Towards Complexity Competence in Public Research Administration – A Case from the Environmental Sector in Finland

  •  Jouko Inkeroinen    


The basic elements of evidence-informed policymaking are the evaluation of existing research information, the acquisition of new research information, hearings of experts, and assessing alternative policy measures. In Finland the steering of public research is based on the procurement process where ministries are purchasers. This paper reports an interview with key persons from the structural development period of Finnish sectoral research (1990-2013). The competence needed from key actors in the steering of contract-based research is a multidimensional concept including sectoral, horizontal, and vertical components. This commissioning competence has evolved during the development period close to a complexity competence. The research management needs multidimensional knowledge, and the steering of the research requires skills in network governance and uncertainty management. Thus, it is not only research and sectoral competence that is needed from the administration, but also cross-sectoral, vertical and network management competence. The framework of the coordination and governance of complex research administration is introduced by applying the resilience concept.

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