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Street-level priority-setting: The role of discretion in implementation of research, development, and innovation priorities

Brattström, Erik LU and Hellström, Tomas LU (2019) In Energy Policy 127. p.240-247
Abstract
Research on priority-setting for research, development, and innovation (RDI) often does not take into account the many challenges associated with translating priorities into RDI programs and projects. Such implementation challenges are typically handled by RDI program officers at funding agencies i.e. those officers that manage RDI programs and projects. To address this challenge, this paper utilizes a ‘street-level bureaucracy’ approach to understanding how RDI priority-setting is enacted by program officers in the course of translating general RDI priorities into actual funding. This is done through a study of how program officers at the Swedish Energy Agency exercise discretion in the course of implementing RDI priorities. The results... (More)
Research on priority-setting for research, development, and innovation (RDI) often does not take into account the many challenges associated with translating priorities into RDI programs and projects. Such implementation challenges are typically handled by RDI program officers at funding agencies i.e. those officers that manage RDI programs and projects. To address this challenge, this paper utilizes a ‘street-level bureaucracy’ approach to understanding how RDI priority-setting is enacted by program officers in the course of translating general RDI priorities into actual funding. This is done through a study of how program officers at the Swedish Energy Agency exercise discretion in the course of implementing RDI priorities. The results suggest four general dimensions of program officer discretion in priority implementation, viz. (i) regulating inflow of new knowledge and ideas, (ii) interpreting the relationship between strategy and program design, (iii) tweaking and applying selection criteria, and (iv) determining the portfolio's balance between basic research and application/innovation. The results suggest that discretion can act as an important mechanism mediating between the formulation of RDI priorities and de facto RDI investments by funding agencies. By explicating some variations of this mechanism, the study contributes new insights into the governance of RDI funding processes. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Priority-setting, RDI, Implementation, Street-level bureaucracy, Funding agency
in
Energy Policy
volume
127
pages
240 - 247
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85058537395
ISSN
0301-4215
DOI
10.1016/j.enpol.2018.12.006
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4a365eb0-f3c7-4eee-8e73-73fb83d1ed8e
date added to LUP
2018-12-18 12:26:53
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:40:11
@article{4a365eb0-f3c7-4eee-8e73-73fb83d1ed8e,
  abstract     = {Research on priority-setting for research, development, and innovation (RDI) often does not take into account the many challenges associated with translating priorities into RDI programs and projects. Such implementation challenges are typically handled by RDI program officers at funding agencies i.e. those officers that manage RDI programs and projects. To address this challenge, this paper utilizes a ‘street-level bureaucracy’ approach to understanding how RDI priority-setting is enacted by program officers in the course of translating general RDI priorities into actual funding. This is done through a study of how program officers at the Swedish Energy Agency exercise discretion in the course of implementing RDI priorities. The results suggest four general dimensions of program officer discretion in priority implementation, viz. (i) regulating inflow of new knowledge and ideas, (ii) interpreting the relationship between strategy and program design, (iii) tweaking and applying selection criteria, and (iv) determining the portfolio's balance between basic research and application/innovation. The results suggest that discretion can act as an important mechanism mediating between the formulation of RDI priorities and de facto RDI investments by funding agencies. By explicating some variations of this mechanism, the study contributes new insights into the governance of RDI funding processes.},
  author       = {Brattström, Erik and Hellström, Tomas},
  issn         = {0301-4215},
  keyword      = {Priority-setting,RDI,Implementation,Street-level bureaucracy,Funding agency},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {240--247},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Energy Policy},
  title        = {Street-level priority-setting: The role of discretion in implementation of research, development, and innovation priorities},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.12.006},
  volume       = {127},
  year         = {2019},
}