joint development and innovation projects, exchange of mentors. The second level of the research project is performed by researchers from SLU Alnarp, Lund University and Malmö University.

The main project is funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas and the seven participating municipal organizations (Hässleholm, Kristianstad, Lomma, Malmö City Planning Office, Malmö Environment Department, Staffanstorp & Östra Göinge).

Extra funding from the Region of Skåne will be used for the testing of other models.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the Skåne Association of Local Authorities (KFSK).