Linking research and policy in Dutch healthcare: infrastructure, innovations and impacts
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The call for ‘evidence-based health policy’ in the Netherlands has to date been accommodated by the consensual policy tradition in this country and by the institutionalised arrangements for research funding, researcher career development and research accountability systems. The aim of this paper is to describe and explain from a sociological perspective how these arrangements for two-way research–policy interactions enable the co-production of ‘useable knowledge’ for ‘doable problems’ in health policy making. We conclude that many arrangements function as boundary objects that allow for mediation between research and policy. This mediation occurs via both frontstage and backstage processes. The backstage processes are an essential precondition for the co-production of acceptable evidence, policy advice and policy in the frontstage. However, as a result of the increasing emphasis on evidence-based policy, and an accompanying instrumentalisation of research use in the policy process, some of the characteristic, and until now productive, elements of the Dutch system are threatened.