Research groups

    Green transitions

    The Green Transitions research group works on a broad range of topics within sustainable community development. The group’s research activities and projects aim to contribute to sustainable changes —socially, economically, and environmentally—with a primary focus on food production and consumption, behavioral changes, circular economy, land and resource management, local placemaking and development, and value creation.

    We take a holistic approach to our research with an open dialogue around sustainability challenges and choices and an underlying value focus on social and environmental justice. Our main goal is contributing to knowledge that can advance choices in the transition towards greener and more sustainable societies.

    Increased involvement of various actors in development and innovation processes can provide richer perspectives and mobilization. We both study and employ co-creation as a method, through for example place-based living labs, which provide frameworks for addressing societal challenges at a local level. We also conduct trailing research, allowing us to follow for initiatives or political measures  over time. In some projects, we adopt an action research approach, involving both facilitation and analysis of change processes.

    The members associated with the research group have diverse expertise, collectively covering a wide range of sustainability themes, methods, and approaches related to sustainable development and transitions.

    Health, educationg and welfare

    The research group for health, education, and welfare research within a wide range of public services and groups in society. The research projects in the group have two different approaches.

    The first approach emphasizes sector knowledge of state and municipal services. Our research includes services and sectors such as school, kindergarten, health services, social housing, immigration/integration, working life, and labour market-oriented measures. Our goal is to have a comprehensive knowledge of the responsibilities, working methods, laws and regulations within these sectors.

    The second research approach emphasizes different social topics or social groups. This includes preventive activities, early intervention for children and young people; psychosocial work with children, young people and adults, as well as social pedagogical and child welfare work and various vulnerable groups. In these topics, our goal is to have a thorough understanding of social conditions and vulnerable groups. This includes how social challenges arise, how different social conditions are experienced, and not least, the consequences they have.

    Through a good understanding of phenomena and sector knowledge, it is an overriding goal to carry out research projects relevant and valuable to our clients.

    Municipal and regional development

    Research on municipal and regional development and innovation has been central to Telemark Research Institute since the institute was established. Our primary goal and focus is to analyse, understand and further develop the municipality's role as both a local community developer and provider of public services and democratic arena. In addition to having national expertise in several areas, we are concerned with what aspects such as population growth and business development mean for public planning and the development of municipal services and activities. This includes working with solutions for how the municipalities can handle their responsibilities in the future, but also work with development and innovation, whether alone, through inter-municipal cooperation and through cooperation with other local or regional actors. A theme that permeates our research is how societal changes, and changes in municipal organization, task management and the need for resources, affect democratic participation and influence.

    Local Public Finance and Organization

    In our research group we work with the financing and organization of the local public sector. In Norway, there are three levels of political administration: the national level, 11 counties and 356 municipalities.

    The Norwegian municipalities are responsible for a range of services, spanning from primary education, child care, elderly care and primary health care to water supply, renovation and municipal roads. Most of the municipal revenues are distributed as block grants and regulated taxes from the national level.

    We provide research and research-based knowledge to municipalities and counties on subjects like local public financing and spending, service organization, municipal mergers and cooperation and demographic trends. We also provide policy relevant research on subjects within fiscal federalism and local public organizations.

    Our clients include ministries, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), county administrations, inter-municipal cooperative bodies, municipalities and counties.

    Cultural Policy Research

    For more than 30 years, the Research Group for Cultural Life and Cultural Policy at Telemark Research Institute (TRI) has been a leading community for cultural policy research and dissemination. The researchers here work interdisciplinarily, with an empirical and practice-based orientation, and use both qualitative and quantitative approaches in their research. The research is mainly disseminated through reports, scientific articles, lectures and books.