Project Summary
The project aims to describe and explain under which conditions the deliberate creation of collaborative networks fosters sustainable cooperation and value creation in a multilevel organizational field. Many contemporary industrialized societies attempt to face the challenges posed by population aging and other socio-economic pressures by substantial welfare-state reform, with large-scale administrative and political decentralization being a frequently used instrument. The success of such policies depends on the active participation of a growing numbers of multiple stakeholders, ranging from individuals (e.g. citizens, consumers, clients, professionals, patients etc.), to private, public and non-governmental organizations (suppliers, regulators, producers etc.). Many see collaborative networks as one of the most promising tools for sustainable value creation in such multilevel organizational fields. In a collaborative network, a heterogeneous set of autonomous organizations and individuals interact, often supported by Internet based tools, with the intention to achieve some common objective. However, as of yet, relatively little is known about the conditions under which such collaborative networks become sustainable, or decay. This project addresses this gap.

Research Design and Data
Modeling the evolution of collaborative networks in a multilevel organizational field puts a heavy burden on the research design, since it requires the longitudinal collection of sociometric and attribute data at the level of both individuals and organizations.  The present project capitalizes on a unique opportunity to collect such data in 50 so-called interdisciplinary learning networks, to be established in the Northern part of the Netherlands as part of a government funded large-scale regional initiative pioneered by the ZON, a network organization specialized in bringing together both health care providers and health care educators to coordinate educational matters in their sector (

Thomas Teekens

Prof. dr. Rafael Wittek

Dr. Francesca Giardini

Lec. dr. Jelly Zuidersma

University of Groningen, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Sociology & other

September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2021

Netwerk ZON (50%)
Department of Sociology (50%)
University of Groningen



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Sustainable Cooperation

SCOOP is a research and training centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of sustainable cooperation as a key feature of resilient societies.

The centre connects research groups from sociology, psychology, history, philosophy, public administration, research methods, and statistics.

SCOOP is a joint initiative by the University of Groningen (Strategic Theme  Sustainable Society) and Utrecht University (Strategic Theme Institutions for Open Societies), and also involves researchers from the VU Amsterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Radboud University Nijmegen.

The 2025 Vision for Science of the Dutch Ministry of Education (2014, p. 19) praised SCOOP as an “example of cross-pollination between disciplines”.


vimeo3.jpgImpressions SCOOP conference 2019

More about the program                                             

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In addition to the academic ambitions, the program wants to realise several tangible long-term gains. In order to achieve them we created the Training Center. It is organized in two sections, each of them with  a specific target. The first one is research-oriented and it is aimed at prospective students. The second is policy-oriented and its target are practitioners.

For prospective students 

The first section of our Training Center consists in a talent selection and training program to prepare the next generation of top researchers. In the spirit of the research center, students will be trained in a transdisciplinary fashion to include elements from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history.For more information on the teaching program, click here.

For practitioners

The second section of our Training Center makes use of the main results from the research center as a whole. The goal is to provide insights and instruments that can be used to train societal partners and stakeholders to foster a resilient society.

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