Public-private partnership has become business as usual in the Dutch and International practice of Public Administration. PPPs are used to engage in long term coopration on the fields of infrastructure, road provision and urban restructuring, but also on fields such as health care or energy.

There are various forms of public private partnerships:

  1. More ‘classical’ PPP projects where governments and private consortia engage in long term contracts and where private consortia provide the financing, maintenance and – sometimes – the operating of the project: the so-called DBFM or DBFMO contracts (Design, Build, Finance Maintenace/Operation contracts).
  2. More institutional partnerships between governments and private actors in which partners create a joint organizational form to realize a policy or service (for instance an urban renewal company to tackle urban restructuring problems).
  3. More loosely coupled network type of cooperation between public, private and societal actors aimed at innovative policies or projects. An example is the Dutch program on energy dykes where an attempt is made to combine public infrastructural works with the creation of energy.
  4. Self organization of citizens and societal organizations (such as energy or health corporations) who work together with private and public actors.

In this research program various forms of public-private (and societal) partnerships are studied. The focus is on innovative role division between the actors and clever new governance mechanisms (smart governance-practices) that are being developed and employed to improve the functioning of the partnerships.

A variety of research methods is used (including surveys, in depth case studies, Q-methodology and Qualitative Comparative Analysis). We aim to provide scientific grounded knowledge about the way partnerships function and to do recommendations for improvement of these partnerships.

The program is financed through the Smart Governance Research Fund of the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and has several co-financing organizations (NSOB, RebelGroup, Twynstra Gudde, ResetManagement and Deltares). The program runs from 2015 till 2020.