Programmatic collaboration in construction is a promising approach to increase the efficiency of project practices, to stimulate innovation and to contribute to overarching sustainable development goals such as circularity and urban resilience. In this approach, individual assets are clustered under long-term, performance-based programmes. These programmes are executed by one or several contractors and other suppliers for a period of time that transcends the project duration. This research investigates the concept of programmatic collaboration in the infrastructure sector.
The Dutch infrastructure network is one of the most intensively used and impressive infrastructure networks in the world. Much of the existing infrastructure is, however, at the end of its technical lifespan, resulting in unsafe situations and reduced availability. Organising maintenance and renovation tasks in an innovative way is a major challenge, since it will not be possible to refurbish all infrastructure timely and sustainably if done in the traditional way. A programmatic approach, therefore, suits this extensive construction task perfectly.
The aim of this research is to increase scientific and practical knowledge on the transition from a project-based way of working towards programmatic collaboration in project-transcending networks. It is inspired by ecosystems thinking, and is based on a qualitative and engaged scholarly approach, conducted by a strategic research partnership between the University of Twente and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The central questions are: how do we align and co-ordinate the interests of actors in infrastructure, and how does working in long-term programmes impact existing (industrial) structures, routines, and roles? The expected results will contribute to the insight we have in how networks of actors in the infrastructure sector can be re-arranged in a way that transcends individual projects. And also, the findings will help understand the challenges these inter-organisational, public-private networks face in the transition to ecosystems that will deliver reliable services to public infrastructure.
The research team consists of ir Lynn Vosman (UT), Prof. Dr ir Leentje Volker (UT) and Dr ir Fleur Deken (VU Amsterdam). The research is funded by six public client organizations from the Dutch Infrastructure Sector (see below), and planned for 5 years from the beginning of 2021.
Waterschap Drents Overijsselse Delta
Gemeente Den Haag
Publications and other output
- (2023) Dutch summary of journal paper: Ecosystemen in de infra-sector: innovatie door projectoverstijgende samenwerking
- (2023) Journal paper in Construction Management and Economics on collaboration and innovation across project boundaries in ecosystems
- (2022) Conference paper for ARCOM about interorganizational governance structures in programmatic collaborations
- (2022) Conference paper for EGOS about routine formation in transitioning from project-based towards programmatic collaboration in infrastructure
- (2021) Conference paper for ARCOM about ecosystems thinking for the infrastructure sector
- (2021) Conference paper for EGOS about ecosystems thinking for the infrastructure sector
- Inaugural lecture by Prof. Dr. Leentje Volker on ecosystems thinking for delivering infrastructure services (in Dutch and English)
- Podcast: Ecosystemen in de bouw by Leentje Volker and Malcolm Aalstein (in Dutch)
- Talk at Infra-Marktdag Regio Oost 'De infrasector als ecosysteem: Inspiratie voor de toekomst' by Lynn Vosman