Municipal participation and collaboration with research environments on innovation and research in the care sector”

This review includes 24 empirical publications from research and development (R&D) and 15 public documents related to the topic “Municipal participation and collaboration with research environments on innovation and research in the care sector”.

Publisert 23. februar 2021 | Sist oppdatert 23. februar 2021

The empirical publications include studies, experiences and results from research collaborations between municipalities and research communities on innovation projects in the care sector. Only reports / articles on research and innovation collaborations together with the municipalities are included in the summary. Reports / articles that are only about research on innovation in municipal care services are not included.

Aim of review

The aim of this review is to provide an overview of relevant guidelines, research projects, and experiences regarding the municipality’s role in collaboration with research environments as a facilitator for and contributor to research and innovation in the care sector. An important focus is to highlight potentials and challenges regarding collaboration on research and innovation in the public care sector.

Increased focus on the municipalities role as facilitator and Contributor to research and innovation in the care sector

Several key white papers and public reports discuss cooperation between research environments and the field of practice concerning innovation and research as essential tools when developing future health and care services in the municipalities.

In recent years, the Research Council of Norway has focused on innovation in the public sector. Research programs and regional research funds increasingly require strong municipal participation in research projects and that municipalities must be responsible for applications for research funding.

Main findings

  1. We find very few publications that deal with the actual collaboration between municipalities and research institutions in research.
  2. The publications describe results and experiences from the innovation that has been initiated, such as effects and gains from the introduction of new technological solutions.
  3. Most innovation and research collaboration is about welfare technology and new models and methods for service development.
  4. Innovation and research collaborations in the publications included in the summary are closely linked to external funding granted in connection to major national innovation initiatives, such as the welfare technology program.
  5. Follow-up research appears to be the most widely used methodological approach in innovation and research collaborations in the included publications.
  6. Follow-up research shows differences in the roles of the municipalities and research institutions in the collaborations. Consistent for innovation and research collaborations is that the researchers make a traditional evaluation towards the end of the project or after the project has ended. The municipalities are to a greater extent described as facilitators than as active co-researchers.

Need for more knowledge

The available literature on participation in research and innovation collaboration shows different ways in which municipalities can be involved. We found few publications on projects that discuss innovation and research collaboration, including barriers and drivers. In order to gain knowledge about research collaboration between municipalities and research institutions on innovation, more documentation is needed on how this takes place. One possible solution is for the Research Council of Norway, regional research funds and other funders of research on innovation in the municipalities to announce projects that address the issue. Another solution is that they request documentation of relevant elements in the innovation and research collaboration that take place in the projects they fund. Such documentation can enable the development of more knowledge about appropriate role clarifications, structures and organization of innovation and research collaboration in the municipalities. In the next phase, this could contribute to increased innovation and research competence both in municipalities and research institutions.