Please translate in en_us: NSOB


jfmkoppenjanJoop Koppenjan is professor of public administration at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research is focused on policy-making, complex decision making, governance networks, Public-Private Partnerships, and innovation. Areas of application are infrastructure based public sectors (such as transportation, energy, and water management) and non-infrastructure based policy domains (including health care, education, and safety). Koppenjan has been involved in a large number of research projects for various public authorities and private parties. Currently he is project leader of two NWO funded research projects: Managing Complex System Disruptions (carried out by EUR and VU Amsterdam, in the context of ProRail’s ExploRail programme) and Smart Governance of Public Private Partnerships. In 2016 he published the monograph Governance Networks in the Public Sector, Oxon/New York: Routledge (together with Erik-Hans Klijn).


klijn09564EKL007 kleur-2012

Erik Hans Klijn is professor in Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research is aimed at complex decision-making in networks, network management, Public-Private Partnerships, democratic legitimacy, and media influence and branding. Besides his research he is also President of IRSPM (International Research Society for Public Management).


FotoArwinWebsiteArwin van Buuren (1980) is Associate Professor of Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research is about new forms of governance capacity, and how public, private and societal actors can effectively combine their capacities for solving complex, wicked issues. He is frequently asked to advice public agencies about issues regarding collaboration and governance. He is especially interested in design-oriented research and publishes regularly about action-oriented research approaches. He has a strong focus on knowledge valorization and bridging the gap between science and society.


José NederhandJosé Nederhand, MSc (1990) is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research activities are focused on new forms of governance capacity in the public domain. With her research she would like to contribute to the question of how smart governance innovations influence the collaboration process between public, private and societal actors. José also works as a researcher at the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB).


rianne warsenRianne Warsen MSc (1991) is working as a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology of the Erasmus University Rotterdam since October 2015. Currently, she is involved in the NWO-funded ‘Smart Governance’ project. Within this project she studies focuses on the role of smart governance innovations in the collaboration between public and private actors in PPPs. She is specifically interested in the question of how ‘hard’ elements (like incentive structures in the contract) and ‘soft’ elements (such as the quality of the relationship and the role expectations between actors) relate to the performance of classic PPP-projects including DBFMO-projects.


1003558_Grotenbreg_SanneSanne Grotenbreg is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She graduated cum laude in Political Science and Sociology. Her current research focuses on the ‘facilitating government’ and public private collaboration in the water sector. In the ‘Smart Governance’ project Sanne works together with Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in Delft. She conducts several case studies, e.g. of the Marker Wadden and Tidal Power Plant Brouwersdam. Before, Sanne worked as a researcher in the EU FP7 research project ‘Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments’ (LIPSE) and the EU EFRO project ‘Energising Deltas’.


Geert Dewulf is Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Technology and Professor of Planning and Development at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. In 2012-2013, he was the UPS Foundation Visiting Professor at Stanford University. He holds a PhD from the University of Utrecht. Geert DewulfHe was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University in 1990-1991. Geert Dewulf has written numerous publications on Public-Private Partnerships. His research focuses on public private governance issues and strategic planning. He was scientific president of BSIK program PSIBouw, and until 2012 Scientific director of the 3TU (Federation of the Dutch Technical Universities) Center of Expertise on the Built Environment.


Andreas Hartmann Andreas Hartmannis Associate Professor at the Department of Construction Management and Engineering, University of Twente, The Netherlands. His research interest focuses on organizational, environmental and contractual issues in the management of infrastructure assets. His most recent research has been on the relationship between the procurement of road maintenance and the capabilities of road agencies and the interaction processes of public and private parties in co-creating rail system performance.


Camilo Benitez is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Camilo Benitez-AvilaConstruction Management and Engineering at the University of Twente. He holds a degree in Political Science, a MPhil in System Dynamics, and a MSc in Business Administration. He is interested in developing theoretical insights into the ways that project partners solve the tension between the need of providing stability to the rules-in-place, and the need to adapt PPP project to emerging issues over time. His research has a strong emphasis on the use of innovative methodologies to address the complexity of project governance, including Structural Equation Modelling and System Dynamic Modelling. Furthermore, Camilo supports the consultancy practices of Reset Management and Twynstra Gudde, developing practitioner-oriented methodologies to build project-shared-vision between PPP partners.


Publications within this research program


Warsen, R., Greve, C., Klijn, E.H., Koppenjan, J.F.M. (2019). How do professionals perceive the governance of public-private partnerships? Evidence from Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark. Public Administration (online first).  There are different ways to govern public-private partnership projects, but how do professionals involved in PPPs think about the governance of these partnerships? This study shows their diverging perspectives. It highlights the importance of early communication about these perspectives, to avoid friction and conflict in PPP-projects. Link: Governance perspectives in PPP-projects.

Koppenjan, J.F.M., Karré, P.M. & Termeer, C.J.A.M. (2019). Smart Hybridity: Potentials and Challanges of New Governance Arrangements. Eleven International Publishing: The Hague. In our current society, governments face complex societal issues that cannot be tackled through traditional governance arrangements. Therefore, governments increasingly come up with smart hybrid arrangements that transcend the boundaries of policy domains and jurisdictions, combine governance mechanisms (state, market, networks and self-governance), and foster new forms of collaboration. This book provides an overview of what smart hybridity entails and of its potentials and challenges. Link: Smart Hybridity

Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). (2019). Nieuwe slimme vormen van bestuur: Resultaten van het NWO-programma Smart Governance (2014-2019). Friday October 4th, 2019 the five research projects that take part in the NWO Smart Governance research programme gathered. Researchers and involved practitioners of the different projects exchanged results, experiences and ideas. This booklet gives an overview of the results of each of the projects, including our project ‘Governance for Smartening Public-Private Partnerships’. PDF version (only in Dutch): Nieuwe slimme vormen van bestuur

Van Buuren, M.W., Grotenbreg, S., Duijn, M & Roovers, G. (2019). Towards integrated water and energy works in the Netherlands: Four asset management strategies for public value creation with public water works. International Journal of Water Governance, 7, 1-20. Public water works are increasingly made available by public authorities for private initiatives, for example for the generation of renewable energy. In doing this, authorities can apply different so-called asset management strategies, in this article we distinguish four of these strategies. One of the findings is that an open and explorative strategy leads to the creation of more public value. It is still difficult for authorities, however, to apply such a strategy. Link: Van Buuren et al. (2019). Towards integrated water and energy works in the Netherlands.

Warsen, R., Klijn, E.H. & Koppenjan, J. (2019). Mix and Match: How contractual and relational conditions are combined in successful Public-Private Partnerships. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (online first). Link: Warsen et al., (2019). Mix and match: how contractual and relational conditions are combined in successful public-private partnerships.


Nederhand, J., Van der Steen., M. & Van Twist, M. (2018). Boundary-spanning strategies for aligning institutional logics: a typology. Local Government studies (online first). Link: Nederhand et al. (2018). Boundary-spanning Strategies for aligning institutional logics.

Koppenjan, J., Klijn, E.H., Warsen, R. & Nederhand, J. (2018). Slimme sturing van publiek-private samenwerking bij publieke infrastructuur. Bestuurskunde. (Dutch only).

Warsen, R., Nederhand, J., Klijn, E.H., Grotenbreg, S. & Koppenjan, J. (2018). What makes public-private partnerships work? Survey research into the outcomes and the quality of cooperation in PPPs. Public Management Review (online first). Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are often regarded as the solution for time and budget overruns in large infrastructural projects, but not all are successful. This raises the question of what really makes PPPs work. Focusing on the role of relational aspects, this article examines the degree to which trust and managerial activities correlate to the perceived performance and cooperation process in PPP projects. Link: Warsen et al. (2018). What makes PPPs work?

Klijn, E.H. & Koppenjan, J. (2018).  De invloed van het contract op de prestaties van publiek-private samenwerkingsprojecten. Gepubliceerd in: Maurits Sanders (red.) (2018). Publiek-private samenwerking. Kunst van het evenwicht. Den Haag: Boombestuurskunde, blz. 75-90. PDF version (only in Dutch):  De invloed van het contract op de prestaties van PPS-projecten

Benítez-Ávila, C., Hartmann, A., Dewulf, G., & Henseler, J. (2018). Interplay of relational and contractual governance in public-private partnerships: The mediating role of relational norms, trust and partners’ contribution. International journal of project management, 36(3), 429-443. Link: Interplay of relational and contractual governance in PPPs


Grotenbreg, S. & Altamirano, M. (2017). Government facilitation of external initiatives: how Dutch water authorities cope with value dilemmas. International Journal of Water Resources Development (online first). This article discusses private initiatives in the water sector, and focuses on the dilemma governments face when they try to facilitate these initiatives, but maintain bureaucratic values at the same time. Link: Government facilitation of external initiatives. PDF version: Grotenbreg & Altamirano (2017) Government facilitation of external initiatives.

Koppenjan, J.F.M. & De Jong, M. (2017). The introduction of public-private partnerships in the Netherlands as a case of institutional bricolage: The evolution of an Anglo-Saxon transplant in a Rhineland context. Public Administration (online first). This article reconstructs how the Anglo-Saxon inspired PPP practice is incorporated into the traditional ‘Rhinelandic’ practice of infrastructure management in the Netherlands. Early view link: PPP in the Netherlands as a case of institutional bricolage.

Nederhand, J. & Van Meerkerk, I. (2017). Activating citizens in Dutch care reforms: framing new co-production roles and competences for citizens and professionals. Policy and Politics (online first). Politicians state that in order to keep care provision affordable, accessible and in line with societal demands, responsibilities should be shifted ‘back to society. The activation of citizens has considerable implications for the roles, competences and responsibilities of care professionals. In fact, government is calling for a new public service ethos, which involves activating, partnering, and supporting citizen action. Link: Activating citizens in Dutch care reforms. PDF version: Nederhand & van Meerkerk (2017). Activating citizens in Dutch care reforms.

Nederhand, J. & Klijn, E.H. (2017). Stakeholder involvement in public-private partnerships: its influence on the innovative character of projects and on project performance. Administration & Society (online first). Central in this paper is the question to what degree stakeholders, like citizens and societal groups, are involved in PPP projects, and to what degree their involvement affects the performance and the level of innovation of these projects. Online version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0095399716684887

Grotenbreg, S. & Buuren, van, A. (2017). Facilitation as a Governance Strategy: Unravelling Governments’ Facilitation Frames. Sustainability, vol. 9 (160). This article presents research into the ‘framing’ by the government of so-called integrated energy & waterworks. Two Dutch cases, Tidal Power Plant Brouwersdam and the New Afsluitdijk, are analysed. The articles focuses on the question how the government uses framing to legitimates the preferred role distribution. PDF version: Grotenbreg & Van Buuren (2017). Facilitation as a Governance Strategy.


Klijn, E.H. & Koppenjan, J.F.M. (2016). The impact of contract characteristics on the performance of public-private partnerships (PPPs). Public Money and Management, vol. 36 (6). Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2016.1206756

Grotenbreg, S. & Buuren, van, A. (2016). Realizing innovative public waterworks: Aligning administrative capacities in collaborative innovation processes. Journal of Cleaner Production (online first) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.08.128. This article studies how the government and the market sector cooperate in order to realize the so-called ‘Energy dikes’. Four Dutch cases are analyzed, including the new Afsluitdijk, tidal power station Brouwersdam, turbines in the Oosterscheldekering and Tidal Test Centre Grevelingendam. Usually these projects are private initiatives financed in a number of ways by the government. Within these project public and private actors cooperate in a special way. PDF version: Grotenbreg & van Buuren, 2016. Realising innovative public waterworks.

Kort, M., Verweij, S. & Klijn, E.H. (2016). In Search for Effective Public-Private Partnerships: An assessment of the impact of organizational form and managerial strategies in urban regeneration partnerships using FsQCA. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. Doi: 10.1177/0263774X15614674. There is a lot of discussion in the public private partnership literature and practice about what really makes PPP’s work and most effective. In a QCA analysis using data about urban renewal companies in The Netherlands the authors test which conditions may contribute to a good performance of these companies. Analysis showed that organizational arrangements on themselves are not enough to produce good performance. However, the combination of management and organizational conditions does matter to achieve good outcomes in such urban renewal companies. PDF version: Kort, Verweij & Klijn (2016). In search for effective Public-Private Partnerships.

Previous publications


Bovaird, T. & Klijn, E.H. (2015). Partnership working in the public domain. In: T. Bovaird and E. Loeffler (eds.) Public management and governance. London: Routledge

Buiten, van, M. & Hartmann, A. (2015). Asset Management Perspective on the Duration of Public-Private Partnership Contracts: Cost-Control Trade-off? Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 141(3).


Matos Castano, J., Dewulf, G.P.M.R. & Mahalingam, A. (2014). Unpacking the path-dependent process of institutional change for PPPs. Australian journal of public administration, 73(1), 47-66.


Dewulf, G., Blanken, A. & Bult-Spiering, W.D. (2012). Strategic Issues in Public-Private Partnerships. Second Edition. Oxford: Wiley.

Kort, M. & Klijn, E.H. (2013). Public Private partnerships in Urban Regeneration: democratic legitimacy and its relation with trust and outcomes. Local Government Studies, 39(1), 89-106.


Klijn, E.H. Kort, M. & Twist, van, M.J.W. (2012). Effective public–private partnerships: managerial flow or organizational form? Singapore Management review, 34(2S), 23-29.


Kort, M. & Klijn, E.H. (2011). Public Private partnerships in Urban renewal: organizational form or managerial capacity? Public Administration Review, 71(4), 618-626.

Steijn, B., Klijn, E.H. & Edelenbos, J. (2011). Public Private Partnerships: added value by organizational form or management? Public Administration, 89(4), 1235-1252.


Blanken, A. & Dewulf, G.P.M.R. (2010). PPPs in health: static of dynamic? Australian Journal of Public Administration, 69(S1), S35-47.

Klijn, E.H. (2010). Public Private Partnerships: deciphering meaning, message and phenomenon. In: G. Hodge, C. Greve and A. Boardman (eds). International Handbook of PPP (pp. 68-80). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Edelenbos, J. & Klijn, E.H. (2009). Project versus process management in public private partnerships: relation between management style and outcomes. International Journal of Public Management, 12 (3), 310-331.

Klijn, E.H. (2009). Public Private Partnerships in The Netherlands: policy, projects and lessons. Economic Affairs, 29(1), 26-32.


Klijn, E.H., Edelenbos, J., Kort, M. & Twist, van, M.J.W. (2008). Facing Management Dilemmas; an Analysis of managerial choices in 18 complex environmental Public Private Partnership projects. International review of  Administrative science, 74(2), 251-278.

Koppenjan, J.F.M. (2008). Public-Private Partnership and Mega-Projects. In: B. Flyvbjerg, H. Priemus, B.van Wee (eds). Development and Management of Large Infrastructure projects (pp. 189-212). Cheltenham (UK), Northampton (Mass.USA): Edward Elgar. PDF version: Koppenjan, 2008. Public-Private Partnership and Mega-Projects (in Flyvbjerg, Priemus & van Wee).


Klijn, E.H., Edelenbos, J. & Hughes, M. (2007). Public Private Partnerships: a two headed reform; a comparison of PPP in England and The Netherlands. In: C. Pollitt, S. van Thiel & V. Homburg (eds.). New Public Management In Europe: Adaptation And Alternatives (71-89). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. (Isbn: 0-230-00693-0).



  1. Innovative Partnerships; this part of the research is aimed at more loosely coupled network-like-partnerships between public and private actors in which innovative technologies and/or ways of doing are developed.
  2. Implementation of DBFMO projects; this part of the research is directed at the implementation of DMFO projects and how contractual (financial) incentives influence that implementation, but it also studies how partners deal with changes in the implementation phase.
  3. Societal self organization and partnerships; this part of the research looks at new forms of self-organization (especially healthy cooperatives) and how they collaborate with private and public actors. Moreover it focuses on which innovative governance strategies and arrangements are developed to facilitate this cooperation and solve the institutional obstacles that emerge.






The Netherlands School for Public Administration (NSOB) studies current issues and challenges with regard to the creation of public values by governments, entrepreneurs and citizens. This includes a continuous reflection on the changing role of governmental organizations. The NSOB conducts this research commissioned by government institutions, such as ministries and municipalities. Moreover, the NSOB offers several courses and in-company trajectories about the changing role of the government in the public domain and the role of partnerships herein.


MartijnProfessor Martijn van der Steen has been working at the NSOB in a variety of functions since 2002. He is co-dean and deputy director of the NSOB and director of the NSOB think tank. Besides his work at NSOB Martijn van der Steen is endowed professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His main research interests are government control in networks, embedding future-oriented notes in current policy developments, renewal of public administration, and the effect of media on public administration processes. http://www.nsob.nl/medewerkers/dr-m-a-martijn-van-der-steen/

markProfessor Mark van Twist is dean and director of the NSOB. Furthermore, he is professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam with a focus on management- and policy advice in the context of public-private collaborations. His research interests include renewal of government officials and strategic issues within public administration. http://www.nsob.nl/medewerker/prof-dr-m-j-w-mark-van-twist/






Rebel helps public and private actors bridge the gap between investment needs, implementation capacity and financial resources. We help our clients to develop public-private partnerships (PPPs), innovative financing arrangements, project delivery strategies, as well as procurement and transaction advisory processes. in addition we offer a range of related services in the field of policy and strategy, institutional development, capacity building and project/ policy evaluations. Rebels pioneered the early PPP markets of continental Europe. Today we work across a broad range of geographies and investment sectors. Our pursuit of value form smart and tailored solutions, sometimes swimming against the tide, is reflected in our company motto: No change without a Rebel.


Michiel Kortmichiel-kort is a senior consultant at Rebel. Throughout his career questions such as ‘How do we organize collaboration?’ And ‘How do we deal with diverging interests in a context that is sensitive to political and administrative processes?’ have aroused his interest in cooperation in the public sector. After he studied technical public administration at Delft University he worked at Berenschot as a process manager on public-private decision-making. He obtained his PhD on the organization and management of the Urban Regeneration Company at the Erasmus University and still collaborates with scholars form the university. At Rebel, Michiel is committed to strengthening Rebels position on topics such as sustainable energy, regional development, mobility and infrastructure.

Ssigrid-schenkigrid Schenk is a financial advisor at Rebel. She has a lot of experience with regard to the valuation of policy effects, such as business cases and social cost-benefit analysis. Sigrid specializes in risk analysis, real options and flexibility. Moreover, Sigrid gives advise on structuring PPP-projects, including Dutch projects such as the Zuidas and wind energy in Flevoland. In addition to her consulting work, she regularly offers training on business cases and risk analysis. This allows her to make these business cases clear for managers and directors.


Reset ManagementResetManagement Logo


ResetManagement aims to solve complex behavioral issues – both within and between organizations – that might hamper the intended results. Large developments in various sectors (including the social domain, the energy sector, and the infrastructure- and construction industry) enforce organizations to collaborate in order to solve problems and seize opportunities. Good collaboration is therefore important. It is more than an individual competency or skill. It is of great importance that organizations adjust their business operations to collaborations with other organizations, in order to ensure their status as an attractive partners in realizing joint issues.


Andre SalomonsonAndré Salomonson, partner Samenwerken at ResetManagement, is founder and program manager of ‘Professionals in PPS’ This is a learning platform to enable collaborations between public and private organizations in the infrastructure- and construction industry. André advises companies regarding collaboration, develops methods of cooperation, and supports organizations in both the public and private domain in managing and organizing partnerships.


Logo Deltares



Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. Throughout the world, Deltares works on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society. Its main focus is on deltas, coastal regions and river basins. Managing these densely populated and vulnerable areas is complex, which is why Deltares works closely with governments, businesses, other research institutes and universities at home and abroad. Deltares’ motto is Enabling Delta Life.


Foto Monica AltamiranoMonica Altamirano is a policy analyst and systems engineer with a strong background in Economics. In 2004 she obtained her Master degree in Systems engineering and Policy Analysis from the TU Delft and in 2010 she defended her PhD thesis titled: ‘Innovative contracting practices in the road sector: Cross-national lessons in dealing with opportunistic behavior. Since 2010 she joined Deltares and has promoted and carried out studies to translate the lessons learned in PPPs in the road sector to the water management sector. Her current work focuses on making ‘green Adaptation to Climate Change’ a financially viable concept for developing countries. Recent projects include a decision support tool for the Dutch PPP unit and Union of Water Boards for the choice of project delivery and finance mechanism for Wastewater project, as well as a DS tool procurement of flood protection infrastructure projects for HWBP.



Twynstra Gudde


Twynstra Gudde is an independent and leading management consultancy. The advisors and managers work daily on challenging and complex issues in both the public and the private sector. Twynstra Gudde helps its clients by reducing issues to its essence, brings in the right expertise and makes connections between different stakeholders, disciplines, interests and values. Twynstra Gudde is the specialist in understanding and contributing unique and complex issues.


ellen-ok-fotoAfter finisher her legal education in Leiden, Ellen Lastdrager has gained over fifteen years of experience in the international Offshore Industry. She started as contract manager and eventually became Director of Strategy of a big, maritime service and Managing Director of the Dutch trade association of suppliers in the Offshore Industry. The last fifteen years she worked on organizing collaborations between public and private actors, focusing on private investments in public issues.

RijkswaterstaatLogo RWS Engels(2)


Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is the executive body of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. They manage and develop national highways, waterways and waters and focus on a sustainable living environment. Together with other organizations, Rijkswaterstaat is working to ensure that the Netherlands is protected against floods, has sufficient green areas and clean water, and where people can travel safely and smoothly to their destinations. Working together on a safe, livable and accessible country. That is Rijkswaterstaat. Annually Rijkswaterstaat is responsible for the public procurement of  projects with a total value of over 3 billion euros. Since 2010 the procurement is completely sustainable. In addition Rijkswaterstaat looks for innovative solutions to cope with intensively used transport networks (including roads, waterways and artworks) in order to realize sustainable, safe and cheaper existing infrastructures.


Annuska Bloemert foto-annuska-bloemertis head of the procurement centre GWW (ground-, road-, and waterway construction) of Rijkswaterstaat. This is the centre of expertise for procurement and contract management for all construction, engineering and maintenance projects of RWS. Here policies are made with regard to the procurement and implementation of projects. Moreover, the procurement centre offers advise on complex issues in tendering procedures. Annuska has a background in business administration – she studied at the University of Groningen – and organizational consultancy. Before joining Rijkswaterstaat she worked amongst others at PWC and IBM and offered advise for various projects in the Netherlands and abroad. Here, the focus was on the role division between governments and market organizations, public-private partnerships and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental organizations.




Would you like to be in touch with our researchers? Or with the organizations co-financing this project? You can find them below.

Project leader

Pjfmkoppenjanrof. dr. Joop Koppenjan

koppenjan [at] fsw.eur.nl


klijn09564EKL007 kleur-2012Prof. dr. Erik-Hans Klijn

Klijn [at] fsw.eur.nl

FotoArwinWebsiteDr. Arwin van Buuren

vanbuuren [at] fsw.eur.nl

José NederhandJose Nederhand, MSc

nederhand [at] fsw.eur.nl

rianne warsenRianne Warsen, MSc

warsen [at] fsw.eur.nl

1003558_Grotenbreg_SanneSanne Grotenbreg, MSc

grotenbreg [at] fsw.eur.nl

Geert DewulfProf. dr. Geert Dewulf

g.p.m.r.dewulf [at] utwente.nl

Andreas HartmannDr. Andreas Hartmann

a.hartmann [at] utwente.nl

Camilo Benitez-AvilaCamillo Benitez, MSc

c.a.benitezavila [at] utwente.nl



MartijnProf. dr. Martijn van der Steen

steen [at] nsob.nl

markProf. dr. Mark van Twist

twist [at] nsob.nl


michiel-kortdr. Michiel Kort

Michiel.Kort [at] Rebelgroup.com

sigrid-schenkSigrid Schenk

Sigrid.Schenk [at] Rebelgroup.com


Foto Monica AltamiranoMonica Altamirano

monica.altamirano [at] deltares.nl


ellen-ok-fotoEllen Lastdrager

ela [at] tg.nl


Andre SalomonsonAndre Salomonson

andre.salomonson [at] resetmanagement.com


‘Governance for Smartening Public-Private Partnerships’

The concept smart governance in relation to partnerships refers to new and innovative forms of governance. Smart governance then points to new organizational arrangements and ways of managing and guiding which succeed to minimize risks that are connected to PPPs (like opportunism, high transaction costs, rigidity) and enhance aspects like the commitment of partners, flexibility, trust and innovative capacity.

The research question

The overall research question of our program reads as follows: ‘Which innovative governance strategies are developed for various forms of Public-Private Partnerships and what is the effect of these strategies on the quality of the partnership and its outcomes?

Research questions

  1. Which actors are involved in the cooperation of various partnerships and how do they design their relations and role division?
  2. How does the decision-making process in these partnerships evolve? Which tensions and bottlenecks occur in the initiation, design and implementation of partnerships and how do the agreements and role division made by the partners affect these?
  3. Which smart governance strategies are developed in partnerships to cope with the dynamics that emerge during the development and implementation and what is the influence of these smart governance strategies on the outcomes of partnerships?

Research themes (see research projects for more information)

Our research project consists of a number of different, yet closely intertwined, research themes. On the one hand this research program aims at examining the implementation phase of DBFM(O)-projects, in which we look at the form and content of the contract and the way (contract-) management influences the quality of the relation between the partners and the project performance. On the other hand the research project looks at innovative partnerships in which public actors have a more facilitating role (such as the project on energy dikes and the Markerwadden project). Moreover, we look at partnerships as a result of newly established citizens initiatives (like cooperatives on themes such as health and energy). In doing so, we focus on how these citizen initiatives cooperate with public and private actors.

Scientific Advisory Board

Our research project is supported by a scientific advisory board to safeguard the academic quality of the research and the alignment of the project with the international discourse. The board meets once or twice a year to discuss the progress and research ideas of the scholars involved in the project. Each board member has elaborate experience on relevant topics, including public-private partnerships, privatization and regulation. Currently, the board consists of the following members:

  • Professor Graeme Hodge from the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia;
  • Professor Carsten Greve from the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark;
  • Professor Koen Verhoest from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.


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.