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Social scientists from Roskilde University win a prestigious award for the best journal article on urban and regional planning.

Associate Professor Annika Agger and Professor Eva Sørensen from the Department of Social Sciences and Business have won the “AESOP Best Published Paper Award 2019”. The award is given by European university network Association of European Schools of Planning.

Eva Sørensen & Annika Agger
Professor Eva Sørensen and associate professor Annika Agger.

A journal article in Planning Theory written by two Roskilde University researchers has been awarded  prestigious European research prize.

Among a large number of articles published in a broad variety of European journal, among which many are high ranking, the article ‘Managing collaborative innovation in public bureaucracies’ has won the ‘AESOP Best Published Paper Award 2018’ given by the university network Association of European Schools of Planning, which is the largest of its kind in Europe.

Innovation-related dilemmas in the public sector

The starting point for the article is that today’s public administrators are expected to create new innovative solutions that create value for both society and citizens - and that they do so in close collaboration with relevant and impacted citizens. This also counts for planners.

“Public sector managers and employees, however, often encounter a number of dilemmas when they aim to promote innovation from the vantage point of public bureaucracies that  celebrate hierarchy, rule following, stability and a clear distribution of labour,” says Professor Eva Sørensen who has written the journal article together with her researcher colleague, Associate Professor Annika Agger. 

In the article, the researchers develop a taxonomy of what a public sector employee can do to promote public sector innovation and they identify a number of dilemmas that may be encountered when it needs to take place within the framework of a public sector bureaucracy. From this starting point, they investigate how the innovation work is experienced and managed by a number of planners in Copenhagen Municipality.

The researchers are proud to have won the recognised research award in their field:

“It’s a great encouragement to receive this award. I think that we have touched upon a subject that is a great focus area for a lot of researchers and practitioners. Our research contributes with knowledge that can be used to gain greater understanding of how public sector management and planning is developing and what it means for public sector employees,” says Associate Professor Annika Agger.   

There is a need for further research

Together, the researchers now look to the future and will continue studying how the public sector can be structured in the years to come in light of current challenges for society. Among them are global warming, influxes of refugees and radical demographic changes.

“In the years to come, there is need for further research into how we can reorganize the  public sector in ways that  supports public sector innovation - without it being at the expense of other important public sector tasks.. Among other things, our research will focus on how it is possible to reorganize representative democracy in ways that enhance the ability of elected politicians to find innovative policy solutions to mounting challenges to society” says Eva Sørensen.

Read more about the award 

Read the journal article here 


More information:

For more information, please contact:

- Associate Professor Annika Agger, aagger@ruc.dk, +45 4674 2870
- Professor Eva Sørensen, eva@ruc.dk, +45 2242 0225
- Press Officer Camilla Buchardt, camilbu@ruc.dk, +45 2238 8282