One of the strategies of NAV in their R&D work is to enter into national collaboration agreements with selected research and educational institutions. The purpose of the agreements is to increase interest in researching NAV-relevant issues and increase knowledge about NAV and its policy areas within academic institutions, as well as to contribute to better education within NAV-relevant fields. Oslo Economics has, on behalf of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, evaluated two of the national collaboration agreements with Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN) and the Arctic University of Norway (UiT).
Our evaluation shows that neither of the two agreements has been fully successful following the agreements’ ambition to strengthen quality and relevance in research and education. In the agreement with INN, it has taken a long time to build up and develop an overall structure that embraces all areas of activity, and it is only in the last couple of years that we see results in the research area. In the agreement with UiT, the investment in the research project Work Inclusion, Learning, and Innovation with NAV (ALIN) has yielded results in the research area. Following the termination of ALIN in 2020, the overall structure for collaboration Universitets-NAV (UNAV) has not managed to create a framework for collaboration either in the research area or other target areas.
We assess that the collaboration agreements with INN and UiT contribute to increased research and education within NAV’s field of application, but that the establishment and follow-up of the collaboration presuppose anchoring and prioritizing resources from the management at both the university/college and the county level in NAV. We have identified several learning points that we consider relevant both for these two collaboration agreements and any new collaboration agreements:
- Anchoring in management at the university/college and the county level in NAV is crucial for achieving the desired goals.
- The duration of the agreement should allow results to take time, but the stakeholders should have milestones to reach for.
- Correspondence between the purpose of research collaboration and the competence of recruited research environments should form the basis for the collaboration agreement.
- A clear coordinator role at the regional level is important in the start-up phase.
- Important information and feedback must be passed on from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration to the researchers who participate in the collaboration, and vice versa.
The report is available in Norwegian, and can be read here.